Friday, May 27, 2011

STACKHOUSE SOAPBOX (Yorkton This Week May 25)

After many false reports, it finally does appear as though the city of Winnipeg is getting back a National Hockey League franchise. The Globe and Mail's Stephen Brunt broke the news last Thursday evening and it was immediately denied by all of the other scribes who had, previously, filed erroneous reports. I almost felt sorry for the folks on TSN and the writers of the Winnipeg Free Press, who jumped the gun numerous times only to be scooped by a respected man who waited until there was actual news before issuing a report.
Brunt's major story should be given further credibility when you consider his employer is one of the main buyers of the Atlanta Thrashers. Furthermore, I can't imagine the National Hockey League is overly thrilled with its broadcast partner, TSN, sabotaging attempts to salvage the Phoenix Coyotes, regardless of whether or not you think a 'Save The Coyotes' campaign is worth while or not.
What we have now learned is that with the television deal now signed for ten years, the NHL doesn't care if it loses the 9th largest market in the United States (Atlanta). Furthermore, the NHL knew it had a municipal government (Glendale) willing to shoulder losses for another season and so it only made sense to put a band-aid on the Phoenix situation and let Atlanta go. After all, if Phoenix moved to Winnipeg there would be no place for Atlanta to move to. The fact that Winnipeg is the front runner to relocate an NHL team should tell you that there are, essentially, no more destinations for troubled franchises.
I can only speak for myself, but I can't imagine attending more than 1 NHL game a year now that Winnipeg is back in the mix. Ticket prices will be too expensive for me, as will fuel, parking, and meals. It's worth a treat, but not worth something I would do with any regularity. One friend of mine says he's likely going to cough up his Saskatchewan Roughriders' season tickets for an NHL Winnipeg bundle. I think he's crazy. But, more power to him. I wonder if there are more people than him considering such a thing.
Despite the fact my wife is a teacher, I'm going to weigh in on this dispute anyway. The one thing I don't like about what the STF is doing, is that they are not winning a lot of brownie points in the public eye with respect to grade twelve students who are looking to graduate. They are also not popular in households where childcare is an issue, resulting in a parent having to take a day off work in order to provide for a student who, otherwise, should be in school. I also don't like hearing about wages in Alberta and that teachers make far more to the west of us. To that, I say put your house up for sale and go to Alberta if you like it so much.
Here's what I don't like about the government's perspective: for years, we listened to the Sask Party harp on the fact that we had to keep people in Saskatchewan and prevent them from moving to Alberta. Now that they are the actual government, it's time to put money where there mouths are and pay these people what they, rightfully, deserve so that they don't put homes up for sale. Furthermore, teachers have long sat on the sidelines when it comes to raises in their pay and they simply cannot afford to any longer. Gas prices, mortgages, groceries, and other basic cost of living expenses have increased dramatically. For teachers to say they want 16% over three years when living expenses have gone up by double that amount makes for a request that, to me, is not unreasonable. I look at gas prices as a simple means to accomodate the increase in salary. Everytime fuel goes up, the government takes in more tax dollars. The money is there.
I wonder how many more days teachers need to strike in order for the government to realize that the money saved through lost wages will make up for the increase in salaries over the next three years.
If you are one of these unfortunate people who point to summers off, hours worked, and other apparent perks that teachers have and then say that teachers make more than enough money already; I dare you to put your child into the care of an ordinary labourer for eight hours a day and see how your child fares in the real world when he/she reaches the age of 19. We pay teachers to mould our youth into leaders of tomorrow. For that, they deserve an above average compensation. End of story.
One last comment when it comes to teachers. It used to be that a provincial MLA and a teacher were very close in yearly wages. That's not the case anymore.
Nice person mentions this week to Randy Steciuk, Mike Farquharson, Sean Frankfurt, and Kevin Shirtliffe.

Friday, May 20, 2011


Sask. teachers on strike for 2 days next week - Saskatchewan - CBC News

Here's my comment:

katecross give your head a shake.

First of all, teachers are, perhaps, paid over the full 12 months; but they are not paid for the summer. Most teachers, in order to maintain consistent income, take less during their months of teaching so that they can continue to collect the same pay cheque over the summer.

Secondly, these people that complain about the number of days or the number of hours worked have their heads in the sand. Teachers do not walk away from school at 3:30 and leave the job in the building until 8 the next morning. They mark tests, answer emails from parents, do preparation work from home, etc. My wife is a teacher and spends a good week or more at school during the summer to get the classroom ready for kids. She also spends countless hours at home preparing the academics.

Any teacher that truly only puts in 5.5 hours a day should be canned. Forget the raise.

Thirdly, anyone that tries to associate a salary with hours worked is clueless. You pay teachers to do a good job. For some, it takes more hours than others. I don't care how long it takes you to educate my kids. Just make sure it's done well and I have no problem.

Think of a professional firefighter. Do we pay them to be ready to fight for our lives and possessions when the time calls? Or do we pay them 'hours worked'? If it takes you 3 hours to fight a fire at my house and save my wife and kids...I'll pay you 75-thousand a year if it means you do nothing for the rest of the year other than to be ready for when that emergency call comes in.

The same applies to teachers. Educate my kids. Prepare them for life as an adult. If it takes you 6 hours or 10 hours a day....I don't care. Just do a good job.

Pay these people.


Weighing in on the dispute between the Saskatchewan Government and the Saskatchewan Teachers Federation is a dicey subject for me since my wife is a teacher.

Before I say anything, it's important to note that my wife and I don't discuss negotiations at all.  It would likely lead to an argument anyway!  I have teased her that she's not even the most popular person in her house right now, so how can the teachers expect to gain overall public support from people that don't know them!

Here's my take:  First of all, the STF has to drop this notion of comparing their wages to that of Alberta.  Frankly, if you like Alberta so much then just pack your bags and go.  Let me know how you make out finding work there as a teacher.

Secondly, the provincial government needs to take its head out of the sand and pay these people.  A three year increase in wages of 16.3% is not unreasonable at all.  Think about your expenses and how much they've increased over the last ten years.  Gas, housing, utility bills, groceries, and every day expenses have all shot through the roof in Saskatchewan during the last ten years or so.  In fact, if someone did the appropriate math on the rate of inflation, the percentage hike in overall expenses, and also the overall average increase in wages you would find that the balance is tilted heavily toward expenses and inflation.  Furthermore, governments have money.  Every time gas increases at the pump, more green goes into government coffers.

It used to be that teachers made an above average salary when comparing wages to everyone in the work force.  That's no longer the case.  Why would I want to be a teacher in today's world?  The pay, while not bad, is certainly not something that would lure me.  Sure, there are plenty of holidays and summers off, but the reality for me is that seeing what teachers put up with over the course of a standard work week, I'd rather do something else.

To make a long story short, I think the STF could do a better job of selling their position and I think the Province could do a better job of respecting this people and giving them their well deserved salary increases.

Thursday, May 12, 2011


--How does John Lackey go from being one of the top clutch pitchers in Major League Baseball to a guy that shouldn't even wear a big league uniform?

--Is the fall of Tiger Woods the biggest collapse we've seen in an elite athlete in the history of pro sports?

--Now that we know the Melville Millionaires have received Levi Cable, Lee Christensen, Jesse Mireau, Sean Aschim and other 'futures' from the Melfort Mustangs in exchange for Brayden Metz and Cody Hanson, is it safe to say the Mils have fired the first warning shot to the rest of the SJHL that they are not conceding anything to the RBC host Humboldt Broncos in 2011-12?

--And, if the Broncos get the two players everyone is widely speculating on from the Yorkton Terriers in exchange for the rental of Justin Buzzeo and Jeremy Boyer, did the Mils make a better deal than the Broncos?

--Am I the only one that enjoys watching San Jose blow their 3-0 series lead on the Detroit Red Wings?  Go Wings tonight.  But, go Vancouver the rest of the way.  With the Flyers out, the Canucks are an obvious choice for me.  It has nothing to do with them being a Canadian team, but rather my appreciation for Ryan Kesler and admiration for Roberto Luongo to battle through his competitive adversity that he dealt with against Chicago.  I share no such admiration for Joe Thornton, Patrick Marleau, and Dany Heatley.  Heatley is a player I loathe.