Promotion of Teach2010 by BCTF amounts to a tacit endorsement

Post by Mike Klassen in


VESTA and their supporters are backpedaling on their support of an anti-Games meeting
VESTA and their supporters are backpedaling on their support of an anti-Games meeting has been contacted by a media representative of the BC Teacher's Federation (BCTF) clarifying what they say is a more accurate reflection of their stance on the materials circulated by We post their email in its entirety below.

On our original post we have removed references to VESTA sponsoring or endorsing the event by posting it as a news update on their home page. VESTA and the BCTF make no pretense at "balance" in any of the items they send out to their members. Posting it as an "item of interest" to their membership means it has been vetted by the organization and worthy of being on their website. In my opinion this qualifies as a tacit endorsement by the organization.

To have a real dialogue about the Games, you need counterposing viewpoints. Promotion of the Olympic Games is regularly shrugged off as pro-government boosterism by these critics, and as a waste of public funds that would otherwise be spent on all the social programs they covet.

Vision Vancouver School Board chair Patti Bacchus comments that we misrepresented her defending the event. While in several statements she focused on the rental of the school facility and needing the resulting funding, Bacchus also indicated that she welcomes the "balance" brought by groups like Teach2010 to counter the government's "boosterism" of the Games. Again, the message is a confusing one.

As for the question about the Teacher's Union and their involvement in the Teach2010 program, they are doing some serious backpedaling now, claiming they "only posted a link" to the group's event information. The following comments by Bacchus on the Province website probably didn't help:

...the information regarding the workshop was conveyed by VESTA to their members (not by the school district).

Now VESTA/BCTF are trying to distance themselves from their promotion of the Teach2010 program. They have removed the link to the Teach2010 materials which showed a poster of Dora the Explorer in a Nazi concentration camp.

Again, we urge that Mayor Gregor Robertson and Vision Vancouver must take a public position on whether they wish to remain connected to a group that circulates hate literature that denigrates the Olympic Games. The appropriate response would be to return thousands of dollars donated by the BCTF and their members to them.

Here below is the statement from VESTA.

I am the BCTF Media Relations officer and I am concerned about a very clear inaccuracy in your "Vision's School Board chair defends political program aimed at children" blog post. Please correct it.

Contrary to your statement, "the leaflet advertising the event at an east side Vancouver school naturally makes no mention of the sponsorship by VESTA", VESTA is not a sponsor of the Teaching 2010 Resistance workshop. That claim is false. VESTA posted a link on their website to an event being hosted by a group called Teach 2010. They are separate and apart from any teaching association in BC. They are hosting the event, they created the event. VESTA is not a partner nor an organizer. The event description you quote is from Teach2010. (note from CC, nothing on VESTA's web page indicated that this was a third-party program)

For your information, I have included a statement released today from Chris Harris, President of VESTA. Please advise if you intend to correct your article.

Thank You

Rich Overgaard
BCTF Media Relations

VANCOUVER, Oct. 16 /CNW/ - "Reports indicating that the Vancouver Elementary School Teachers' Association is associated with the Olympic Resistance Network are inaccurate," says Chris Harris, President of the Vancouver Elementary Teachers' Association (VESTA). "VESTA is not associated with the Olympic Resistance Network or the organization called Teach2010. VESTA has not endorsed any positions they have taken or any materials they have produced."

"What VESTA did was provide a link on its website as an item that might be of interest to some members and provide information to staff reps that this event was happening," Mr. Harris continues. "VESTA does this frequently for many community groups and events that relate to public education in Vancouver."

"Neither VESTA nor the BCTF have taken any position on the 2010 Olympics," he concludes. "Many teachers will take the opportunity to use the Olympics as a teaching tool in the classroom with all of the resources available to them. They will do so as professionals and ensure students in Vancouver have the opportunity to learn about all aspects of the Olympics."


Wrong again Mike.

I said the schools need to have a balance. I did not say anything about that balance coming from groups like Teach2010, although their materials could make for some interesting debate.

So let me be very clear: I support balance and a discussion of a range of perspectives from a range of sources. That does not mean I "support" any one group.

Is it really that hard to understand?

I don't know Mike, the BCTF, Bacchus or these 2010 resisters. I supported the Olympics but now find them obnoxious and injurious to the well being of the citizens of BC.

I have read all of the city caucus articles on this subject as they appeared in my Google reader. Based on this I pass judgment:

Mike, your personal biases are clouding your critical thinking skills. Your rhetorical framework on this subject are reminding me of US Republican smearing. Can we take a fresh look at this? "Teaching 2010 Resistance" my be worthy of our scorn but using it as a ball of mud to throw at others is leaving you pretty dirty.


In order to minimize any confusion,will you clearly state to our readers that you and the Vancouver School Board do not support the activities of Teach2010?

Further, will you also state that you don't support the tactics used by Teach2010 to promote the program (i.e. Dora Explorer posters)?

A simple yes or no would suffice.

Thank you for providing commentary on this issue and for providing our readers with your perspective regarding this controversy.

Daniel - I don't know anyone from Teach2010, never met them, haven't looked at their materials and the VSB has neither discussed nor taken a position on this group. Our role is to concern ourselves with what happens in Vancouver schools and that keeps us pretty busy.

If we tried to monitor and assess every group, corporation, industry association, political organization or gov't agency that offered teaching materials to teachers and schools, we'd be busy 24/7 just on that.

As for simple "yes or no" questions, that reminds me of the old Journalism school joke about asking a politician if he's stopped beating his wife yet — and to please answer only yes or no.

Nice try.


I never asked if you "monitored" and "assessed" every group, corporation, industry association etc...

I simply wanted to know if you support the activities of that you are fully aware of what they are and what they stand for. I assume by now you have taken a few minutes to apprise yourself of what Teach2010 is all about?

Is that too difficult a question to respond to? I think parents in Vancouver deserve to know your views on this - considering you are the Chair of the School Board.


Daniel - Please stop making false statements about me ("now that you are fully aware of what they are and what they stand for").

I'm not fully aware of this group or what they stand for, and have never viewed any of their information, met any of them etc. I don't plan to. They're your obsession, not mine.

Parents deserve to know my views on public education and what happens in Vancouver classrooms and I freely share those.

So please, no more falsehoods.

Patti - If I place a link on my homepage to the Skinhead International website I would be labeled as a radical racist. But in your mind I would be representing 'balanced' views. What colour is the sky on your planet??

These are ELEMENTARY children and VESTA is politicizing them for their own gains - it disgusts me.

Considering the amount of pro-Olympic material in schools now, including the 2010 Spirit School (funded by the BC government at $500,000) and the Olympic School Program (funded by Royal Bank of Canada), isn't it more than hypocritical to say their shouldn't be any anti-Olympics material in there? At the very least, all the pro-Olympic propaganda should be removed.

Check out!

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