February 9, 2015 7:56 pm

Group opposes military training in schools

A group of concerned citizens submitted petitions with more than 2000 signatures to get rid of the military training program in schools.

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REGINA – Concerned citizens against a credit-giving military training program for Grade 11 and 12 students brought their concerns to the Saskatchewan Legislative Building on Monday, saying it promotes war.

“Calling for peace is a better way to serve one’s country than calling for war,” said Florence Stratton, one of the group’s organizers.

They submitted petitions with over 2,000 signatures to the Ministry of Education. The group has several main concerns:

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“Weapons handling being part of the curriculum (and) the incompatibility of the program with certain values like getting along with others and living in a world characterized by diversity,” Stratton explained.

Last week, Catholic School ratepayers passed a resolution urging the board to reject military training in schools, which is not legally binding. The board will consider it at their next meeting.

“It’s voluntary, but apparently there’s a $2,000 payment that goes along with [the program] and we might ask why $2,000 is not offered for other courses,” said Stephen Moore, a Catholic School ratepayer at the Legislature.

The education minister said all reservists are paid and he’s not concerned if the program is a recruitment tool.

“This is a program that we think is very good for our young people and promotes the military in our province. We have a proud military tradition in saskatchewan and we’re fully supportive of that,” said Minister Don Morgan.

Despite the government’s position, the group had hoped the petitions would start a greater discussion about the issue, and they also hope in the future all students will receive some type of education in peaceful conflict resolution.

The NDP opposition assisted the peace groups with their petition but does support the school military training program.

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