NEWS

Confucius Institute-TDSB partnership controversy continues

10/01/2014 08:03 EDT | Updated 12/01/2014 05:59 EST
Protesters have showed up to a Toronto District School Board committee meeting on Wednesday night, where trustees are due to discuss a controversial partnership with the Confucius Institute.

The school board previously delayed a partnership with the Confucius Institute, so that it could more closely examined.

The partnership would see after-school programs on Chinese culture offered that would be taught by Ontario-certified teachers and following the province’s curriculum.

But some parents are concerned communist China could have a say.

TDSB trustee Sheila Cary-Meagher told CBC News that she can't understand what all the fuss is about.

"I would be shocked out of my mind if the Chinese government can reach across the ocean and touch Canadian citizens here, who are teaching Canadian children Canadian curriculum," she said in a recent interview.

Falun Gong members who are oppressed in China have lobbied Cary-Meagher to vote against the TDSB's partnership agreement. Some in the Tibetan community also oppose it.

At the meeting on Wednesday night, the planning and priorities committee was to hear from 10 deputants — half of whom oppose the partnership and half of whom support it.

Ahead of the meeting, trustee Shelley Laskin said it was just too controversial to approve.

"It's a distraction and I think we should just move on," she said.

But Shaun Chen, the vice-chair of the board, said he wanted the board to hold off until a November staff report.

"We're not giving it the type of discussion that it requires because we are in the middle of a municipal campaign," he said.

A final vote will be held when the entire board meets at the end of next month.

MORE:cbcNews