Montreal

Navy recruiting in schools opposed

The head of a Montreal-area teachers' union and a peace activists have teamed up to oppose a drive by the Canadian navy to convince elementary school children they should be part of the next generation of sailors.

The head of a Montreal-area teachers' union and peace activists have teamed up to oppose a drive by the Canadian navy to convince elementary school children they should be part of the next generation of sailors.

The Coalition Against Military Recruitment in Schools says naval forces should not be offering teaching materials and making classroom visits.

The head of the South Shore of Montreal Teachers' Union, and a member of the coalition, Monique Pauzé, said the navy is trying harder this year than in the past to indoctrinate young people.

Pauzé said the navy's website offers educational activities for teachers, and promotes the idea of inviting naval officers to class.

"They even suggest to ask the children, after all these activities, are you going? Are you interested of doing this? So, you know, from kids that are five years old, six, seven, eight years old, this is too much," Pauzé said.

"When they are recruiting, let's say … beside Rona, beside any store, I don't care about that. But in school, this is not what we're teaching our kids, our children, our students.

"We teach them to be … peaceful."

The co-ordinator of Montreal's Non-Violence Resource Centre, Alexandre Vidal, also wants to stop the recruiting drive.

"Joining the military — that's not just a job like anything else. It's actually a career in which people are enrolled, and they have to … learn how to kill," Vidal said.

For now, Vidal and Pauzé are urging teachers across the province not to use any educational material provided by the armed forces.

Pauzé said her teachers' union also intends to meet with parents of students to tell them personally about the situation. 

The navy did not answer requests for comment on the issue.

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