Toronto School Board Approves Genocide Course

TORONTO (Toronto Star)–Toronto District School Board made only minor changes to a new Grade 11 genocide course at a special meeting last night, sending dozens of Turkish protestors home unhappy.

More than 40 Ukrainian-Canadians and 60 Turkish-Canadians picketed before the meeting, then packed the board’s gallery seats.

The Ukrainian Canadian Congress wanted the 1932-1933 forced famine in Soviet Ukraine used as the course’s fourth case study with the Nazi Holocaust, 1994 Rwanda genocide and 1915 mass murder of Ottoman Empire Armenia’s.

The Federation of Canadian Turkish Associations and Council of Turkish Canadians sought the removal from the curriculum of the Ottoman Turkish Genocide Against the Armenia’s, which the government of Turkey denies.

The International Association of Genocide Scholars, like the government of Canada, does deem them genocide. The Ottoman case was not mentioned at the meeting, and no trustee proposed adding the Ukrainian famine as a core case.

The board, however, passed two amendmen’s. The first allows teachers to spend significant time on genocides other than the three core case studies as they "see fit." The second notes the curriculum’s exclusion of specific genocides does not imply the board believes those events are of "lesser significance."

Trustee Mari Rutka said she planned to propose at a regular board meeting that material on the Ukrainian famine be added to the curricula of other courses in 2009-10 and proposed a school system-wide famine remembrance day.

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