Last year my oldest daughter informed me that she was shown the Al Gore propaganda film 'An Inconvenient Truth' while at school. Twice, actually - once each in English and French. Naturally, I was somewhat dismayed at the fact that a film that bills itself as a 'factual documentary' yet contains many claims that have since been discredited would be shown to elementary children, especially without the attempt to show a balanced view of the issue.
An email questioning this practice to the then-principal resulted in an explanation that she was not fully aware that the video had been shown, as well as disputing my labeling of the film as 'propaganda'.
Since then, both of my kids have told stories of teachers spouting their political views to the class. With elections happening on both sides if the border, politics is in the air.
It's open season for our kid's instructors to spout off, in praise of the righteous leftwing Liberal and New Democrat parties and particularly negative against Stephen Harper's Conservatives. Even when the subject is the United States, they show their ignorance. Bush has been blamed for everything from the 9/11 attacks to the current economic troubles (while not completely without responsibility, Bush inherited a problem that stems from that Clinton-era misstep of attempting to impose economic Affirmative Action on the banks.)
Interestingly, these are the teachers who teach science, music, etc. If it was a Social Studies or even English language, okay, but what the hell does the science teacher's opinion of Stephen Harper have to do with igneous rock formations?
Now the latest: My daughter informed me this week that she was subjected to Michael Moore's 'Sicko'. A play on words here would be too obvious, so let's just say I wasn't impressed whatsoever. The film, which is intended to show how horrible the American health care system is compared to other nations around the world, works like all other Michael Moore films: if you are completely uneducated about the subject, you may fall for it. Otherwise, you will see it as just another anti-American charade, a so-called 'expose' by a self-serving megalomaniac.
Any Canadian watching knows this immediately - the suggestion that the system up here has any advantage over the American counterpart is ludicrous. Wait times for surgeries have been an issue forever, quality has suffered due to the exodus of doctors to the States. The issue of how to solve Canada's failing universal health care system has become a generational issue, passed down from election to election. Billions spent, and we are now to the point where we are looking to an mix of private/for profit as a solution. This of course brings out the rants against 'American-style' health care, all the while the problem grows worse.
The real purpose of the film - or any of Michael Moore's flicks - becomes apparent whenever he is pressed on the accuracy of the information that floods his work. You've never seen a fat man move so quickly, backpedalling from the 'documentary' label when questioned.
Back to school. While I certainly won't suggest that such films be banned (I do support free speech), I would ask that perhaps more of an attempt be made to achieve balance and fairness. If movies made by someone with a specific political agenda (mixed with a desire to pad his fat...wallet) are considered acceptable to show elementary aged children, surely a film that is arguably more important (and factual), such as Geert Wilder's Fitna, should be required viewing, right?