Statement from President Jeffery on Cancellation of AARC Session at Calgary Teachers' Convention

Release Date 2019 02 07

I have reviewed the concerns expressed about Andy Evans speaking at the Calgary City Teachers’ Convention and last night I contacted the convention organizers and we agreed to cancel the session.

I want to reiterate what we have said all along: Mr Evans committed a violent and heinous act and we do not condone his actions in any way. We also continue to express sincere condolences to the family and friends of Nicole Parisien.

To the family of Nicole: We are sorry for the additional hurt this story has caused.

I also want to express sincere regret for the impacts this story has had on survivors of sexual violence and on the family and loved ones of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls.

We became aware late last week that the session being offered by the Alberta Adolescent Recovery Centre included a speaker that had been convicted of murder. The Association has long supported mental health initiatives in the school and community and recognizes the devastating impact that addiction has on the lives of so many Albertans. The decision was made to continue with the session in hopes that by sharing the story, future tragedies could be prevented. That decision was wrong.
 
The message sent over the past few days does not align with the Association’s values. Alberta’s teachers are allies in supporting survivors and combating sexual violence. We are committed to reconciliation, learning from and supporting Indigenous peoples across this land. We want justice for missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls. I am sorry for this mistake. We are committed to reviewing practices so this does not happen again. We will do better.

In recognition of this commitment, we will be making a $5,000 donation to the Stardale Women's Group in honour of Nicole Parisien.

- Greg Jeffery, President