The Yukon Teachers’ Association threw its weight behind advocates for heavy protection of the Peel River Watershed this week.
“We believe this to be an education issue,” said association president Katherine Mackwood.
A motion introduced during the association’s last meeting in October declared solidarity with the majority of the Yukon public, who also support protection.
“Our membership finds this to be an important issue, therefore, it’s an education issue,” she said. “Anything that happens within our territory, anything that happens in our nation, is an educational issue.”
The association doesn’t usually publicize its motions.
“We’re not in the business of getting into the politics of the day,” said Mackwood. “But when we feel something is important enough for us to stand behind, we certainly feel, the representatives on the central council felt, that it was necessary for this to be brought forward.”
The teachers should stay out of it, said Yukon Chamber of Mines president Carl Schulze.
“It’s absolutely, completely improper,” said Schulze. “Children in the Yukon are going to get the idea that protection is good, mining bad.”
“Children are very malleable, they’re very easily influenced,” he said.
Asked if the motion had anything to do with the association’s current impasse over pay negotiations with the Yukon government, Mackwood became defensive.
“I don’t appreciate that comment, because we’re not talking anything about negotiations or anything else,” said Mackwood. “We were discussing the Peel Watershed and you have brought that into it and I don’t appreciate that question.”
“We’re not connecting those two whatsoever and it doesn’t have any place in this conversation,” said Mackwood.
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