Peace activists criticize plan to give credits to Regina students for military training
Published Thursday, October 16, 2014 11:22PM EDT
Last Updated Thursday, October 16, 2014 11:23PM EDT
Saskatchewan high school students will soon get credits for training with army reserves, and that’s not sitting well with peace groups.
The Canadian Armed Forces Primary Reserve Co-op Program announced last month gives Regina students the opportunity to receive two high school credits if they complete basic military training.
The program is a joint agreement between the government of Saskatchewan, the Canadian military and Regina school boards, and offers recognition as a member of a Canadian Army Reserve unit.
The program, which begins in February 2015, is being offered to students who are at least 16 years old with a focus on building character.
Capt. Peter Sliwowski -- a member of the Canadian Armed Forces -- believes the co-op program will teach students leadership and perseverance over mental and physical challenges.
“To have an opportunity to protect Canadians’ homes from natural disasters is an amazing feeling at that is a huge roll of reservists,” he told CTV Regina.
But the program doesn’t come without some criticism. Peace activists have mobilized with a petition to stop the program. Florence Stratton -- a member of the Regina Peace Council -- is concerned that offering this program to students promotes violence.
“You can learn respect and discipline in many, many ways. You don’t have to join up with the army or the army reserves in order to learn those skills which may be important skills in themselves. But my bottom line is war is a disaster and we should do everything we can to discourage it,” she told CTV Regina.
The petition has only been circulating since Wednesday but Stratton says she has received support and hopes the dialogue continues.
Students will also be paid as reservists --- something that Ed Lehman, another member of the Regina Peace Council, believes is most troubling. "It almost seems like a bribe," Lehman said in a news release.
Daniel Caswell joined the reserves when he was 17 and believes his recruitment was a good stepping stone towards a successful career.
“I know it’s really helped me in my jobs -- people always commented that I had a good work ethic and I attribute that to being in the armed reserves,” he told CTV Regina.