‘Social justice’ as student indoctrination

The BCTF pushes “social justice,” which is portrayed by leftists as superior to plain old justice, in ways that are seldom defined

Big Brother leads the daily session of anti-Eurasia propaganda in the British film adaptation of George Orwell's 1984.

VICTORIA – As the B.C. Teachers’ Federation executive moseys back to the bargaining table after a summer off, I’m reminded of former education minister George Abbott’s thoughts on his time trying to establish a civil discussion with the province’s most militant union.

It started with a lecture.

“In my first meeting with the BCTF, and I gather this is characteristic of all first meetings with education ministers, the TF advises that yes, they are a union, but first and foremost they are social activists and agents of social change,” Abbott recalled.

Their buzzword is “social justice,” which is portrayed by leftists as superior to plain old justice, in ways that are seldom defined. So what exactly are the goals of this “social change”? Here’s some of what I’ve gleaned.

Parents may recall the 2008 introduction of an elective high school course called Social Justice 12. This was mainly the result of intense protest by a couple of gay activist teachers, and the ministry curriculum describes its emphasis on inclusion of racial, cultural and sexual differences.

That’s all good, and it’s now bolstered by urgently needed anti-bullying and empathy efforts at all grades.

Then there is the BCTF version. It’s not just a battle against “racism, homophobia and sexism” but also “poverty and globalization.”

The BCTF has a quarterly “Social Justice Newsletter” filled with predictable economic assumptions. Readers of the latest issue are reminded at length that the United Nations takes a dim view of Canada’s record on human rights, including a right to housing. Undefined “poverty” statistics are cited, although Statistics Canada has nothing but incomplete relative measures.

One article describes a social justice club for Grade 2 and 3 students, with activities that include collecting food bank donations and “writing to the premier asking for a systemic plan to address child poverty.”

Leaving aside whether eight-year-olds can understand what “systemic” means, this rhetoric is taken directly from the tired old NDP policy book. It rests on the cherished myth that poverty is imposed by right-wing governments that refuse to double the minimum wage and pile more taxes on “the rich.”

And what about that darned “globalization”? The BCTF still has a 2001 teaching guide on its website promoting the claim that Nike is uniquely guilty of making shoes and exercise gear in Third World sweatshops.

Teachers are to instruct students how to organize a boycott of Nike, thus passing the received wisdom of campus radicalism to the next generation.

This was all debunked years ago. Are Adidas, Reebok, Apple and Microsoft any different? Has nothing changed in 12 years? A quick web search will show this is a stale old tale with a convenient villain, to avoid complex questions.

A BCTF official assures me this unit is being updated. Once that one is done, maybe they could check over their teaching unit on Enbridge’s Northern Gateway proposal, another labour of the union’s “social justice” truth team.

Entitled “What We Stand To Lose With Pipelines and Supertankers,” it boasts wildlife photos and “key sources” from the left (Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives) to the far-left fringe (Pipe Up Network). It is another protesters’ guide designed around a pre-determined viewpoint.

BCTF bosses love to talk about the importance of “critical thinking.” These one-sided caricatures of Nike, Enbridge and other familiar villains seem designed to produce the opposite.

They remind me of George Orwell’s classic novel 1984, where loyal party members are required to focus on selected enemies in a daily ritual called the Two Minutes Hate.

Perhaps this is a clue to why our school system produces so many students lacking in employment skills and bursting with demands for government-imposed wealth redistribution.

Tom Fletcher is legislature reporter and columnist for Black Press and BCLocalNews.com. Twitter: @tomfletcherbc

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Snapshot: Cap and gown in the time of COVID-19

Eagle River Secondary did what they could to keep highscool graduation as normal as possible.

Fallen tree and fire to blame for Shuswap power outage

BC Hydro restored the outage in about an hour.

Boating Safety Week a chance to take stock of hazards on Shuswap Lake

Submerged logs, cold water and intoxicated captains are all safety concerns

$30,000 over 30 weeks for local causes

Send us your good stories and you could win money for your favourite cause

VIDEO: B.C. dentist gets grand welcome home after two months in hospital fighting COVID-19

Michael Chow was given a surprise send off by hospital staff and ‘welcome home’ from neighbours

‘Like finding a needle in a haystack’: Ancient arrowhead discovered near Williams Lake

The artifact is believed to be from the Nesikip period between 7,500 BP to 6,000 BP

Friends, family mourn Salt Spring Island woman killed in suspected murder-suicide

A GoFundMe campaign has been launched for Jennifer Quesnel’s three sons

PHOTOS: Anti-racism protesters gather in communities across B.C.

More protests are expected through the weekend

Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam calling for independent investigation

‘I’m pissed, I’m outraged’: Federal minister calls out police violence against Indigenous people

Indigenous Minister Marc Miller spoke on recent incidents, including fatal shooting of a B.C. woman

Indigenous families say their loved ones’ deaths in custody are part of pattern

Nora Martin joins other Indigenous families in calling for a significant shift in policing

UPDATED: Pair accused of ‘horrific’ assault at Vancouver’s Oppenheimer Park arrested

Police say Jason Tapp, 30, and Nicole Edwards, 33, did not show up to meet their bail supervisor this week

Crews building structure at former Summerland train station site

West Summerland Station will pay tribute to railway history, serve as trail marker

Most Read