ATA stands by controversial guest speaking at Calgary Teachers’ Convention

ATA stands by controversial guest speaking at Calgary Teachers’ Convention
WATCH: The Alberta Teachers’ Association is defending its decision to have convicted murderer Andy Evans as a guest speaker at the upcoming Calgary City Teachers’ Convention. Lisa MacGregor has more.

UPDATE: The Alberta Teachers’ Association issued an updated statement on Wednesday acknowledging Andrew Evans was convicted of murder, adding, “We in no way condone his past actions. We would like to express our heartfelt condolences to the family and friends of Nicole Parisien for their terrible loss.” 

A guest scheduled for the upcoming Calgary City Teachers’ Convention is causing some controversy. Convicted murderer Andy (Andrew) Evans will join the Calgary Police Service to speak Feb. 14 at the convention.

According to the schedule summary, Evans will be speaking about adolescent addiction and his journey through addiction.

After serving seven years for second-degree murder, Evans was granted parole in 2014.

Nicole Parisien was strangled by Evans, a former UBC rugby player, while working at an illegal massage parlor in Vancouver.

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Evans was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of getting out for 10 years. However, the Criminal Code allows parole eligibility three years before the official date of release to ease an eventual transition back into society.

READ MORE: Family outraged woman’s killer granted day parole after 7 years

After Evans was granted day parole, he moved back to Calgary where he’s currently the quality assurance coordinator at the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre (AARC). He’s also a member of the Calgary Rams Rugby Club.

The Alberta Teachers’ Association is standing by its decision to have Evans as a guest speaker.

There’s no mention of Evans’ murder conviction in the schedule summary. It said he will be sharing his personal story of addiction and recovery and join Calgary Police Const. Andrew Morton, who is a graduate of the AARC program, to raise awareness about addiction.

“As a graduate of AARC, Andy Evans will share the story of his journey through addiction.

“Educators will come away with a greater awareness of addiction and how they might better support students and families caught up in this disease,” reads the summary on the Calgary City Teachers’ Convention website.

In a statement to Global News, the Alberta Teachers’ Association said: “Teachers are smart and thoughtful professionals capable of examining contentious issues and sensitive topics with critical thought. For this reason, the association’s convention organizers do not shy away from scheduling controversial sessions or speakers. We trust in the professionalism of teachers to understand and appreciate different perspectives on issues that relate to their work.”

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“Drug and alcohol abuse and addictions are real and important issues facing teachers and schools across the province. Calgary Police Services’ Const. Andrew Morton will speak to teachers about how to support students affected by addiction.

“Andy Evans will join Const. Morton’s session to share his personal story of addiction and recovery, which provides a tragic lesson about the terrible cost addictions can have on society,” the statement said.

Initial concerns about him being a guest at the convention came up on a social media post wondering if it was the same person who served time for the murder Parisien in Vancouver.

Calgary police said AARC invited them to speak at the convention to help educate others about addiction.

In a statement to Global News, CPS said: “Const. Andrew Morton was seconded to the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre (AARC) to provide his expertise to families and to help educate other police officers on addiction issues.

“As part of his position with AARC, Const. Morton participates in educational presentations arranged by the organization to help prevent addiction and raise awareness of the important role addictions treatment plays in helping people.”

“Presenting with speakers like Andy Evans helps achieve these goals by sharing real people’s lived experience.

“It helps demonstrate that addictions can lead to immense tragedy and loss, as well as irreversible consequences for the addict and the community. By helping to share these stories, we hope people can learn from others and that further tragedies can be prevented by addressing youth addictions in our communities,” it said.

The Calgary City Teacher’s Convention runs from Feb. 14 to 15.

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