VESTA and their supporters are backpedaling on their support of an anti-Games meeting
CityCaucus.com 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 Teach2010.org. 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.
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."