Canadian politics, censorship, christians, Consevatives, culture, education, Mormonism and other forms of child abuse, politics, religion, willful blindness to absurd extremes

Close Your Eyes, Honey. Reality Will Pass Us By Soon…

In the interests of “getting parents involved in schooling”, Alberta has passed a law requiring schools to notify parents when ‘controversial’ topics such as sex, sexual orientation or religion will be discussed.

Or, to put it another way, intolerant lobby groups have successfully enabled intolerant  parents of innocent children to discourage intelligent debate and ignore facts that can influence their socialization, their health and their well-being. The “ignore it and it will go away” philosophy of education hasn’t really been a huge success in the past, and I wouldn’t necessarily expect it to work to anyone’s benefit this time, either. The law places limits on free speech that would be unacceptable outside a fascist dictatorship – having studied education, the free flow of ideas and the pursuit of knowledge through unlimited questioning of assumptions seems to me to be the most effective way of creating a citizen that is informed and willing to engage in their communities and the political process, not to mention increasing the odds that they can and will learn from other cultural traditions through a fair-minded and inquisitive approach to social interaction.

What Alberta is creating, by allowing reactionary parents to deny exposure to knowledge and controversy to their children, is another generation of reactionary parents. Ignorance breeds fear, which leads to hatred. That fundamental fact of human nature seems to have escaped the legislators out there. Take away the right of children to be educated through free inquiry, and you are robbing them of experiences that, while sometimes uncomfortable, can be life-affirming and character building. The parents in question obviously lack confidence that educators can protect children from the evils of sexuality and other religious views – I lack that confidence too, but that to me is a positive, not a negative. If I were a parent who were worth anything (as I consider Kevvy to be, for example), I would be there for my children to discuss anything they were disturbed by, to help give them context and the benefit of my experiences, not take away the opportunity for them to ask the questions out of a sense of parental laziness: “I’m too busy to set them straight on these liberal ideas, so it will save time if they are not exposed to them.” If parents were doing the job they are supposed to do, socialization into the family unit with all of its benefits and flaws, the law would not be necessary, and children would be free to form their own opinions.

You have done teachers, and especially children, an injustice. For the sake of political capital among the conservative ‘grassroots’, you have created the means to perpetuate ignorance and hatred, to place children’s health at risk, and to leave the impression to other Canadians that Albertans are ignorant hicks.

Not all of them are, I understand, but certainly the politicians are looking more and more like it.


8 thoughts on “Close Your Eyes, Honey. Reality Will Pass Us By Soon…

  1. Hello,

    I live in Alberta. Today I am horribly ashamed at living here.

    This law has made Alberta look like the Arkansas of the North. Why, next Ed The Sled will be passing laws allowing brother and sister to get hitched-up.

    Those people who vote Conservative should be aware that this will be the future of the country if there is ever a majority Conservative government. These aren’t your father’s Progressive Conservatives, this is the Reform Party in a Blue Coat. This is the party that Stockwell Day, he who doesn’t fully believe in evolution, belongs to.

    Be afraid Canada, be very afraid.


  2. We teachers in Alberta are simply amazed this actually passed. There has been so much opposition from such a diverse set of groups including teachers/school boards, gay and lesbian groups, parent groups who understand reality and so on. We will now need to send home notification when we teach subjects that closed-minded religious groups find offensive with respect to sexuality and religion before we teach it so they can keep their children home. If this does not happen the parents may have the option to send a complaint to the human rights complaint department against that teacher. It really opens an ugly can of worms against the education system. I wonder how many teachers will quickly retire or remain in the province after the first few complaints hit the courts?


  3. I was wondering when you’d show up Paul, which is all to the good because you can perhaps answer a question for me. How are you and your fellow teachers going to determine what is objectionable to the reason challenged set? There’s the big ones obviously (evolution, sex stuff of any sort) but people get offended by the damnedest things. I’d hate to see you in court because you informed the wrong child about, oh, lets say, black history month, or maybe that 9/11 wasn’t an inside job. This bill is going to give parents the right to make an Alberta teacher’s life hell because said parents weren’t consulted at every stage of the curriculum for whatever makes the uninformed and proudly ignorant nervous and out-of-sorts.
    I’ve sadly done very little reading on your premier and how he’s doing his job but what I have read leads me to believe that he’s another Rodney MacDonald but with some money in the bank. I don’t think that he’s mentally capable of looking far enough ahead to see the potential legal shit storm that this bit of pandering to his base could unleash, or more importantly, the potential damage to the future prospects of his provinces children. I suppose that doesn’t make him much different from any other politician, really.


  4. A quick note: Doug, you have highlighted the scary part of all this. The lawyers for the teachers are working hard to define all the parameters of what we need to do.


  5. Arkansas North, indeed! Paul, how are you going to handle the school cafeteria cooks who serve pasta without the appropriate obeiance ceremony in the name of His Noodly Goodness?


  6. Kev,
    There has to be some serious advance notice on this one between the cafeteria staff, school administration and school boards. So long as there is 48 hours notice sent home to inform parents that they have the option to keep their children home on those pasta-rific days. The lawyers will have to needle out what is offensive and what is not offensive in the eyes (nose? Eyes would mean that they are able to see the real world.) of this amendment.
    Thank God we don’t have a cafeteria. Can I say that or should I have given you 48 hours notice before I brought up his name? Are your human rights violated because I have mentioned my faith on your blog? Should I call a lawyer? I am scared.


  7. Doug,
    The jury is still out with our premier. He has done some good things in our province, however, this latest stunt will not help his cause. He may be a Rodney yet, but it is hard to tell with all of this money wrapping him up in a oily burrito.


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