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Critics slam B.C. teachers' federation Northern Gateway Pipeline lesson 0

By Ada Slivinski, QMI Agency Vancouver

VANCOUVER - 

The president of the Vancouver School Board says a teaching lesson plan about the proposed Northern Gateway Pipeline is one-sided.

The lesson is geared towards middle-school students, and a poster included with the plan is titled “What we stand to lose with pipelines and supertankers.”

It was created by Michelle Hamilton, an environmentalist and teacher, and focuses on environmental impacts and threats to biodiversity.

But school board president Ken Denike is skeptical.

“It doesn’t sound to me like thinking for themselves is the object here,” Denike said.

He compared the plan to propaganda and said he doubts teachers will take the time to seek out opposing views if they choose to teach this lesson.

“If it’s in a particular prescribed lesson plan for teachers and they’re being pushed, they’re not going to have time to go and get other sides of the information ... If it’s well articulated it tends to get used pretty directly,” he said.

Susan Lambert, president of the BC Teachers’ Federation, defended the project, which proposes to transport heavy oilsands material from Alberta to B.C.’s west coast, saying the object of this lesson is to teach students critical thinking.

She said the proposed teaching tool is not one-sided and is a “lesson plan that asks students to explore all angles and come up with their own opinion.”

She said she sees no conflict of interest in the BCTF putting forward this plan, even though they have been vocal critics of the Northern Gateway project.

A ministry spokesman said the ministry sets the curriculum, but does not approve lesson plans.

“Teachers develop their own lesson plans, and have the discretion to include content and materials in their lesson plans as they see fit.

“Lesson plans are taught every day in every classroom in every school across the province,” the spokesman said in an e-mail.

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