Alberta’s education minister, Adriana Lagrange, is doing damage control today after a blurb from an Alberta Education document went viral on Twitter because it talked about the positive contributions of the Nazis.
It started after Calgary resident Mike Dunn tweeted the following yesterday:
As of this writing, it has been retweeted over 200 times and has received nearly 500 likes.
Dunn’s screenshot is from a document called Guidelines for Recognizing Diversity and Promoting Respect, which was originally published on the Alberta government’s open data website on 31 January 2020, but has since been removed.
Shortly before noon today, LaGrange tweeted out the following thread, claiming neither she nor anyone in her department had ever seen the document before.
This morning it was brought to my attention that there was an Alberta Education document entitled, “Guidelines for Recognizing Diversity and Promoting Respect”, which contains extremely concerning and completely unacceptable views.
This was the first time that I or anyone in my office had seen this document, and I immediately instructed my department to remove it from all Alberta Education publications.
The wrongheaded views outlined have no place in our society and I categorically denounce what is written. There is not a “positive” side to tell of the murderous Nazi regime, as this document wrongfully suggests.
To be clear, this document has nothing to do with the curriculum process and the content dates back to some years ago. Under no circumstances would my office approve horrendous content like this being taught to Alberta students.
I want to thank the groups that brought this issue to my attention. My office has since reached out to @CIJAinfo, @CanadianFSWC and @bnaibrithcanada to inform them of the action being taken to rectify the situation.
It’s true that the bulk of this content is several years old. In fact, an older version found by CBC’s Madeleine Cummings in the Wayback Machine dated it as originating in 1984 but being revised in 2008.
However, it’s a bit disingenuous for LaGrange to claim that neither she nor anyone in her office has ever seen it, given the metadata in the PDF file clearly states that the author is Alberta Education and that it was created in February 2020, months after LaGrange was appointed education minister.
That’s not all.
Compare the following screenshots. The first is from the 2008 revision and the second is from the 2020 version.
What we see here is that while much of the content in this document mirrors the 2008 version, several changes were made before republishing the 2020 version, including this very section.
The 2008 version of this sentence read as:
For instance, if a video details war atrocities committed by the Nazis, does it also point out that before World War II, the Nazis’ policies substantially strengthened the German economy?
but the 2020 version reads instead as:
For instance, if a video details war atrocities committed by the Nazis, does it also point out that before World War II, German government’s policies substantially strengthened the country’s economy?
Clearly someone in the Alberta Education department saw this part of the document. That means that LaGrange’s claim that no one in her department had seen the document just wasn’t true.
Unless she only meant her minister’s office, which employs only a handful of people.
But did her deputy minister not sign off on the rewrite? Or any of the associate deputy ministers? Surely, the rewrite wasn’t left in the hands of a single staffer?