Posted on Oct 27, 2020


CALGARY – Alberta’s NDP Caucus, along with parents and educators, are calling on the UCP government to formally reject the curriculum advice they commissioned from a panel of hand-picked advisors. 

“Jason Kenney and Adriana LaGrange got the advice they were looking for when they put Chris Champion in charge of our kids curriculum,” said Sarah Hoffman, NDP Education Critic. “Chris Champion has published and held racist views for decades and should never have been trusted with this task in the first place.”

Last week Albertans learned that a proposed new curriculum change from a panel of advisors, hand-picked by the UCP, would eliminate all references to residential schools and “equity” for kindergarten to grade four. 

“Our children and future generations are counting on us to tell our historical truths and by doing so, helping Canadians and Albertans understand the true history of the land on which they reside.” said Nicole Robertson, a mother, advocate, and communications specialist from Tsuu T’Ina First Nation. “When Indigenous Peoples historical facts are taught in the education system, such as the residential school era, we’re helping to build  a stronger and just society. Children are the seeds of our future and they should know the truth about Canada’s past in order to make change for their future and this begins with reconciling the educational system.”

The drafts also included lengthy lists of names, landmarks and events for young children to memorize.

“Curriculum is what we teach, not how we teach.” said retired Principal and Calgary Board of Education Curriculum Specialist, Jim Simpson. “Non-educators, and I would lump the Premiere into this, do not understand this.”

“Curriculum design from the outset must engage the community and be representative of the community. Any panel whose responsibility it is to make recommendations to the Minister, must reflect the cultural and socio-economic diversity present in the community. The face of the panel matters. It must include members of the community who have vested interest in the future of the province and its young people,” said Simpson.

There are eight “subject matter experts” on the panel of advisers, all of whom are men, including former staffer for Jason Kenney, Chris Champion. Champion has written that including First Nation perspectives in school is a “fad.”

Alberta’s NDP Caucus is calling on the UCP to put Albertans’ fears to rest and to immediately and unequivocally reject this panel’s advice.

“If the UCP won’t reject this horrible, racist advice, then they should admit that they're considering taking it. Every Albertan deserves to know which it is,” said Hoffman.