Advice to Alberta’s teachers to include how the Nazis “strengthened” the German economy in lessons about the horrors of the Second World War date back almost four decades, Global News has learned.
The provincial government is now launching a full review of all documents on Alberta Education’s website after the 1984 document – which was republished in January 2020 – suggested teachers should provide a nuanced view of the murderous Nazi regime.
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Global News reported Friday that the document, titled “Guidelines for Recognizing Diversity and Promoting Respect,” recommended teachers include “both the positive and negative behaviours and attitudes of the various groups portrayed” in their lessons.
“For instance, if a video details war atrocities committed by the Nazis, does it also point out that before World War II, (the) German government’s policies substantially strengthened the country’s economy?” the document read.
“Some Canadian history print and digital resources dwell on the mistreatment of (First Nations) peoples by Caucasians and do not include examples of non-(First Nations) individuals or groups actively opposing this type of treatment.”
“Without omitting or glossing over the many instances when members of one group have cruelly wronged persons of another group, the resource should attempt to provide some balance by presenting factors causing the behaviour or portraying positive qualities exhibited by members of the group that have acted inappropriately,” the document added.
The news was immediately seized on by anti-hate campaigners and denounced “categorically” by Alberta Education Minister Adriana LaGrange, who said the document was first brought to her attention Friday morning. It has since been removed from the government’s website.
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But LaGrange’s office provided evidence that the advice has been on the books since at least 1984 under former Progressive Conservative Premier Peter Lougheed.
“In 2019, following the passing of the Education Act, numerous documents from Alberta Education were updated to remove references from the previous legislation, The School Act … A general review of the document content was not done at that time and at no point did this document come to the Minister’s Office for approval,” wrote Nicole Sparrow, a spokesperson for LaGrange, in a statement to Global News.
“To be very clear, the contents contained in the 1984 document were just as wrong then as they are today.”
Sparrow said that LaGrange has now ordered a full review of all documents on Alberta Education’s website “with a particular focus on longstanding documents that have not been recently reviewed.”
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