Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Teenagers Are Horrible People!

I am a teacher as you all know. Everyday I go to work and educate children. In my school there are a lot of kids. People have told me “I could never do what you do.” “I was a teenager once, teenagers are horrible people.” “You couldn’t pay me enough to be a teacher.”

Believe me there are trying days, just like any profession, funny thing about teaching is that in the 10 years I have taught, no two days are ever the same.

But teenagers are horrible people.

Let me tell you about one of these “horrible” people.

My 1 year old daughter has been not well lately. My wife, son and I need to take her to Edmonton tomorrow for a pediatrician appointment. Now, this is not my way of saying pity me, pity us, it is simply to illustrate how horrible teenagers can be. There is a new student in our school, her name is “Susan”. She came to us this year and is in my grade 7 class. I told the students what was going on in so far as to say “I need to take my daughter to Edmonton to see a doctor, please be good for the sub.” “Susan” could obviously see I was a little nervous about what I was taking Quinlan to the doctor about. So, this morning she runs up to me and gives me some presents. “My mom wanted me to give this to you for your daughter and son.” I thought wow a Christmas gift for my kids, cool.

I opened the card and here is the message inside:

Dear Mister Bailey,

I got your daughter this stuff because when my sister was in the hospital it helped her to not be scared and made her feel safe. I hope these things make it a little easier. –“Susan”

PS. I remember what it was like being the sibling of a sick baby so there is something special for Aidan too.

When I read this card aloud in the staff room, I began to tear up, my assistant began to tear up. The history of this story is that Susan’s little sister passed away.

This teenage girl showed compassion and caring the likes of which most people never see. This was her first year in our school, her first year with me and she had the maturity to understand from her own experiences what my 6 year old and 1 year old could be going through.

It is all too easy to label every teenager as bad or horrible. What we as adults need to do once in a while is step back and see that though kids will make mistakes, they are deep down inside, caring and compassionate people. They do understand right from wrong. They can sense nervousness, hurt and pain. They can make you feel really great.

“Susan” made my day and when my son comes home to his RC car and my daughter gets to snuggle her huge stuffed lion, her cuddly pink blanky and other stuff Susan and her family took time to buy for them, I will hug them extra tightly, tell them “Susan”s name, and we will write her and her family a thank you.

Teenagers are wonderful people.

PS – it was hard not to tear up typing this.

Thank you Susan for being a wonderful you.

Mr. Bailey

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Could CLAWR Be Like an Inheritance From a Rich Uncle?

 Today, the City of Cold Lake is excited over the newly ratified agreement on the CLAWR (Cold Lake Air Weapons Range) First off congratulations to the council on getting this done. What has essentially happened, is the County of Lac La Biche has signed over the range to the City of Cold Lake. This will give Cold Lake approximately 12 million dollars in tax revenue in 2012 and up to 20 million by 2016. To put this in perspective, right now 15 million dollars in residential dollars make up the bulk of Cold Lake's budget.

Now everyone is excited, but what this reminds me of is how a long time ago a young man got an inheritance from a rich uncle and how that money was spent.

Now that young man was me, and I was very young when I got the money as an inheritance. I spent the money on a lot of useless stuff. A playstation, the very first one....yes, a television, and other useless bachelor stuff that I no longer possess. The only smart thing I bought with the money was the engagement ring and wedding band for my wife.

My point is not that council will act like kids with money, but far too often, people who come into money do not spend it wisely. They see it as an affirmation of wasteful spending habits. All I want council to see is that we have a lot to fix in the city. Sadly, the bulk of the bill falls not to the corporate tax base, no way. They continue to refurb their hotels and buy out more land to prevent competition. The Tri-City Mall rental signs are still a Medicine Hat phone number. The bulk of the load has always been on the residential tax base. Those of us who live and work and die in this town have been saddled with a crazy debt load.

It is time the City of Cold Lake thanks the residents of this city for keeping it afloat. It is time that they lower the residential tax base so that people can actually AFFORD to live in this city. We pay for a 4 lane highway to the marina, we pay for the Energy Centre TWICE. Once for the version 1.0 and now again for the hockey rinks that should have just been added years ago.

What the city has to fix is glaringly apparent. The water treatment centre which broke down and nearly crippled our city. The numerous lift stations that back up and cause sewage to fill houses and condos. There are other things that need to be addressed I am sure. I have confidence our council will do what is right for our city.

I just want to point out that sometimes money can cause full steam ahead on bad projects. We do not need to develop every piece of land in our city. We are not ever going to be as big as Edmonton, hell I don't think we will ever get to be as big as Lethbridge, Medicine Hat or Red Deer.

Take a page out of Obama's book. Time to start taxing the big rich business people. Stop riding on the little guys're going to break it.

That's just the way I see things I guess.


Friday, June 17, 2011

Senseless Acts of Violence

Disclaimer: Neither my employer nor my occupation has anything to do with this post. This posting is strictly my own thoughts and feelings. Like most disclaimers if you do not want to hear my thoughts, you can click the back button at anytime. Also the alleged murderer in this blog is presumed innocent until proven guilty.

As I posted in my last blog posting, a 19 year old former student of mine named Samantha was allegedly murdered by her boyfriend.

I think it is important for people who knew Samantha, to see that she was a victim of domestic violence. As I said yesterday, this girl was a quiet, caring girl, who, like all teenage girls was just wanting to be loved and cared for.

This "man" took advantage of her sweet, innocent demeanor. He betrayed her trust, her love and her life. 

Details are sketchy and pure speculation runs rampant I have heard some possible details, but due to the graphic nature of the details I have heard, I will not repeat them here. The only details we need are that a beautiful, innocent girl was killed in cold blood.

Some people may be angry at me for putting out the names. I say it is important to attach names to these crimes and even more important that the victims of these heinous acts are brought to the forefront.

I remember teaching Sammie and her twin sister. Sammie was the quiet, shy one. Her sister was the socialite of the two.

Sammie was sweet, innocent and caring. She would volunteer to help with anything. She was a genuine angel.
She was upgrading some courses at the local high school. No doubt she would go on to do great things. I do not know what her end goal was, I just hope it would have been in the service industry helping others. That is what Sammie did best.

Sadly it seems that her trusting nature would hurt her in the end. 

More often then not, when a person dies from domestic violence, there is a prior history. I hope that every person in an abusive relationship can see how it can end in a horrifying way. 

I want to take this moment to reach out to my current and former students. I want to tell you that no matter how old you are, no matter how long it has been since I taught you, if you are EVER EVER in this situation, if you are EVER EVER thinking of hurting yourself, come to me. I am at the school I will do everything in my power to help you through whatever you are going through. I have seen too many students take their own lives and now I have lived to see a student killed by domestic violence. You are not alone. There are people who can and will help you.

Men and women need to know that love shouldn't hurt. 

In Cold Lake you can contact the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre, if you are in a different city or town, seek a shelter or call your local police or RCMP. 

If you know of someone in an abusive relationship, DO NOT turn a blind eye. Help them.

When funeral arrangements are made available for Sammie, I will post them here.

June 17, 2011 an unofficial candlelight gathering will occur at the Brentwood Estates at 9pm.

The Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre motto is "Making a difference, 1 violence-free night at a time"
I just wish we could have helped this young lady avoid 1 violence filled night.

Youth & Dating Abuse
(taken from the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre Webpage)
Being a young person today isn't easy. There is home, school and peer pressures. For some young people, relationships with their parents can be annoying or embarrassing at times, but on the whole the relationship is 'normal'. They feel safe and secure at home, and they know their parents will protect them. But for young people who are abused, family life is much different.
If you're being abused or are exposed to family violence, the most important thing to know is you are not alone. You don't deserve to be abused. Family violence is a serious issue; and some forms of abuse can even be criminal. There is help for you and for anyone else who you feel may be abused. There are also things you can do to protect yourself and others who are affected by family violence.
Dating Abuse
Dating can be fun and exciting, but sometimes your relationship can turn into something you aren't comfortable with. Abuse can happen between people who are dating.
Dating abuse can include:
  • Name-calling, hurtful words and other forms of verbal and emotional abuse;
  • Hitting, punching, kicking and other forms of physical abuse;
  • Telling who you can spend time with or how much time you can spend with other people;
  • Controlling behaviours - deciding what you wear, how you can styler your hair, etc.;
  • Threatening to hurt you, destroying your things, and other intimidation tactics; or
  • Touching you in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, not listening when you say 'no' or other forms of sexual abuse.
If you are being abused, help is available. Talk to a family member, close friend, teacher or counsellor you trust. You can also learn more about dating abuse.
Dating Safety Tips
  • Consider going on a date with another couple the first few times you go out with someone. This is a good idea until you get to know the person better.
  • Think of different ways to be safe if you find yourself in a dangerous or potentially dangerous situation. Make a list of the people you trust who you could talk to if your partner abuses you; friends you can ask to help you stay safe; people you could call for a ride home if you are stranded; places you could go to quickly to escape an abusive person.
  • Before you leave on a date, make sure you know the plans for the date. Tell a friend or family member where you will be, what time they can expect you to be home and how they can reach you (ie: cell phone).
  • Let your date know that you are expected to call or tell someone when you get home.
  • If you leave a party with someone you do not know well, make sure you tell a friend you trust about your plans and the name of the person you are with. Ask a friend to call and make sure you arrive home safely.
  • If you are under the influence of alcohol or drugs, your judgement and reaction time become impaired.

If we can save one person's life, it is worth it.

As of June 17, 2011 - Her boyfriend, Xavier Joseph Gagnon has been listed as a suspect. He is charged with 1st degree murder. Cold Lake Sun Article

RIP Sammie.


The purple ribbon is a symbol of Domestic Violence Awareness

Thursday, June 16, 2011

When disgusting things happen to sweet people.

Let me first off say that I am not writing this as a teacher. I am writing this as a man. I am writing this as a human being. I am writing this as a father of a daughter.

On June 15th a 19 year old former student of mine was murdered. Now as of this very moment, the name has not been officially released, but Cold Lake is not a big city and bad news travels very fast.

This young girl was a twin sister. I often referred to her as "the quiet one." She was sweet, she was kind, she was a generous soul.

It appears that she shared her heart, soul and love with a "man"(I use that term loosely) and he took advantage of it. Now one can only speculate, but it is very possible that an argument took place resulting in the murder of this young girl.

They say the inner circle of hell is reserved for people like this "man" and although he is innocent until proven guilty, if he did this disgustingly heinous crime, I hope there is a nice warm seat reserved for him.

As a father, I hope that my daughter never meets a man like this. My advice to all women in these domestic violence situations is to leave. Do not tell the man you are leaving. Just pack up your things, your family and go away. I know it is very easy to say that and I know that I make it sound oh so easy.

I just hope that if one person, male or female can do that, it may just save their lives.

Go to the Dr. Margaret Savage Crisis Centre, a shelter in your hometown,  or Contact your local Police or RCMP if you are in a situation of abuse or know someone in an abusive relationship.

It could just save the life of someone you love.

Rest peacefully Samantha you're not in pain anymore.

Mr. B

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Armchair Everything

Have you ever noticed that the internet has bred a lot of "armchairs"? I mean everywhere I look I see the armchair quarterback, the armchair hockey coach, etc. Lately, I have seen a lot of different armchairs. The armchair physician, lawyer, and teacher.

It seems that people on the internet think that by looking up an article here or there, or perhaps rallying a ravenous horde of facebook friends, suddenly makes you an expert. In the last week, I have seen no less than 5 people on my Facebook claiming to know better than the doctors treating them or their friends and family. Just because you went to a hospital once in your life, or hell you watched a season of ER or House, does not make you an expert in the field of medicine. Diagnosis and treatment does not take 45 minutes to do. There is protocol and procedure that has to be followed and the old adage "the customer is always right," is a fallacy. I never walk into a hospital room as a patient and think "I know more than these guys in here." So why do some people get that attitude? Just relax and wait for the diagnosis, if you were in mortal danger, I am sure you would be told.
     Realize that doctors do not know everything. They make mistakes, they misdiagnose, heck sometimes they never know what was wrong. I stayed in the hospital when I was a teacher in Manyberries, Ab. What I suspected I had was an issue stemming from bad water in North Battleford a few years back. However, after a week in the hospital the doctors never came up with a diagnosis of what I had. They had two possibles, but were never able to nail it down. I never freaked out or got mad and said mean nasty things about the doctor, I knew that they had done the best they could, and I was at least healthy.

So the next time you think you can do a better job than the professional in front of you, remember you had a chance to get a degree in that field.

But heck that's just the world as I see it.


Monday, May 30, 2011

My First 10K Race! How many times can a grown man cry?

Well the culmination of my training occurred this weekend when I took part in the Jugo Juice 10k portion of the Calgary Marathon.  Though I had raced sprints as a high school student, I had never, ever run in a distance event. I have been "training" since February for this race. I had run on my treadmill prior and the first 10k I ran was at one hour four minutes and change. Through my training, my treadmill runs had only gotten down to 58 minutes as my fastest. I then tried running indoors at the Energy Centre track. I ran the 10k in 55 mins and change. I ran outside 3 or so times with my fastest being around the 54 minute mark. My goal at the start of the training was to run 10K in one hour. As I progressed, I registered for the 10K and put as my goal time of 55:00.

The night before the race I went out with some great friends and my family. I ordered prime rib and it was darn good, but I thought, "this can't be good for me."

I had difficulty sleeping that night as my nerves started getting to me. I was very nervous about 2 things.
1) Falling and 2) Not finishing in the time I wanted.

The next morning I wake up at 5:30 AM for the 7:30AM race. I did not have anything to eat during the morning. I do not like to run on a full stomach, and I was not about to pay 10 bucks for Westin Oatmeal. When we all got to the race area, I was in shock. I had never seen so many people in one spot getting ready for one race. Early numbers put the total people running the 10K at 2267. The course record holder had run this 10K in 30:09 last year. Put this in persepective...I run 5k at about 25 mins at this time. He is done when I am halfway. Funny enough is last name is Kangogo and man Kan he GO GO! He broke his record this year by running a 30:07.

I knew I had 0 chance of "winning" this race but I said to myself I was going to run my race and make everyone I knew proud of me.

Now I learned a lot in this very first race. #1 - Start at the start line. Even if you know you have no chance of winning, start at the start line. I was about 1 minute behind the start line. With over 2000 people, it is bound to happen. Final race placings are set by gun time. This means when the horn goes, your time starts, if you are a minute back of the startline, you have to try to make that minute up somewhere. I will elaborate later on this.

#2 - Run your race. When you are racing people, there are people who will finish in 30 mins and people who will finish in 1 hour 30 mins or more. It becomes very easy and seductive to run faster that you are able to. I hate to be a gimmick guy, but I never trusted my ipod to be accurate. I bought the Garmin Forerunner 405. It beeps every KM and tells me my pace time. With a built in gps it is fricken sweet. The watch really made me stay within myself by knowing my splits. Some people will say have a stopwatch, but the race markers stopped at 3km and didn't start up again till the 7th Km.

#3 Be aggressive. I was not nearly aggressive enough on the finish. I later saw people finishing the half marathon and marathon by almost plowing people down in the final 200m sprint to the finish. I had just maintained my pace. Mistake that cost me positions, and made me angry with myself.

#4 You become emotional. I left my family prior to the start. I was alone with my thoughts and with what I was about to do. Little did I know that my wonderful family, and my friends were walking to the Starbucks nearby about 1KM into the race waiting for me. The horn sounded, and I took off. At around the 1Km mark, I hear "I love you so much Ryan and Go DADDY!" I turn my head and I see my wife, son and daughter on the corner cheering for me. I was a little taken back. I began to tear up, but was able to channel that emotion into positive adrenal energy. As I was running I kept replaying that moment over and over in my mind. Sometimes I would get misty, other times I used it to push myself further. On the last Km, as I came up the final hill towards the final stretch I began to get goosebumps from the cheering crowd. I knew they weren't cheering for me, but they were cheering for everyone. Again out of the noise, I heard " Run Ryan you can do it, I love you." I picked up my pace another shot of adrenaline. I crossed the finish line. I was not really tired from the run, but I did begin to cry. A few things went through my mind. 1) I had run and finished a 10k race. 2) This was a culmination of losing over 50 pounds since Feb 2011 and over 103 pounds since 2004. I had beaten some pretty big obstacles to get to this point. 3) I thought of my mom, she has been gone since 1996, and on that race I was running for her. I had raised money for cancer and this was a tribute to my mom. 4) I ran this for my wife. She is so very amazing and I wanted to make her proud. 5) I ran this for my children. One thing was Aidan wanted me to win him a medal (we all got one for finishing...shhh) and two I wanted my children to see their dad healthy and active.

One last thing I learned is no one is a loser in this. Sure there are winners. They finish first, but everyone who runs the race wins. Everyone has their reason for running. In that, everyone who ran that day was a winner to me. So what place did I win? Well its not as simple as crossing the finish. There is the gun time placing. I was 346th out of all 2267 people who ran. From 12 year olds, to 60 yr olds+, men and women,  that was my position. (I believe the 4th place finisher was in the 55 - 59 yr range.) Out of all the men aged 35 - 39, I placed 39th out of 117. Out of all the males who ran, I finished 255th out of 888. So did I win, sure I finished, I beat my former best time which was 55:17. My final gun time was 52:28 which means when the gun went off, it took my bib 52:29 secs to cross. However my NET running time, which is the time when I crossed the start line, to the time I crossed the finish was 51:28. SO in my mind I ran the race in 51:28 secs and thus my lesson learned about starting at the start when the gun goes off. (Would have moved me up a few places)

My next race will likely be a 5K in Cold Lake, with a 10K or half-marathon in Edmonton in August and a possible 10K run in Medicine Hat in September.

The running bug has bit me, and just think a few short months ago I thought running was boring!

That's the world as I see it.


Monday, May 16, 2011

Twits and Ignorance on the Internet

Very rarely have I ever been driven to the type of anger where I stay awake till 2:00 am on a work night, but last night was one of those nights.

For those of you in Canada and really the world, Slave Lake, AB Canada had a huge fire last night that engulfed the entire town. Over 7000 people had to be evacuated from their houses. In the end, the town hall, police fire and radio stations, the high school and many businesses along with 50% of the homes in Slave Lake went up in flames. Truly one of the worst natural disasters I have ever wittnessed in my province. Thinking about my small family and my home I could not imagine anything this bad happening to me.

The first thing I thought of was I need to go on twitter. The rationale was that since mainstream media were unable or unwilling to cut from Desperate Housewives, Survivor and other trivial programming to bring me an update on people in my province in dire need, I would go to a place where I could get the information I wanted. Twitter.

I should have known that I would find the regular mix of idiots on there, but I thought that in a moment of crisis, people would be sympathetic to the plight of the people of Slave Lake. Most people sent out well wishes, condolences and offers of support to those in need. There were however a select group of people who I will call "Twits". These are the people who have nothing better to do on twitter than to belittle people hurting, or make every issue their own.

Case in point. I cannot even count how many people of African-American descent came to twitter saying that Slave Lake deserved to burn down because of the name. Yes in 2011 people who live in a town deserve to have their homes burned down because of the name having the word slave. The sheer ignorance of people astounded me and led me to tweet "When New Orleans was underwater, Canada sent aide. When Slave Lake burns, USA sends morons to tweet jokes."

Now I clearly painted 312 million people with one brush. Ya that's not a good thing to do, but I was just so darn angry at the fact people would turn a natural disaster into their own personal vendetta with "the man".

Look, we are all sorry slavery occurred, and that many people's families were put through that kind of pain. However, Slave Lake, AB got its name from a tribe of first nations people. Many of the ignorant claimed Slave Lake was too hard to find on google. Yet typing in Slave Lake Wikipedia gets me a link to,_Alberta and further clicking on

I know it takes oh about 5 seconds to find what the town really is about. Of course, the ignorant have to flock to twitter to say how upset they are that there is a city with the word slave in it.  Good for the people who tried very hard to educate those on how the town got it's name. I lost patience and just started spamming the haters with "you're a moron".

So now where do we go from here? I am currently running a collection for cash at my school. I will get the secretary to cut a cheque on Thursday and take it to a local radio station on Friday. I put on my Facebook page and Twitter feed that I challenge the Big Oil companies in Alberta to cast aside some of the millions or billions they make in profits to help rebuild the town of Slave Lake. Ten grand won't cut it. This is going to cost millions of dollars.

To quote a woman on twitter last night  "Google before you tweet is the new think before you speak" however last night I wish most of the ignorant would have thought before they opened their traps to hurt people who don't deserve that treatment.

To those of you from Slave Lake, we are all here to help you.

That's the world as I see it.


Sunday, May 8, 2011

2 weeks to go, 100 pounds down.

Well it certainly has been a long time since I last wrote on ye olde blog. If you've missed me, I am back. We have a new majority conservative government, I told all my Liberal friends and family members the Libs had no chance in this election. After the Tories won, the Sun actually rose the next day, and Stephen Harper did not begin his plans of building a Death Star.

Anyways onto the blog. I am about 2 weeks away from my first 10k run. I am not too sure how to gauge this run as I have really no clue about pacing. A lot of my treadmill runs have been close to 1hr yet the one time I ran at an indoor track, I was at 55 min 45 secs. So I have really no clue what I am doing. I will run my best and be happy to finish I guess. Next goal is to run a half marathon. There is one in Edmonton at the end of August, but I am not sure that is enough time to essentially run double the distance I will run on May 29th. If anyone has any suggestions or helpful advice, I would really appreciate it.

As I said in an earlier blog, when I first moved to CL, I weighed close to 280 pounds. That was approximately 10 years ago. As of my last weightwatcher weigh in, I was 180 pounds. So nice to appear to have lost 100 pounds in the 10 years I have lived here. Realistically, I have lost the weight in about 7 years. Feels good! I have/had asthma. As I have become more fit, I have "thrown away" my inhalers and asthma medicine. I always felt I had "fatsma" as opposed to real asthma. This kind of proves my point that my issues around breathing was weight related. Now I have not REALLY thrown away the puffer, I just don't use it unless I am in dire trouble.

Now some people think that at 180 pounds I should stop losing weight. My wife, sister, and secretary at school are just 3 people who think I have lost enough weight. However, my max BMI weight should be 170 pounds. This is to have a BMI below 25 which is overweight. When I look in the mirror, I still see quite a bit of fat in the old gut area. Now I know what people are saying, you may become Manorexic. I will not go past 165 - 170 for fat loss. I have started to lift a little weight to help with the fat loss, but really if you have fat on your body, should you not try to lose it? The guy who plays Thor has like no fat. I can handle looking like that.

Anyways enough of a ramble for this week. That's the world as I see it! Drop me a line at rbailey(at)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Playbook Has Arrived and I'm 185!

Well, I bought a new Blackberry Playbook. I preordered from Staples. I know this will sound a)unbiased and b)uneducated, but so far I LOVE this tablet.

1) Screen size is too small? At 7 inches, the screen is smaller than an IPAD screen. However I do not have any issues looking at the screen. Things are not cramped or crowded at all. I also like that I can hold the tablet in landscape or the portrait style with one hand.

2) The swiping of the tablet, took about 1 minute to get used to. I found that if I swiped in a controlled method, I could easily get the tablet to do as I wanted.

3) Cameras. These cameras take really great pictures. I feel that Blackberry is saying "Hey we're not just for business people. Take some fun pics with this." Ya it doesn't have the Apple photo booth, but at times I just want a "normal picture" Front camera at 1080P and 3MP and a back camera at 1080P and 5MP kicks the tar outta the Ipad

4) Rubberized backing - Apple Fanboys who reviewed this said they didn't like the rubberized back as it felt too "toy like" I like the gripability of the tablet.

5) Power Button - I read a few reviews where people said the power button is too small. I guess if you have sausage fingers like Bilbo Baggins, you may have an issue with the power button. As a guy with medium to large sized hands, I had 0 issue getting the PB to power up.

6) Apps - Now of course there is not as many apps on the PB App store as there is for Apple's store. However, there are some really neato apps on the app store. There is also way more selection that BB's smartphone app store.

7) Wi-Fi only - To me this is not an issue, with internet tethering and/or Blackberry Bridge, I can access the internet anytime. I always have my phone with me, and the tablet being wifi only so far is perfectly fine for me since I can access wifi at both home and work.

Overall for me as a fairly knowledgeable tech guy, I would definitely say that this is a great tablet!

Like a friend of mine said, it doesn't matter what tablet a person owns, if it does everything you need it to do, it is worth the money.

In other news for weight loss, I am now currently 185 pounds. I was originally going to have my endpoint be 180. After talking to my doctor, I will now be going for 170 pounds as my end as this puts me at a BMI of 25 which is the high end of healthy.

That's the world as I see it.

Friday, April 1, 2011

We Are All Made of Grits. Green is the Colour, Debating is the Game.

Well, if you haven’t heard by now, CBC has a poll we can all take to tell us which way we should vote in the upcoming election. I took the poll and to my surprise came out as Liberal. I thought hmm odd, but since I am not a fan of King Mike, and I lean more towards Darth Harper, I simply shrugged it off as some whacky online gimmick that can be ranked with me preferring pepsi over coke, or that I am Bulbasaur if I were a pokemon, or that I am Team Jacob when we all know I am Team Edward. Essentially what I am saying is, the tool is a joke.

Now a professor in Canada has stated that the poll shows no matter how you answer, you will get Liberal. We all know that CBC has a slight left-wing bias. My running joke when a friend asks if I heard CBC Radio the other day is always, sorry my dial doesn’t go that far to the left. So was it really a surprise that the CBC poll showed a little bias?

What we know now is that the person responsible for making the poll worked for King Mike, and that he feels there is no bias.

My very Liberal friend at school told me that this is not bias and that really I am more Liberal than I want to admit. I guess I am more NDP than I let on because I use public health care and I work in public education. This reminds me of a line from The Incredibles: “When everyone is super, no one is.” So if everyone is liberal, then really, no one is.

If CBC can really influence people with their glorified Facebook Poll, we will see only Liberals in the next Commons.

Poor Elizabeth May, she is very upset that her Green party has not been invited to the debates. Now personally I don’t care if she is in the debates or not. The “rules” for picking the parties for debate are basically that you need to have a sitting member in parliament. The Green party do NOT have a sitting member as of dissolution and as such, do not qualify for the debates. If they buckle to the pressure of the Green party, they better let every other party around into the debate. I’d love to hear the Communists vs the Rhinos vs the Jedi party.

I guess we will see how all this pans out.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

10% Off Sale and Why Are We Having an Election?

When you get a text from a friend saying where is a new blog post, you feel like maybe it has been too long between updates.

Currently I am in Week 7 of 12 for Weight Watchers round 1. I say round 1 because I paid for 3 months and after the 3 months I will probably go to the monthly rate. This is to help me to maintain my weight at my desired level.

Big milestone coming up this week. I will officially on Thursday, barring an unforeseen weight gain, hit the 10% mark.  This will mean I have lost 21.5 pounds in 7 weeks. Pretty good from where I stand. I have been sick this week so I have not been able to run like I would like to. 60 days left until I run my first official 10k race, so I think I have lots of time to prepare after my illness goes away. My current 10k time is 55:44. Pretty good, but I would like to do better since last years 10k winner in my age won in a little over 30 minutes.

In other news, the federal Conservative Party of Canada was defeated by Larry, Moe and Curly of parliament. I will let you decide who is who. The coalition feel it is their time to shine. We have a "canadian" who has returned to Canada to lead the country. I like to call him King Mike. We have a guy who's party has really had 0 relevance on a national level. That's the lapdog Jack "Russell Terrier" Layton, and we have a man who has set as his only purpose to separating Canada. Let's look at each party as a whole.

Liberals - They had a looooooong run as the government while I was in high school. They had what seemed a majority forever and in the end they really only pandered to Ontario, Quebec and maybe some of the east. Now King Mike wants his turn to lead the country.

NDP - This party is like the proverbial always the flower girl, never the bridesmade kind of party. This party really hasn't had a chance in forming a government since.....forever. The best they did if I recall was when it was Ed Broadbent 1.0 running the party. No doubt they have their priorities. No doubt they want to help Canadians, but I already pay too much in taxes an NDP government would likely spend even more than the Cons and Libs combined. Sorry Jack, you will remain someone else's lapdog.

Bloc - How this party continues to win seats in parliament is beyond me. This group is really only effective when there is a minority government. Why they would want to force an election is beyond me. They have 0 chance of forming the government alone, and political suicide will fall on the people who form a coalition government (not a coalition on the opposition) if they ever joined with a separatist party. Gilles "not Villeneuve" Duceppe should have voted for the budget because if the Tories, NDP or Libs form a majority, they could be irrelevant for 5 years.

Green - Um....good ideas, however I would imagine this party has a little more chance to win more seats than the NDP. They do have their hearts in the right place, but I just don't see how you can run an entire platform on greenness.

I looked at my MP's competition yesterday and the Liberal Candidate for our riding has sent out his brochure on what I can only assume is the Liberal platform this go round. On it, there were the typical cherry picks of green energy, save the environment and lower taxes. Of course everyone will promise that. What struck me as odd or maybe idiotic was the tax breaks the Liberals say they will give.

- Debt Forgiveness for Doctors in Rural Areas
- $3000 Tax Credit to Volunteer Firefighters.

Now please correct me if I am wrong, but the budget that the Liberals JUST voted down had BOTH of these in them. Does King Mike really think people are this dim to not see that he toppled a government that had been working with the 3 stooges for 7 years as a minority, only to use that governments very platform? Maybe his arrogance is so grandiose that he feels these are better ideas when he says them.

Clearly a Conservative Majority will put an end to his arrogance. I don't care who you vote for, just go out and vote. Voter apathy can be linked to the stooges forcing an election onto the public every 2 - 3 years. Don't let their ineptitude keep you away from the polls. Don't assume everyone else will go vote. Get up off yer duffer and vote for someone!

That's the world as I see it.


Friday, March 11, 2011

You don't need a shrink potion to get to Onederland!

Well that certainly was misspelled wasn't it? No in actual fact I have spelled onederland correctly.

Onederland is a term I saw for the first time on the weight watchers forums. Onederland I guess can be defined as the world you enter when you dip under the 200 pound mark. It is clearly a physical and mental milestone for any person who has been north of 200 in their lives. I am extremely happy with how I have progressed during my weight loss journey. I am thankful I have people in my life who have told me how proud, inspired or just plain excited for me in my journey to 180 pounds.

Now people are a little worried about the 180 pound mark that I am striving for. My goal is to essentially(my wife loves that word) lose fat weight down to 180 and then put back on weight through weightlifting and stop at about 190 pounds. So do not worry about me, I am not about to attempt to hit my grade 12 weight of 155 pounds.

I appologize to anyone who has missed my blog these last few weeks, but I was very close to 199 and I wanted to wait until I hit 199 to do a blog. I know, I know what a primadonna!

That's all for now!


Tuesday, February 22, 2011

34? I thought I was 35! Keeping motivated!

Well I am into the 3rd week of weightwatchers. So far I have lost 7 pounds and become the lightest I have been in over 15years and now, I am 1 pant size away from my high school pant size. I currently wear 34's from old navy.  Now I am I sure I could get down to the 32 if I could just find a way to lose the looser skin. I know, all things in time.

One thing that can wear on a person is not losing the weight fast enough. On the WW forums, people are always complaining about how they aren't losing fast enough. I always remind people you don't get fat overnight, you won't get thin overnight. Average healthy weight loss is pegged at about 1 to 2 pounds per week. Anything more I guess is bonus, but you shouldn't starve yourself. The opposite effect to what you want may happen. So how do I keep motivated. I am a fairly positive person, and when I want to do something I just do it. So motivation for me internally is not too much of a problem. I guess I like to think I motivate others into action. That I inspire others to do things they have not done before. My wife told me that all through high school, she never ran due to her asthma. She always had a doctor note excusing her. Well this past week for the first time in her life, she ran for 12 and 13 minutes in one session on the treadmill. She told me that it was because of my success that she pushed on. I am extremely proud of her and her successes she is having. Keep it up hun!

One thing I would like to stress to people. You need people. You need to find someone who is on the same program or goal. Trying to do this alone may not be wisest choice. If you have a spouse who wants to lose some weight or a friend looking to lose weight, heck a co-worker or an in-law wanting to lose weight, use them as your support system. Everyone needs support and help from time to time. Knowing you're not alone in your struggle to lose weight is very powerful.

I was very worried yesterday. While running on the treadmill, my Nike + stopped responding. I was wearing it around my shirt collar when it "fried". I thought "oh crap! my receiver is broken!" I looked in the receiver and it looked like I  had corroded it with sweat! Good news today is that the receiver works. I will not wear it around the collar again! I was so sad!

If you are reading my blog, I would love to hear from you. I wonder if I am typing to the abyss at times. If you want to get a hold of me and talk weight loss or ask how I do what I do, email me rbailey(at)


Monday, February 14, 2011

15 years

What is 15 years? 5475 days, 180 months, 131400 hours, 7884000 seconds, and now 72 pounds.

I am currently at 208 pounds after a little more than a week on weightwatchers. I lost 7 pounds so far from the start, maybe a little much, who knows.

At my heaviest of 280, I never thought I would see 210 nevermind 208. So I am currently lighter than I have been in a long time. How long? I've been married 11, known my wife 13 and have taught for 11. So most of the people I know, have never seen me this thin, or healthy, or fit.

15 years is a long time, just wondering what took me so long to get my act together.

Happy Valentine's Day, my wife can hug me a little tighter now!


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Watch Your Weight

So my wife and I decided to join weight watchers. Funny I used to watch my weight, it just kept going up and up. Like I said before I am not into why I eat I just knew I was eating too much and not exercising enough. As my wife put it, "Your iPod, your Nike+ sensor,are tools to help you lose weight, and weight watchers is another tool." Ok I will agree with her on that it is a tool. It is costing us 85 bucks each for 3 months. Like my wife says, you cant put a price on health. I am always skeptical when it comes to spending money, but I thought what the hay, I will try it.

     I really like the site at it is really easy to use and is kind of like a facebook for people wanting to lose weight. I have already made a new friend from Toronto and like me, he is a teacher trying to lose weight. One thing I noticed about weight watchers is that it is dominated by women. There seems to be very few guys on there. I am not sure if guys think its a "chick thing" to try to lose weight or if people just don't know about the plan.

     This is the plan. It is the NEW points plus plan from weight watchers. As it is you punch in your current weight and other important info, then it gives you points. I currently get 45 points per day to use as I please and an additional 49 points for the week as extra (for the anniversary dinner or V-day) when you may go over in a meal. You can also earn extra points by exercising that you can convert to food points. This makes sense because if you are burning a lot of energy you need to eat a little more. If you don't have time for meetings, the online is really good, you weigh in on a day you decide and you can use the forums for support.

So you may ask, is 45 points a lot? Well I ate only 16 points today so far.
Breakfast - 2 pieces of whole wheat toast with margarine and PB. a glass of milk and a banana.
Lunch - 2 Turkey bites, a whole bowl of pomegranate seeds, a yogurt, a cucumber and a diet pop
Supper - 1/2 turkey breast skinless and boneless, 2 cups of mixed greens as salad and 2 tablespoons of 0 point dressing.

At the end I still have 27 points left to eat. What does that mean in a McDonalds way? I could eat 4 hamburgers and use 28 points. I could eat 3 cheeseburgers and use 24 points, I could have a double quarter pounder meal with a large fry and a diet drink for 28 points. So I am notsure how to tackle this. I am not going to run out to McD for those,but maybe I can have a treat of ice cream tonight. I dunno. I guess if I am not hungry, why use the points? So most likely the points will not be used tonight. Maybe tomorrow I will have 3 pieces of toast. Who knows? I think my problem is I can pre determine breaky and lunch as I make them, but my wife decides what we eat for dinner and last night (Feb 8) I had 2 tacos that added to 21 points total, tonight my meal was a meager 4 points. So I guess that's how it will all go for now. I will bank points for dinner. If you are in the Cold Lake/Bonnyville area, look for the group I made on WW called Cold Lake and Bonnyville WW. If you are not in the area but want to add me as a friend, I am Bailrs on WW. I look forward to hearing from you.


Monday, February 7, 2011

My New Best Friends and Where Am I Running To!?

     So above are my new best friends. My new Asics running shoes, which are totally awesome....I could die!!!!!! My blue multi-touch iPod Nano and my new Nike + sensor. Now on my facebook, people have been asking me about my sensor. The cost is about 30 bucks at any Sportchek. I then purchased the nice holder for the sensor called Runaway, for 10 bucks. If you have an iPod touch or an iPhone, you can download Nike + Gps from the app store and it will do what the sensor does.
     So how exactly does the sensor work? I don't really know the ins and outs, but what I do know is I will plug in the adaptor into my iPod, then i activate the sensor attached to my shoe. I can then choose workouts based on time, calories burned, and distances. That is not all this does. After said workout, you plug your iPod into your computer and iTunes will autosync to you set up your free account with nike and you can track all your workouts, set goals, participate in challenges and above all see how you are doing at running. To me, this is a great tool and very cheap.  The iPod can tell you your current distance ran, time remaining as well as current pace. I am told you can buy a heart monitor too, but to be honest, I just want my heart to keep beating and not explode. If you are a veteran runner, or a novice runner, this is easily money well spent.

So where am I actually running to? I thought about this the other day. I am currently training for a 10k race that happens the same weekend as the Calgary Marathon. My goal as you may recall is to run a marathon before 40...I am currently 35, 5 years is a nice goal! Anyways, I am running in a 10k race and I have been thinking, am I really running to do the race. The short answer is yes, the long answer is no. I am running for a goal that other people can't see, but I can. I am running to a better me, a healthier me. I used to look at running like I looked at hiking. Who the hell does this for fun I mean really who!? I now realize that not everyone is running to be a Simon Whitfield or a .....ok he is the only runner I know and he runs triathalons. I am running to be the best physically I can be. Eventhough I will probably never get close to a 4 minute mile, I would like to run as fast as I possibly can, and lose weight as I do it. So, with my newish shoes, my iPod and my Nike +, I will set out on the goal of running the biggest run of my life, the run to health. I hope you join me in my journey, and though I may fall down doing this, my support system is behind me and they will help me pick myself back up again. My Nike+ name is Bailrs, so if there is a way to add me as a friend, and you actually WANT to, hit me up, I would love to get more people in my support network.

     If you are overweight and having a bit of a struggle with getting started, remember I have been there, I am still working at it, you can email me anytime at rbailey(at) I will reply as best I can if you want to know what I have done to lose weight or how I just Forrest Gumped my way into this. ("I just felt like running") I will reply to you. All my weight loss has been through hard work, determination, support and positive thinking.


Friday, February 4, 2011

Mystery Building Coming Soon!

Well the South arena in our little town has been torn down. Just a few years back we were fighting to win Hockeyville to possibly spruce that little gem up. We never won and now the arena is no more. As the news reported it, it went something like this. "The walls of the south arena come down today making way for "the mystery building" to be built."

The demo for the south arena cost double what it was quoted. This was due to asbestos being found in the arena. It was like 50 yrs old or something so there's gotta be a ton of bad stuff in there. I thought to myself why couldn't they just get that spun out high school girl that burned the curling rink to the ground a few yeas ago to come demo the arena? I bet she would have done it for a 6 pack of Crest beer and a carton of De Maurier.

Now I thought to myself what could this mystery building be? I was hoping it would be a Future Shop, Best Buy or something of that variety. Then I thought, if it has to be a secret, maybe it is a huge adult emporium. I quickly dismissed this idea as there is a high school right next door to the proposed site. I asked my good friend Chris, who happens to be a councillor for the city about the mystery building. You would think friendship would trump red tape, it did not. Chris won't tell me what is going up in the spot so for now we all have to speculate. What do you think it is? Leave a comment below if you think you have an idea.

By the way, the building going up by the Lube Shop is a Wok Box/Taco Del Mar.


Monday, January 31, 2011

Inspirations and Perspirations!

My last 2 postings have seemed kind of negative. So here is a pick me up post for all of you. Lately I have been on a bit of a weight loss kick. I am currently 214 pounds and my end goals are to get to 190 pounds, run a 5k or 10k race, I am not sure which yet, and to run a full marathon by age 40.

In 2004 I had my son. At that time I was about 270-280 pounds. As my newborn sat in my arms I thought to myself, "what if I die of a heart attack one day and my son has no father?"

Now as I see it, I was never fat as a child, in fact, I was quite skinny. I weighed 155 pounds in grade 12 and was very athletic. So where did I go wrong? University I was about 180 and by the time I got married I was well over 230. I guess like getting thin, getting fat doesn't happen overnight. I played slo-pitch during the warm months and other indoor sports in the cold months. I never really realized that the amount of food I ate was the major problem. A doctor told me, it didn't matter how much exercise I did, if I was over-eating, I would never see the results I wanted.

So I took that to heart. I went to the gym every morning. I went on the elliptical for 30 minutes, then I did some light weights for 30 minutes. (I didn't want to be a muscle bound ogre.) I purchased the Dr. Phil books that help with weight loss. One book was all about looking into yourself and determining why a person over eats. I really didn't give a crap, why I was fat, I just wanted to fix it.

So all I did was look at the recipes and used those everyday. Now I ate the same thing every day for about 5 months, from January to May. I had Fibre One and milk for breakfast and 2 pieces of turkey bacon. For lunch I would have canned tuna and crackers. For supper it was chicken or lean steak, and veggies. I was steering clear of starchy carbs like potatoes and bread. I would still eat non-startchy carbs.

In the 5 months of going to the gym and eating right, I went from 280ish down to 211. People really noticed a difference in me, people thought wow Ryan you've lost a lot of weight. I was so proud. By 2010 I had regained about 20 pounds and was 230 pounds when my daughter was born in September. Again I thought I was getting a little out of control weight wise. So I started exercising. I haven't lost the amount of weight I want to, but I am a lot fitter at 215 than I was at 211. I have been running on the treadmill, I have been doing some circuit work, and I have done some goal setting.

My first goal was to learn to wall climb. I always wanted to do it, but I felt fat guys dont wall climb and until I was about 200 pounds, that was out of reach. A very good friend of mine told me that if that was a goal of mine I needed to write it down. So I did, then I told my friend Mark. He is a great friend who is supportive of my endeavors to get fit and active. He is an avid rock climber and his fiancee is also a rock climber. They both took me out to the wall to climb and I failed 2 times.

I am not the type to give up on things easily, one of my positive traits is that when I stick my mind to something, I don't stop till it is achieved. My great friend Lindsay and my beautiful wife Megan both have said that to me, when I want something, I go for it. I jump in, with both feet. I was finally able to climb the wall 2 times after failing 2 times. I was ready to uncharacteristcally quit, not due to frustration, but the sheer exhaustion my arms were feeling from climbing. Mark and Holly both gave me a pep talk, Holly told me I could do it, and Mark being the great male friend he is said we weren't quitting till I made it amd to stop being a sissy. Like I said I made it to the top 2 times after that.

It is people like my wife Megan, my entire family, my friends and so many others who constantly push me, encourage me and make me feel like I am accomplishing things, that are so important in my life. I want to make sure everyone that has helped me along in my life is aware, you are the special people who have made me a better person. I am the sum of all experiences I have had. So if we are great friends, or if I met you at a conference in Olds and we hit it off, or we simply work or play together, you are all very special people to me and I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart for being an inspiration to my perspiration.

I know I rambled a bit there, but I guess my point is: no pill, powder, potion or promise can make you feel great about yourself,* you need the internal motivation, desire and a willingness to change, to make you feel better. If you are feeling down, go to your inspirations, seek the extra pep you need to conquer your Everests, then go do it!
                                            (*mental illnesses may need pills, I get it.)

So my challenge to anyone who reads this is the following: Go out and tell 5 people in your life that they make a difference in your world. It could be as simple as the lady who smiles at you every morning as you get coffee, to your significant other. Just make sure people know you appreciate them, you don't have forever with them.

Friday, January 28, 2011

So Where Do We Go From Here and The Deal is Done

So part 2 of my blog from last night. Where do we go from here? With Ed Stelmach retiring at the next election, we face a leadership election in the PC party. We know many names will be thrust about, one name I talked about last night was Fred Morton, you all know him as Ted. I have already stated my disdain for him and his pompous arrogance. It now appears he was Brutus to Stelmach's Caesar. Leading a revolt from within, Morton seems to have essentially pushed Stelmach from Politics. As the saying goes "the squeaky wheel gets the grease" or "nice guys finish last" seems apropos.
  I was however delighted to see that Dave Hancock (@DaveHancockMLA) has THOUGHT about running. I hope he reads my blog and my tweets, I have stated that he would be a perfect choice for leader. Calm, cool, collected and a veteran of politics. He has been a very good Education Minister. With teachers in his family, he understands teachers. He understands the importance of teachers in developing future doctors, lawyers, nurses, tradespeople. He, like Stelmach, in my mind anyways is a people person. I remember when he came to the ATA Annual Representative Assembly to speak to teachers. He told teachers how important he felt they were, how education cannot be simply pushed to the side if our province was to have a bright future. He has more often than not, put the interests of teachers, students and parents all at the forefront.  He seeks to find common ground amongst all stakeholders and make what he feels is the best choice.
     Now of course, people will point to Bill 44, the controversial bill that states a parent can opt their child out of certain parts of curriculum that the parent deems inappropriate. Really, parents have had this power all along. My parents used to have to sign a form saying I could take sex ed in health. I don't think Bill 44 allows a parent to pull their child out of Math because the parent feels a teacher should not be teaching triangles or fractions. (I could be wrong)
     So I say go for it Minister Hancock. Throw your hat in the ring. I will vote for you as leader. Just one request. Don't make deals with the others who run, I think Stelmach giving Morton a deal cost him in the end.

     While on the subject of Minister Hancock, as of today, the ATA, the ASBA and the Government of Alberta have signed a memorandum stating there will be NO change to the current contract. As such, teachers will get the 4.3% raise.

     With the fall of the king in Alberta, many princes and princesses have stepped forward deeming themselves worthy of the Premiership. One such person is Danielle Smith of the Wildrose Alliance. Now let us first look at the name. Wildrose (provincial flower) Alliance (Hey let's throw that word on the end, it worked when the Canadian Alliance formed up their party.) Why not simply call yourselves the Wildrose Reform Alliance Party. We all know that's what you're gunning for anyways. This is simply a more right than the PC's party, that will simply say anything to get elected. They will tell you they want to hire more nurses, more teachers, more everything, but they don't give a cost analysis of their promises. Re-open hospitals, hospital beds, better health care, better everything. But Danielle, where is the cost analysis. They say they want to keep Alberta deficit free, PST free and Rat free. Well I think everyone wants to have all those things for Alberta, but to keep deficit free, where would the cuts come? You simply cannot give everything and take nothing(taxes). So clearly they can only work on 2 of the 3 issues and even then, there will always be rats in Alberta. (Morton).

The Wildrose Alliance Party has their education policy up as well. Their policy has a few odd things to it.
1) All money follows your child. This is the US Voucher system. Your child has money earmarked to them, then you pick the school you want your child to go to. So Suzy's family picks her school and all goes well until one day something goes awry and Suzy's family has her go to a new school. Does the money get prorated? Sounds like Ms. Smith also closely follows Fraser Institute reports, which rank schools on "how great" they are.
2) Schools should be built where there is need, and not based on politics. Ok Ms. Smith so you think Airdrie needs a new school because one of YOUR MLA's says so, but then maybe my MLA who may not be in your party also deems my city needs a new school, are you going to give money to build both?  All things being equal, I will bet dollars to donuts, YOUR MLA will get their school before mine. How would you even determine that the need was true. Honesty? This is politics, honesty is as rare as a double rainbow....all the way. So what does it all mean?

Well to sum up I think it means, in the next few weeks, Ministers will resign to run for leader, as they should, they will all then distance themselves from Stelmach(because we all know this was ALL his fault)*sarcasm*, then you will see Wildrose state how the PC party is dead and that their party is saviour of Alberta, and that if we vote for them, the world will be a much better place. The Liberals will be stunned as to what to do and the Alberta party will simply...exist.

Who you ally with is up to you. Remember, it is easy to be the quarterback from the armchair. Smoke and mirrors eventually will be seen through and until I see actual numbers on policies, the devil you know is better than the devil you don't.


Thursday, January 27, 2011

Teachers, Government, and where do we turn.

I have had access to a blog for many years now. I have actually never written a post. Until now. Recent news has made me feel the need to write my thoughts and feelings. So here goes, my first blog.

1) The Government of Alberta has recently asked the ATA (Alberta Teachers' Association) and the ASBA (Alberta School Boards Association) to re-open the current agreed upon contract that is due to expire in 2012.
     The current contract is a 5 year contract that ties teacher salary increases to the Average Weekly Wage of the province. According to the Government, this is how they give themselves raises. Next year, teachers are slated to earn a 4.3% wage increase. The Government feels this is too much and will seriously hurt the province. Thus they have asked everyone back to the table.
     The rumoured proposal by the Government is to reduce classroom instruction hours, supervision/extra-curricular duty, and more teacher guided professional development. The public already has a pre-concieved notion that teachers are overpaid and underworked. They point to summers off and Christmas/Easter holidays.
     Second, the reduced supervision is a difficult proposition. Someone has to supervise. Who will do it? Volunteers? Not likely. Hire people to supervise? Seems like teachers are already hired.
     Lastly, the increased professional development time. Where will this PD occur? Afterschool? Weekends? Will we have to be out of our classrooms? The latter will lead people to say "Oh those lazy teachers...another day off."
     Now before you get all angry and say, "hey Ryan, how can you turn your back on the province when it is in trouble." Let's look at the other side of the current contract. Teachers voted to accept the 5 yr contract and as such whatever raise was deemed appropriate using the Average Weekly Wage Index. Teachers also agreed not to strike or have a labour disruption for the term. We also agreed that if the wages were 0% or less, we would not get a pay increase. The Government agreed to no pay cut and that the lowest pay increase would be 0%.
So teachers have kept their end of the contract, the ASBA has kept its end of the contract. Now the government has to keep its end up.
     I only wonder what the Government would have said if the tables were reversed and after multiple year of 0% increases, teachers asked to re-open the contract.

My recommendation to teachers is to take the 4.3%. The reason will tie into #2 below.

2) Premier Ed Stelmach has announced he will not seek re-election in the next provincial vote. As such, he is stepping down as leader of the PC party. Many people in the following days and weeks will clamour for his position. MLA Ted Morton has already resigned from cabinet and has put his name in the ring for leader.
     In 2006, Ed Stelmach beat Morton and Jim Dinning to become leader. I voted for Stelmach. Not that I thought he was great, but the Ultra-Right wing views of Morton were not palatable and Dinning saw the leadership race as a pre-disposed coronation.
    Morton is an American. Born in Los Angeles, Lived in Wyoming, moved to Canada. We clearly do not need an American form of ultra-conservatism in this province. I suspect that Morton's ego will again lead to him NOT being leader of the PC Party.

With this uncertainty of who will be the next Premier, it is important that teachers take the 4.3%, because a new premier may seriously impact the teaching profession.