Saturday, December 14, 2019

Alberta blackens its image still further after protests over elementary school project

If an example were needed of how far Alberta (and you could easily add Saskatchewan into the sentence) has gone wrong, how far it has strayed from Canadian normalcy, you could do no better than a quick perusal of the recent shenanigans over a school social studies project.
A teacher at a Blackfalds, Alberta, elementary school gave a Grade 4 social studies class a project that involved showing two videos about Alberta's oilsands, one (suitably positive) from the provincial government, and the other (predictably negative) from Greenpeace. Wow, you might think, maybe Alberta does have its shit together. That's a great project, with lots of scope for analyzing the different approaches, the different interpretations of "the truth", and the different ways in which videos can be used for propaganda and indoctrination.
Well, maybe, but what then transpired could only have happened in Alberta (or Sakatchewan, or some of the more redneck states south the border). Some parents of the Grade 4 class started to complain about the project on a Facebook group, alleging that the project is biased against the oilsands. Protests were mounted, culminating in some veiled, and not so veiled, threats of physical violence against the teacher, and more specific threats that resulted in the cancellation of the school's upcoming Christmas dance event.
To its credit, the local school district has come out strongly in support of the teacher, and the parent who made the strongest threats has received an RCMP ticket for "disturbing or interrupting the proceedings of a school". But the damage is done: the kids are traumatized, the dance has been postponed, and Alberta has cemented its reputation as a head-in-the-sand, backward-looking dinasaur with anger management issues. Way to go, Alberta.

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