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Alberta Politics

UCP advisors erase Residential Schools and inject Anglophilia into primary grades’ Social Studies curriculum, show leaked documents

Perhaps it should not be a shock that a government initiative ostensibly aimed at “removing political bias” actually includes a whole lot of bias, but the curriculum advisory panel struck by Education Minister Adriana LaGrange appears to be doing just that.

According to draft copies leaked to CBC reporter Janet French, all references to residential schools will be removed from kindergarten to Grade 4 Social Studies curriculum if recommendations from an advisory panel appointed by the United Conservative Party government are accepted.

The authors of the draft copies have deemed residential schools to be “too sad” for younger students, but lighter topics like feudal societies, the Roman Empire and Chinese dynasties were considered appropriate by the panel.

The draft, which appears to be written partially in first-person, is also filled with strange Anglophilia like teaching students to memorize a Gilbert and Sullivan song and recognize the chimes of the Big Ben clock tower in London. It oddly describes Queen Elizabeth II as “Canada’s ruler” and claims that the monarchy represents “unity in diversity,” seemingly sugarcoating the legacy of British colonialism (this does not sound like the model of a modern major education system).

CBC reported the curriculum advisory panel also recommended the removal of all references to “equity” (which was deemed too politically partisan and charged), and that first grade students should learn Bible verses about creation as poetry and fourth grade students should learn that most non-white Albertans are Christians. It is not clear how the injection of a pseudo-religious curriculum would fit into the role of secular public schools, which the vast majority of Alberta students attend.

The handpicked advisory panel includes former political staffer Chris Champion as the Social Studies advisor. Champion was a senior advisor to Jason Kenney during his time in Ottawa from 2007 to 2015 and has been criticized for a 2019 article in which he described First Nations perspectives in school lessons as a fad.

“The Indian Residential School system was created to erase the cultures, histories, languages, and perspectives of Indigenous peoples within Canada, and these recommendations perpetuate that erasure,” said Alberta Teachers’ Association Staff Officer for Indigenous Education Melissa Purcell in a press release this afternoon.

“The recommendations perpetuate systemic racism through whitewashing of the draft curriculum. These recommendations cannot be taken seriously and must be rejected outright,” said Purcell.

This is not the first time someone with close ties to Kenney has been criticized for comments about residential schools. Paul Bunner, who worked as Kenney’s speechwriter from 2019 until this fall once wrote an article dismissing the “bogus genocide story” of Canada’s residential school system.

Both Bunner and Champion are former employees of the Alberta Report, a now defunct conservative weekly news magazine.

Between the early 1880’s and 1996, more than 150,000 Indigenous children were taken from their families and forced to attend residential schools operated by church organizations and the Government of Canada.

The children were strictly forbidden from practicing their culture and speaking their language and were forced to assimilate into ‘white Canada.’ The number of school-related deaths is estimated to range from 3,200 to more than 6,000.

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, which was organized by the parties of the Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement and held its final hearing in Edmonton in 2015, recommended that provincial governments, in consultation and collaboration with Residential School survivors, Indigenous peoples, and educators create “age-appropriate curriculum on residential schools, Treaties, and Aboriginal peoples’ historical and contemporary contributions to Canada a mandatory education requirement for Kindergarten to Grade Twelve students” and implement “Kindergarten to Grade Twelve curriculum and learning resources on Aboriginal peoples in Canadian history, and the history and legacy of residential schools” (Calls to Action 62 and 63).

The TRC final report described the residential school system as cultural genocide, a description that was adopted by the Canadian Museum of Human Rights in 2019.

Grande Prairie and District Catholic School Board Chair Michael Ouellette told MyGrandePrairieNow that leaving out residential schools from learning plans is a terrible idea.

“It’s concerning where it’s going, it’s concerning where they’re going with education in this province,” Ouellette said.” “Other provinces are so much further ahead of us with the curriculum.”

Education experts interviewed by CBC described the recommendations included in the draft as “utter nonsense,” “a laughingstock” and out of touch with the past 30 to 40 years of research.


In 2016, Historica Canada released a Heritage Minute about the heart-breaking story of 12-year old Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack, whose death sparked the first inquest into the treatment of Indigenous children in Canadian residential schools.


COVID hits UCP cabinet

Tracy Allard MLA Grande Prairie United Conservative Party
Tracy Allard (source: Facebook)

It was announced today that Kenney is in self-isolation after Municipal Affairs Minister Tracy Allard contracted COVID-19. Allard was appointed to cabinet last month. Also self-isolating are Transportation Minister Ric McIver, Airdrie-East MLA Angela Pitt, Airdrie-Cochrane MLA Peter Guthrie and Lethbridge-East MLA Nathan Neudorf.

Kenney tested negative for COVID-19 but a statement released by his office says he plans to remain in self-isolation until October 29, 2020.

The total number of new COVID-19 cases in Alberta announced today hit 406, a record daily high since the pandemic began.

Despite the emergence of a second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic in Alberta, Health Minister Tyler Shandro announced last week that the UCP government plans to lay-0ff 11,000 health support workers and Alberta Health Services reiterated its plans to layoff 650 Registered Nurses.

5 replies on “UCP advisors erase Residential Schools and inject Anglophilia into primary grades’ Social Studies curriculum, show leaked documents”

The UCP sure has some very twisted ways of thinking, and in more ways than one. First, by laying off health care support workers, during a time when the Covid-19 pandemic is worsening in Alberta. Laying off 650 registered nurses isn’t going to help either. This reeks of the big mess Ralph Klein did to healthcare in Alberta.The UCP has to compensate for their profound fiscal recklessness somehow, as did Ralph Klein. Much like Ralph Klein, the UCP is looking to Americanized health care for Alberta.The UCP is fast tracking Alberta’s debt to a whopping $100 billion. The UCP are trying to erase a sad chapter in Canada’s history, by avoiding the subject of residential school abuse being taught in schools. The UCP certainly hasn’t picked winners with Paul Bunner, (who resigned on his own), and Christian Champion. Adriana Lagrange isn’t qualified for the role as Alberta’s Education Minister. She has no post secondary education, and the children she has (not sure how many) are being homeschooled. The premier hasn’t completed post secondary education, and has had no job, outside of being a politician.The inappropriate handling of school reopening in Alberta, will mean that schools will have to close, and before December comes, due to the Covid-19 matter worsening.What did Albertans get themselves into, with the UCP? Albertans are in for a bumpy ride, and it’s going to get worse, under the UCP.

I don’t mind a bit of Anglophilia, after all it is part of our history, but like various other imperial countries it had its good and bad points and should not be whitewashed. Perhaps the same could be said about the Roman Empire and Chinese Dynasties too.

As a history buff, I have some personal interest in the Roman Empire. It does have some relevance as some of its culture and language was preserved or rediscovered and added to western European culture, which might partly explains why Europe was constantly at war and had imperial ambitions elsewhere in the world in the 18th and 19th centuries.

However, I think it is a mistake to focus on the distant past so much while ignoring some more recent history. Perhaps it is embarrassing to some of the devout crowd who lead the UCP, so they would rather ignore that their religious institutions did some unpleasant and bad things. Actually, I don’t think it would be too much to handle for fourth graders, but it might be for some in the current UCP leadership.

Not surprisingly, Adriana LaGrange and her spokesflak are distancing themselves from the draft document; Ms. LaGrange recently said some of the recommendations are not even realistic.

What I want to know, is how much are the ‘experts’, who are presenting recommendations that even the government acknowledge are unrealistic, getting paid?

Chinese opera is not something the little ones will forget, but isn’t this an un-Albertan, foreign-influenced activity? Caution is advised, or the Un-Albertan investigation committee will write up a report on these little dissidents.

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