Over the past weeks, PeaceQuest Regina, in partnership with the Regina Peace Council, Making Peace Vigil, and Saskatoon Peace Coalition received over 2000 signatures collected from 98 communities across Saskatchewan aimed at preventing the Canadian Army Primary Reserve Co-op Program from getting off the ground.
Their petition requested that the school boards involved and the province strongly consider not moving forward with the program which offers $2000 to students to complete the 23 day course. Here is the press release from CAF promoting the program that mentions the credits, but not the wages.
I will leave the rest of the descriptions to Florence Stratton, who has has been a powerhouse in this campaign from the beginning with a lot of help from others.
One part of the campaign was to approach the local school boards requesting they reconsider participating in the program. They received notable support from the local Catholic School Board who passed a motion recommending that the military withdraw from the field of education. Here is the exact text:
Whereas the military training program about to be introduced in Regina Catholic high schools includes instruction in weapons handling, thus raising ethical questions about what we want young people to learn in our schools;
And whereas students who take the program will be paid $2,000, thus raising ethical questions about who the program is targeting;
And whereas the military training program is not compatible with the United Nations view of education as enabling “individuals to learn to live together in a world characterized by diversity and pluralism”;
And whereas military training involves obedience without question, thus impeding the development of critical thinking – or as a 17 year old reservist I know was recently told by his commander: “If we tell you the sun rises in the west you must agree”;
And whereas military training for youth contradicts Catholic social teachings that call for the promotion of human dignity and peacemaking;
Therefore be it resolved that the Regina Separate School Board inform the provincial government it does not want a military training program in its high schools and that it work with the Ministry of Education to develop a course for credit in Peace Studies to replace the military training option.
Here is Florence’s description of how the event went when they handed in the petition to the Saskatchewan Legislature on February 9th. It has been edited for length:
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