Saturday, February 12, 2011

Why Canadians Should Pay Attention to the Story of the University Professors

Susan Delacourt and Bruce Campion-Smith tell the story of two university profs who believe they are being targeted by the Harper government because they are often critical of their policies.
Two University of Ottawa professors, vocal critics of the federal Conservative government, say they have become targets of a new political intimidation tactic, aimed at using their private, personal information against them.

Professors Errol Mendes and Amir Attaran, frequently castigated as Liberal sympathizers by the Conservatives, were notified in recent weeks of two unusually massive freedom-of-information requests at the University of Ottawa, demanding details of the professors’ employment, expenses and teaching records.
Their stories are believable because I've heard them before. And Canadians should pay very close attention to this. I put together some information, working with an American free-lance journalist, and thought of pitching it to W-5. Our media has really missed the boat on this, so hopefully they will continue their investigation.

Without appearing to be an alarmist, one of the first actions of the Nazi government was to purge the universities of those who opposed their agenda.

Some Background

There has been a movement in universities across the United States that has found it's way to Canada, with the efforts of three organizations:

1. The Canadian Constitution Foundation, started by Harper MP John Weston and once run by a longtime Reform/Alliance insider and Stockwell Day supporter, John Carpay. (I received an email from CCF saying that Carpay had resigned). It is a legal group who take on constitutional challenges, especially against our public healthcare, Native land claims, and the right to attack Muslims and gays.

Their new executive director is Chris Schafer, formerly of the Fraser Institute. Karen Selick also on the exec was with Jason Kenney's Canadian Taxpayer Association, and she has worked closely with Garry Breitkreuz to scrap the gun registry. At a rally in response to former justice minister Alan Rock's statement "I came to Ottawa with the firm belief that the only people in this country who should have guns are police officers and soldiers." Selick said: "Sorry, Mr. Rock but if ever there were a good start towards a police state, that has to be it. We are being asked to give up our means of defence in return for a promise of protection from the very people most likely to become our oppressors."

This group is also involved with the Tea Party's Americans for Prosperity, and was behind attack ads against Obama's healthcare reform.

2. Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute. Budding journalist Jeff Horwitz went undercover, attending one of their seminars and wrote an article My Right-wing Degree: How I learned to convert liberal campuses into conservative havens at Morton Blackwell's Leadership Institute, Alma Mater of Karl Rove, Ralph Reed, Jeff Gannon and two Miss Americas. (1) Rob Anders is also a graduate of this school, and according to Marci McDonald in her book The Armageddon factor (2), about 700 other Canadians, including several of Harper's MPs, have passed through their halls.

Blackwell is also with the Council for National Policy and it was he who invited Stephen Harper to speak at one of their conventions. They needed to know whether or not Canada was ripe for the picking. Harper did not let them down. And in the run-up to the 2006 election, members of this Religious Right group put a lot of money into Harper's anti-gay campaign.

3. The Manning Centre for Building Democracy, started by Reform Party founder Preston Manning on a "secret" 10 million dollar donation from a corporate sponsor. It is fashioned after Morton Blackwell's School, employing the same tactics to shift education to the right.

When it Becomes Alarming

American David Horowitz wrote a book The 101 Most Dangerous Academics in America which has served as a "list" of university professors who must be purged from Academia. His counterpart in Canada, The Society of Academic Freedom, loves the book and promotes it in their newsletter (scroll to page 13).

I posted about these groups and you can read how they all tie in with the Harper government here. The goal of these organizations, using Horowitz's book as a guideline, is to purge universities of critical thinkers. Caroline Higgins made the list for promoting peace.

And a few others:

Foul Play at Bard? [on Joel Kovel, incl. Middle East Studies Association] Controversy Ensues After College Terminates Kovel (student paper of the CUNY Graduate Center), by John Boy, The Graduate Center Advocate, May 2009

Norman Finkelstein Denied Tenure at DePaul, Solomonia, Friday, June 8, 2007

The McCarthyism That Horowitz Built: The Cases of Margo Ramlal Nankoe, William Robinson, Nagesh Rao, and Loretta Capeheart, By Dana Cloud, April 29, 2009

And when they target someone they are relentless. As retired university professor Michael Yates said of this horrible activity: "At least I did not have to face the nasty right-wing students who spy on their professors and do the bidding of the professional witch hunters who spew hatred on radio talk shows, and television programs."

I've been investigating this for months and some of the stories will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. Amir Attaran and Errol Mendes have good reason to be concerned, as should every person in Canada.

They are already trying to privatize public education, so they can set the curriculum. (Evolution is a hoax). If someone in the media doesn't expose this now, it could be too late, as academics in the U.S. are already discovering.

Email the media and demand that they take this seriously, and lend your full support to these two gentlemen who have become the targets of a witch hunt. Once we get our Fox News North, that Harper has mandated will be allowed to lie, this could become very dangerous for everyone.

Wake up people. Is this really your Canada?


  1. University of Windsor political scientist MacIvor is pulling her punches. Asked about Steve Harper's style, she describes “an unusually unforthcoming government.” Previously, she's criticized the PM's “quite remarkable” degree of control and secrecy, with the same blunt, take-no-prisoners approach she adopts for politicians of all stripes. One imagines her as the kid about whom parents complain with barely disguised pride, “Such a mouth on that girl!”

    Instead, this time, MacIvor says she's “become self-censoring on the subject of the Conservatives. Life is too short for so much stress.”

    She expects to take lumps for her political opinions. What's changed with this government is that she says she's portrayed as “an enemy of the party” and “fair game” for vicious, personal attacks, which fill her inbox.

    “I should be able to speak my mind on political issues, but I've found members of the Conservative party seem to be more sensitive to criticism than other parties,” she says. “They make it very personal.”

  2. Comments one Ottawa veteran: “I've been a consultant for (more than 20 years) and I've never seen a climate of fear like there is now. People are frightened out of their wits . . . To tell you the truth, it's goddamned scary.”

    “It's approaching a state in which people are paralyzed by fear,” says political scientist Henry Jacek. “I'm talking about civil servants, MPs, cabinet ministers — they all have to be careful. They're all expected to read from the same script.”

    Jacek, who teaches at McMaster University and runs the Ontario Legislature Internship Programme at Queen's Park, says politicians confide in him. “MPs and cabinet ministers resent having to read from that script. I've had members of Parliament tell me they've come to hate public meetings, even in their own ridings, because they can't be spontaneous. They are resentful.”

  3. On Wednesday, January 19, 2011, over two hundred students, workers, faculty, and community members packed a room to form a General Assembly that challenges the legitimacy of the University of Toronto’s administration and Governing Council. They shared accounts of their attempts to raise serious concerns with the University, only to be met with closed doors.

    Key areas of concern range from university life to ***anti-corporatization*** to academic planning.

  4. snip snip: Few of them will realize Munk’s contribution only amounts to about 20 per cent of the overall cost of establishing the new school. Indeed, since there will also be ongoing costs running the school — which taxpayers will cover — Munk’s share of the overall cost of the school will be well below 20 per cent.

    It would seem more accurate, then, to call it the Canadian Taxpayers School of Global Affairs, with Some Help from Peter Munk.

    Also, Munk, this total parasite on tax dollars, demanded a separate entrance to the new Centre, to be used only by the elite; the rabble will have to use the main entrance.

    snip snip: Let me also draw attention to another quirky paragraph, quietly tucked away in Schedule A, called the Space Plan. The new Munk School will be housed in a splendid building called the Heritage Mansion. This fine old pile faces Bloor Street, one of Toronto's main thoroughfares, with side entrances on Devonshire Place. Paragraph 3 of Schedule A reads as follows: "The main entrance of the Heritage Mansion will be a formal entrance reserved only for senior staff and visitors to the School and the [Canadian International Council]." Everyone else must come and go through the Devonshire Place doors.

    snip snip: the Munk donations will be paid over an extended time period, with much of the money to be paid years from now — and subject to the Munk family’s approval of the school.

    For that matter, the school’s director will be required to report annually to a board appointed by Munk “to discuss the programs, activities and initiatives of the School in greater detail.”

    This sure sounds like Munk will have influence over the school’s direction — and will indeed be able to withhold money if the school doesn’t please him.

  5. Stole this post: An interview with Professor Thakur of Waterloo University who was thrown out of his job allegedly because he wouldn't tolerate the interference of billionaire and Waterloo benefactor Jim Balsillie of Research in Motion. He has a lot of imp things to say in this Radio Canada interview about the growing interference/role of private corporations in public universities and how this needs to be understood and appreciated better and a new regulatory framework needs to be developed. He does not rule out a law suit