Veterans, military members, and even some teachers are expressing outrage at a B.C. Teachers’ Federation poster discouraging military recruitment.
The poster calls recruiting a “social justice issue,” and encourages teachers to ask their boards to ban recruiting in schools.
Former B.C. teacher Zoe Baker, who has launched an online petition opposing the posters, says she was particularly disturbed by the direction to encourage politicians to “resist military contracts.”
“Is it our job as teachers to disrupt the military? I don’t think so, I think that we are both working in different capacities to support a better world. I know many people in the military and they are not looking for anything but a better world,” she said.
LISTEN: BCTF takes fire over “anti-recruitment” posters
BCTF president Glen Hansman, says the poster was created several years ago and is “not something actively being circulated or promoted.”
But he says after the outcry, the poster has been pulled from the BCTF website for review.
“The concern still stands. Our representative assembly did carry the motion a number of years ago, it hasn’t been rescinded yet, and the points that were actually made in the motion itself are still legitimate concerns.”
But the Royal Canadian Legion doesn’t see it that way.
Spokesperson Bruce Poulin says he worked in recruiting a few years ago, and there’s nothing aggressive about the Canadian Forces’ approach to youth.
“We usually normally participate in job fairs so you had a booth like at any other career or opportunity at trade school to further your education through University and the students would come by and you make an informed decision, by all means,” he said.
On concerns about advertising making the military “seem glamorous and exciting,” Poulin says recruiters have to be “current and competitive” in the “marketplace.”
Canadian Armed forces weigh in
The Canadian Armed Forces says any visits to secondary, or post-secondary, institutions are only coordinated where their “presence is welcomed,” according to spokesperson Adam Thomson.
“For us, this is our opportunity to provide information on subsidized education programs that we currently offer to attend our military colleges, or in certain circumstances, other civilian universities… Our goal is to provide information on employment and education opportunities so that students can make informed decisions.”
Thomson also says that the Canadian Armed Forces respects the right for organizations to voice their views, but that certain aspects of anti-military recruiting are” simply not accurate.”
“We are looking for talented, motivated and qualified applicants to the Canadian Armed Forces and present information on the many full-time and part-time occupations we offer. Our approach is to provide information on job and career opportunities, have our Recruiters speak to their personal experiences as serving members and encourage all those we interact with to consider all of the factors inherent with putting on a military uniform,” he said.