NDP MLA argues Extinction Rebellion activists should teach in classrooms

Two Alberta MLAs are arguing about how climate change should be addressed and if groups like Extinction Rebellion should be allowed in the classroom.

Two Canadian politicians are arguing on Twitter about how climate change should be addressed in the classroom.

United Conservative Party MLA and Minister of Education Adriana LaGrange argued “there is no room” for radical activists in the classroom. Lagrange gave Extinction Rebellion as an example of the type of activists she believes have no place in schools.

NDP MLA and Women’s Issues Critic Janis Irwin responded to LaGrange’s comments saying that there is “absolutely” room for groups like the Extinction Rebellion.

Extinction Rebellion identifies itself as a “nonviolent civil disobedience activist movement.” It was founded in 2018 by Roger Hallam and Gail Bradbook.

The group most notably held a sizeable demonstration in London in 2019 where over 1,100 arrests were made in 11 days. BBC News reported that the protest cost police about $12.9 million.

In an article posted in Medicine Hat News, LaGrange wrote, “climate change must be taught in a way that prepares our students to address the issue rationally, not in a way that purposely seeks to cause fear and anxiety. There is no room in our classrooms for radical activists, like Extinction Rebellion, whose demands include shutting-down Alberta’s oil and gas sector by 2025.”

Irwin argued against LaGrange’s statement on Twitter saying, “When I taught social studies in very conservative parts of rural Alberta, I ensured kids were exposed to multiple perspectives. I didn’t force my beliefs on them. They didn’t leave my classroom as radical activists, but they left with a broader understanding of issues.”

A separate commenter replied to Irwin writing, “You have to be kidding here. No room for extremism in our kids classrooms. That’s why we voted the NDP out. They can be educated ‘about them’ but not ‘by’ them. Glad you are on the outside looking in.”

The Post Millennial reported earlier this week that the City of Edmonton had children take lessons from an Extinction Rebellion activist.