No Space For Hate

April 24, 2024

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society is dedicated to active allyship and the safety and well-being of all students and teachers. This commitment is particularly profound for Indigenous, racialized and marginalized individuals and groups. On April 22, 2024, Mountain View School Division Trustee Paul Coffey made a public presentation to the Board, the contents of which demand a response.

Regarding the presentation by MVSD School Trustee, Paul Coffey, April 22, 2024

The Manitoba Teachers’ Society (MTS) and the Mountain View Teachers’ Association (MVTA) steadfastly and unequivocally reject the opinions expressed in Trustee Coffey’s presentation “Racism Anti Racism, Nice Until It Isn’t”I caution that the content of the presentation is deeply upsetting and may be retraumatizing for some. Viewers should prepare themselves prior to watching.

To hear such vitriolic, uninformed and harmful disinformation shared as fact by an individual ostensibly dedicated to the education, development and well-being of students is nothing short of appalling.

The right to free speech is clear and MTS and all its Local Associations are dedicated to its defense. That said, any attempt to warp or redefine histories and systems built over centuries to intentionally suppress and utterly eradicate vulnerable individuals or groups is something we must, all of us, come together to oppose.

To suggest, for example, that Treaties were “nice”. That Residential Schools were “nice”. That white privilege does not exist or that the Truth and Reconciliation Commission was a waste of funds is not only patently false, but an indescribable insult to those who suffered, and continue to suffer generations later, as a direct result of those realities.

Remember, though, that what happened in Mountain View this week is nothing new. We have witnessed a spike in hateful rhetoric and emboldened attempts to take control of the books students read, the educational curriculum, and hiring practices for physical education and music teachers. We must see these tactics for what they are, and we must not be silent.

Individuals with views such as those expressed by Trustee Coffey have no place on our school boards, or anywhere else. A school board trustee by-election in Mountain View is imminent, and the result of that process is of the greatest importance.

A school board is no place for hate. It is no place for ignorance. And it is certainly no place for the distortion of history long buried and intentionally denied, gaslighting already traumatized Indigenous, racialized and marginalized individuals everywhere.

Schools must be safe and welcoming places. Places where students belong, feel seen, valued and protected. To eradicate or rewrite history to suit the privileged majority is to abandon our collective responsibility to build a society dedicated to equity, inclusion and the protection of our most vulnerable citizens. We must stand up and own that responsibility, each one of us.

Once you have viewed the presentation, if you wish to express your concerns on this matter, we invite you to send an email to your Local association president. We will collect your responses from across the province and ensure that they are shared safely and appropriately with Nello Altomare, Minister of Education and Early Childhood Learning in a safe and appropriate manner.

Thank you for your dedication and commitment to education and the well-being of your students and communities.





Nathan Martindale
President, MTS