WINNIPEG singer Chantal Kreviazuk is flabbergasted that her compassion for children in war zones has prompted an investigation of a provincial Grade 12 English exam amid charges of anti-Israel hatred.

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Chantal Kreviazuk: ‘I do not take political sides’

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Chantal Kreviazuk: ‘I do not take political sides’

WINNIPEG singer Chantal Kreviazuk is flabbergasted that her compassion for children in war zones has prompted an investigation of a provincial Grade 12 English exam amid charges of anti-Israel hatred.

B'nai Brith Canada reacted angrily to one question on the exam. The Jewish organization says that parts of an essay written by Kreviazuk could promote anti-Israel hatred among some students who wrote the test.

"I have worked tirelessly to help children who are innocent victims of conflict," Kreviazuk said in an emailed statement.

"I do not take political sides and it would be very upsetting to me if my contribution to the book series Dropped Threads, and its subsequent presence in Manitoba's high school curriculum, was misconstrued as being anti-Israel sentiment.

"Absolutely nowhere did I make a political statement in my piece, nor did I give mention to which side the bullets came from that harmed the child mentioned in my article...

"My position has always been one only of compassion for children living in war zones," Kreviazuk wrote.

Education Minister Nancy Allan has ordered an investigation into last week's Grade 12 provincial language arts exam, worth 30 per cent of students' final mark.

Allan said earlier this week that exam questions prepared by groups of educators must avoid bias and be culturally sensitive. She told bureaucrats "to make sure this doesn't happen again."

The exam that included Kreviazuk's article asked students: "Explain whether or not you think people in the entertainment industry have a responsibility for making the world a better place?"

Kreviazuk's article included references to children killed or injured in several armed conflicts, including in the Gaza Strip.

Sunrise School Division teacher Scott Faris stepped forward Thursday to say he marked 70 provincial language arts exams.

"Not one mentioned Israel. In fact, the Middle East was never broached," Faris said in an email. "There was lots of strong opinion about not just celebrities, but all of us, working together to make the world a better place.

"This stance only serves to promote divisiveness, which in my view was the opposite of Ms. Kreviazuk's article," said Faris.

nick.martin@freepress.mb.ca