Notwithstanding the inevitable rhetoric about defending “free speech” on campus, it’s worth remembering that’s not the reason for Advanced Education Minister Demetrios Nicolaides’ planned homework assignment for Alberta’s post-secondary institutions.
In a press release Friday allegedly about “strengthening free speech on campus,” Dr. Nicolaides claimed, incorrectly, “that it is abundantly clear that more needs to be done to ensure our institutions are adequately protecting free speech” and vowed therefore that “post-secondary institutions will have to report annually to government on their efforts to protect free speech on campus.”
You can’t do too much to protect free speech, I guess, although there’s precious little evidence that public Canadian universities and colleges are doing a particularly lousy job on that file, as Dr. Nicolaides’ press release implies. But either way, strangling post-secondary administrators in additional red tape isn’t likely to do much to help.
It is unlikely, however, that Dr. Nicolaides has any intention of protecting free speech on Alberta campuses. Rather, the goal of this new front in the neoliberal internationale’s ongoing War on Wokeness is to impose controls on campuses that suit the ideology of the UCP and the censorious prejudices of its extremist base.
The release, published in the midst of a controversy involving a planned lecture by an academic who denies established facts about Canada’s Indian Residential School system and interprets the goals of those dreadful institutions in a positive light, cites a study by a notorious right-wing think tank that purports to show significant numbers of university professors censor their true opinions on certain topics.
The release quotes Grande Prairie MLA Tracy Allard, Premier Danielle Smith’s soon-to-retire Parliamentary Secretary for civil liberties, whose job assignment was clearly to deceptively portray COVID-19 vaccine refuseniks as victims of an assault on civil rights.
It also quotes a couple of disgruntled right-wing professors who jointly authored a screed in the National Post about how mistreated conservatives are on campus nowadays.
Dr. Nicolaides (PhD, University of Cyprus, 2013) ended his release by praising the successful effort by the Kenney Government, in which he served in the same portfolio, to force all Alberta publicly supported post-secondary institutions to endorse the “Chicago Principles.”
There was one exception, the release noted, almost as an afterthought: Burman University in Lacombe, which is operated by the Seventh Day Adventist Church. It was given a pass by Dr. Nicolaides owing to its “religious values”* – which is a telling detail about the minister’s motivation.
As for the Chicago Statement on Free Expression, it is an ingenious manifesto that uses “free speech” as code for the right of the privileged and powerful to shout down everyone else.
The manifesto was adopted by the University of Chicago in 2014 under pressure from campus conservatives who wanted to push back against popular opposition to racist speakers on campus, university prohibitions of racist, sexist and homophobic attacks on students, and demands to change the names of buildings and remove statues celebrating historic figures known for their racism or cruelty.
To implement the policy, the university hired the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, an organization that journalist and Yale political science lecturer Jim Sleeper says “purports to protect ‘free speech’ on college campuses, but expends more energy blaming — and chilling — ‘politically correct’ activists and administrators.”
The language of the Chicago Statement, calling for “free, robust, and uninhibited debate and deliberation,” strives to be inspiring in the style of the United States Constitution. Like the U.S. Constitution, which was written to ensure human slavery would be an enduring institution, it is deceptive, intended to privilege certain ideas and groups and marginalize others.
The statement and its supporters make a straw man of safe spaces where marginalized student groups can gather free from harassment by people who dislike or disagree with them. But the goal is to create a safe space for only one set of ideas, the economic nostrums and social conservative rigidities of the increasingly radicalized North American right.
When students use their free speech rights to push back, naturally, they will be assailed as snowflakes and bullies – just as we saw happen last week in Lethbridge.
You can count on it as well that this “free speech” principle will also be extended by the UCP to allow anti-abortion radicals and anti-vaccine extremists to harass and threaten students on campus.
As for defending those who are attacked on campus for expressing thoughts unpopular in conservative circles – say, for example, defending the human rights of Palestinians or, God forbid, advocating the right to express one’s self in a drag show (especially at Burman University, presumably) no one should expect any help from the Chicago Principles or Dr. Nicolaides.
The same obviously applies to university administrators who dare to speak up freely in defiance of the orders of Dr. Nicolaides and the UCP, especially if they’re not around to defend themselves.
*This justification seems odd since, with the exception of the denomination’s insistence the Sabbath should be observed on Saturday and its preference for vegetarianism, Seventh Day Adventist doctrine is not all that different from that of most evangelical Protestant sects. It would be interesting to know just what “religious values” the exemption is intended to protect.
For a supposed conservative, Nicholaides does seem to be consistently heavy handed with his approach to dealing with post secondary institutions. Presumably the UCP is ok with all this as he was Minister under Kenney and Smith has kept him on, which seems particularly odd as she claimed to be a libertarian.
Surely a real libertarian would be against telling university staff where they must live. One might also expect she would say, let the Universities decide who they want as speakers or not without government involvement. I suspect Nicholaides doesn’t claim to be libertarian. He seems more totalitarian than libertarian.
So perhaps Nicholaides gets full marks for consistency in his approach here, even if it is not very good. Smith not so much.
This all seems to show how sad the state of left-wing activism must be at Alberta post-sec institutions (and society overall?) today.
Why are students organizing to shut down speakers they don’t want to speak? Wouldn’t it be far more effective to organize their own speaker to shatter the bunk, racist arguments of the likes of Frances Widdowson, to hold a debate or to use any number of far more positive and effective strategies?
Not only is “cancelling” the speaker less effective, I think it plays right into conservative, right-wing hands when you seem to “de-platform” someone you don’t agree with. This is why our post-sec minister is using this as a divisive, wedge issue. The “left” in this instance is doing the “right” a tremendous favour by maintaining (or even exacerbating) the differences between working people.
You know things are going to end badly for the NDP when it agrees with the shutting down of debate in the name of defending those most affected by the crimes of residential schools. It’s so vapid and does nothing to mobilize people on the side of justice…comes off as completely opportunistic.
This is not the way to either push back against (what should be) marginal, reactionary opinion, nor to organize everyday working people around principles of reconciliation.
What happened to our politics in Alberta? At least there used to be a healthier political culture before half the so-called “left” was worried about getting (re)elected…
“Why are students organizing to shut down speakers they don’t want to speak?”
Peddling misinformation, disinformation and hate anywhere, particularly at universities, is not acceptable.
“Why are students organizing to shut down speakers they don’t want to speak?”
Peddling misinformation, disinformation and hate anywhere, particularly at universities, is not acceptable
People ought to have their freedom of speech protected. If their views are repugnant and detestable, then they should be exposed.
It is extremely dangerous to all of our civil liberties to deny someone’s ability to express themselves (however horrible their views are) by dismissing them and labelling them as disinformation, misinformation, hate, etc. before they’ve been expressed.
It’s the opposite to what you’re saying; that is, the freer they are to express them, the more their falsehoods are exposed when exposed to the light. The task should be to expose them, not prevent them.
Maybe because it’s a waste of time to try to debate people who don’t acknowledge actual facts and reality, or have enough respect for the victims and people with actual ties to and experience of the topic to accept their truths and experiences in the subject that Widdowson claims to be an expert in.
It’s impossible to trash their arguments because they deny the reality that shows their arguments for the delusions that they are.
Not only that, people with these contrary to reality opinions are incredibly proud of their ignorance and use opposition to increase the fervor of their small group of fellow ignoramuses. People like Widdowson don’t act to increase knowledge and understanding, they act to minimize minorities, protect entrenched power structures (particularly white nationalism and colonialism), and to punish their enemies.
Now don’t get me wrong, because I like pigs. In fact I’d like to see them treated better. But for the purposes of this distraction by our Cypriot idiot minister of retrograde education? I wouldn’t wrestle with him, because I’d get dirty and he’d enjoy the occasion! Better to challenge him on his so called beliefs. Sooner the better!
Yeah there is zero room for debate on Canada’s genocidal legacy of residential schools. Maybe it’s that conservatives have become the snowflakes demanding safe spaces, if they can be run off by *checks notes* a bunch of twenty something college students. There has never been an academic imperative that all viewpoints must be given the same respect and platform, thats asinine and ridiculous. Bravo to the U of L for sticking to their guns, bravo for these kids sticking up for their home and their peers, Nico is going out on a rail with the rest of these thieving , lying, clowns. Whine about it all you want, we aren’t going back to the world we used to live in, that’s not how it works.
So if this were a Holocaust denier, you would suggest a debate in a synagogue about the pluses of Jewish genocide? Genocide is genocide, whether the perpetrators were WWII war criminals or white colonialists in Canada. In the case of the latter, the victims did not have white skin. Is that what makes the difference to you?
FYI, FW was not “swarmed”, as another poster claimed. She entered a space on a campus where she wasn’t invited. She went. She left. It was her choice. The students, many of them indigenous, arrived before her, as is their right. This is a campus with a large number of indigenous students. The event was peaceful. FW did not get to grandstand. She was not hauled away, as she seemed to want. She did not manage to take up all the oxygen in the room. She did get to speak in some classes, but not at the atrium that day.
Genocide is not “healthy”, at least not for the people on the receiving end of it. They were innocent children.
In my formative years, I got my education about freedom of speech from Noam Chomsky. Highly recommended:
“Freedom of Speech for Views You Don’t Like”
Right now “left wing” refers to two different things at the same time but this is never said out loud. Diffusion of wealth vs concentration of wealth, and diffusion of belonging with concentration of belonging. I think the political compass is better imagined as a cube with “belonging” as its Z axis. The most extreme concentration of belonging I can imagine would be a God-King, where everyone else has no rights and only exists to serve the ruler. The most extreme diffusion of belonging I can imagine would be if everyone had equal importance and belonging in the community, no matter what foolish, hurtful or terrible things they had done or intended to do.
Anyways, this is the “belonging left” at work, not the “economic left.” The “belonging left” is IMO getting a bit of a boost from Capitalism trying to rebrand leftism into something that doesn’t directly threaten their interests. If we’re arguing about whether trans people are people, we aren’t arguing about whether to redistribute wealth. …Which is not to say we couldn’t make both arguments, if we wanted to.
Basically, the UCP wants to have control over everything in Alberta, just like a dictatorship. They don’t want anyone to question them, no matter how much they disagree with what they are doing, and they want Albertans to tow the UCP party line. This is also a reason for the UCP wanting a provincial police force in Alberta. It’s setting a dangerous path, that is going backwards, is regressive, and oppressive.
I don’t see how the Chicago Statement makes a straw man of “safe spaces”, or even really addresses them at all, except perhaps very obliquely in the assertion that it is not “the proper role of the University to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.” But notice that this a reference, specifically, to the role of “the University”. No judgement is passed or implied on individuals who wish to group together and shield themselves from ideas and opinions to which they’d rather not be exposed.
I think that the Chicago Statement is pretty good, and that it could (and should) be invoked in defence of those who assert Palestinian rights or the artistic value of drag shows, and those who oppose UCP policy in any particular area. If Dr Nicolaides were to cry foul, as indeed he might, the appropriate move would be to point to the text of the Statement and accuse him of hypocrisy. I simply don’t understand what it is about the Statement that you perceive as “intended to privilege certain ideas and groups, and marginalize others”. To me the Statement seems scrupulously and admirably neutral. However, it could probably be approved upon to craft an even more robust defence of free expression, and that’s a challenge that Alberta’s universities might want to embrace.
This sounds like an initiative cooked up by a former premier carrying a grudge from his University of San Francisco days. Remember the USF saga? It didn’t end well.
So here we are. Why waste a grudge? Recycle it.
Is there any evidence of UCP activists swarming a speaker at a public event like we saw last week in Lethbridge? It seems most of the swarming these days is done by self-proclaimed woke activists determined to shout down any expression of opinion outside the acceptable top down posed groupthink.
Dr Frances Widdowson had already been fired from her tenured position at Mount Royal in Calgary for going against the grain and suggesting there may have been some benefits to the residential school systems after all. (Weren’t these school set up as part of the treaty settlements way back when?) Obviously Mount Royal had been pressured by its founders and the discussion of ideas and opinions, long a staple of universities, was now off the table.
I agree with you that free speech is important in universities. We should let people from all perspectives speak. How about if we let some folks from Antifa speak? Bring in some Marxists? Howsabout Anarchists? Muslims? Homeless people? Anticapitalists? Libertarian Socialists? Social Democrats? No? Gosh, that is puzzling.
Maybe when Conservatives talk about “free speech” what they really mean is “I should be able to suppress the free speech of those I disagree with while spreading my white supremacist christofascist ideology without any consequences.”
Neil, do you mean Marxists, like, say, a certain Frances Widdowson?
lol I’m trying to imagine a Marxist gaining tenure in a Canadian university and I can’t do it. Canada was founded by Liberals (the ideology not the party), and a defining feature of Liberalism is that it claims to have the same rules for everyone. In practice, however, all Liberal societies have unspoken exceptions to even their most cherished rules (such as free speech), and those exceptions are based on profitability to the owning class. If any of the groups I listed were platformed and convinced a bunch of people it would threaten the interests of the owning class, therefore, those groups do not get to enjoy “free speech.” By contrast, promoting racism, white supremacy and/or fascism does not threaten the interest of the owning class, therefore, they count as “people” and get to enjoy all the rights that “all people” get to enjoy. Because Liberalism assumes Capitalism it is incapable of envisioning a society with a different economic model, and uses state violence and taxpayer wealth to prop up Capitalistic ventures that would otherwise fail.
In other words, if you’re wondering why the RCMP has spent 50 million dollars helping a privately owned international corporation cut down trees valued at 20 million dollars, it’s not a bug, it’s a feature.
To choose an ideology is not the same as to be raised in it, and all Canadians born since (YMMV) 1980 or so were raised in Neoliberalism (basically that’s what you get if you decide Liberalism doesn’t let the rich get rich enough fast enough unethically enough). The Overton Window has shifted right as well. For instance, the NDP used to be the party of the “working class,” not the “middle class.” That’s a huge difference and a hugely revealing difference. IMO (I wasn’t born yet) the NDP of Tommy Douglas would have known to say, “Middle class people are working class people who have been tricked into kicking down at other working class people.”
To be clear, I’m not advocating for Marxism or really anything else, I’m just posting things I think are interesting, relevant and true. For anyone interested, or anyone who thinks of Marx as a villain, here’s a 9 minute reasonable synopsis of Marx that I learned a lot from:
My favourite quote: “Marx was like a brilliant doctor in the early days of medicine. He could recognize the disease, although he had no idea how to go about curing it.”
Haha, right after posting I thought “I really should have checked to see if there actually is a Marxist tenured professor in Canada.” smh Googled “is there a marxist tenured professor in canada,” went through the first page, I found a full Professor from a Canadian university whose blog is entitled Marxist Sociology Blog. He probably counts.
Found three Associate Professors (which I think is like mini-tenure-that-might-get-renewed, I don’t know how the ivory tower works I just know all the spoons are silver) with varying links to Marxism, one would definitely count, one would kinda count, and Fox News would say the third one totally counts and wants to eat your children and he would, too, only he’s too busy hating Jesus and America and plotting to steal your gas stoves!
Google says there are 15,444 full professors in Canada and 16,278 associate professors in Canada. I will concede my research methodology would not withstand peer review, but them’s some big numbers.
Then I got to wondering who Canada’s equivalent to Noam Chomsky would be, so I googled “most prominent left wing Canadian intellectual” and I wish I had a third arm because the double facepalm just isn’t cutting it! Top result is an American article about how some Canadian intellectuals think they are becoming a far-right dictatorship. Second result is.. Michael Ignatieff! roflmao smh omg wtf I can’t even… you have got to be kidding me! As discouraging as it is hilarious.
Neil: I reckon Leo Panitch was the last real Marxist professor in Canada. He died in December 2020 at 75 from COVID-19. Here is the obit I wrote. DJC
Neil, we’re on a bit of a tangent, but a couple of quick points.
1. Associate professors (like myself) do have tenure.
2. I’m in the sciences, not the humanities, but my impression is that the Marxist perspective is actually reasonably well represented on Canadian campuses. Take a look, for example, at this list of professors (many tenured) associated with a York University initiative called Marxist Studies in Global and Asian Perspectives:
I don’t know how many of the professors would call themselves Marxists per se, as opposed to scholars who just find Marxist thought to be interesting and worthwhile. Either way, however, Marxist ideas have a degree of traction within the Canadian academy. Some conservatives might wish they didn’t, but robust free expression policies along the lines of the Chicago Statement will help ensure that academics can continue speaking and writing about Marxist viewpoints without coming under political pressure to censor themselves.
Thanks Dave and Corwin, much appreciated!
My problem with communism, or Marxism, whichever term you prefer, isn’t the concept itself — ordinary working people owning the means of production, “from everyone according to their means, to everyone according to their needs”, and so on — it’s the execution.
Name me one communist or Marxist state in history that wasn’t a brutal dictatorship that used violence to repress dissent. Some were worse than others, of course — Tito’s Yugoslavia was nowhere near as bad as Pol Pot’s “Kampuchea”, for example — but none of us would prefer to live under any of those governments.
What we need is a truly socialist economic system within a free and open liberal democracy as a political system. (Of course, can liberal democracy even exist outside a capitalist economy? I’m not enough of a political scientist to have an informed opinion).
You make it sound like she is a wild-eyed maniac who had just wandered in off the street demanding a platform. After all she was a long standing professor who had tenure so presumably she had a record of producing scholarship that was within the mainstream boundaries but then suddenly started going against the grain and was tossed out onto the street.
I’m not trying to draw an equivalence between those groups and the UCP or Smith, I’m pointing out that when Conservatives talk about “free speech” they mean “The people I say are good get to talk, the people I say are bad do not get to talk.”
I don’t think I spoke as well as I would have liked. I guess I would say “why do Conservatives support free speech for some people, but not for all people?”
Sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. If free speech is good, more free speech is better.
The disingenuousness of Canada’s right wing knows no bounds.
She was fired for being an asshole to her colleagues and students, not for her half-assed opinions. I trust Duane Bratt, the program chair at the time who pointed this fact out, over a racist joke like Widdowson.
I seem to remember the deputy premier being chased around a hotel in grande prairie & Trudeau was swarmed what, last week ? Not to mention you know, when they shut down the border and planned to murder cops.
Turnabout is fair play. Maybe stop trying to force your regressive dictatorial views down folks throats and they’ll stop getting mad at you. Once again, grow up.
Sorry, deputy Prime Minister. But this line of argument is just as farcical even with my slip up. These people literally tried to overthrow our democratically elected federal government and now they’re whining about not being able to spew their bullshit racist, ahistorical nonsense wherever they want. Kick rocks losers.
I wonder when Jim Keegstra will get his own holiday in Alberta? Maybe they could name a college or a university after him or a Holocaust denial program.
Never not going to point out Stockwell Day was one of the first folks to visit Jim when he got out of prison. Fun fact huh!?
Has anyone seen Dr. Nic’s thesis? Just curious as to the areas of research at the U of Cyp.
Ford: There’s a link in this story. It is not, IMO, a particularly good piece of work for a number of reasons. If it is good enough for a PhD from the University of Cyprus, however, is not for me to say. Indeed, as someone is bound to point out, I have no doctorate. But then, who would examine me? (With apologies to George Lyman Kittredge.) DJC
Sounds like it may be time for all Alberta campuses to adopt Drag Queen Story Hour and test the UCP’s commitment to free speech.
Regan: Actually, this is a terrific idea. DJC
The UCP’s response to the U of A giving an honorary degree to David Suzuki comes to mind.
The U of A has also had their funding cut by 25% since the UCP came into power, the most of any Alberta post secondary institution from what I’ve read. Coincidence?
Like many other announcements of late it seems to me that this is directed at a certain segment of UCP supporters and Danielle Smith supporters.
But really, one would think that this Government would have more pressing challenges than this or the other dog whistle announcements of late.
This puts on display for all to see just how shallow this UCP team is. They appear to want to focus on the past….not the future.
Fighting the culture wars is all conservative politicians have to do. They don’t really want to govern (unless it’s to enrich the elite further, like privatization of healthcare), and their traditional policies have all been shown to be false, such as trickle down economics and rampant individualism (if the pandemic has shown us anything it’s that we are all in this together, for better or worse). All they can do to hold onto power is to create anger and fear in their supporters.
It’s not hard to see that these far right fascists are trying to usurp truth with ideology in the humanities at the post secondary level. Humanity will now be deemed to be fair, free and just for all, that no one has been denied opportunity unless you’re an “oppressed” fascist spewing misinformation and hate. This is a world of self-made men, the rags to riches story, where the poor and powerless are the cause of their own undoing and the rich and powerful hard working. It’s justice turned on its head.
My friends and I are all former long time conservative supporters and can’t believe how stupid these phoney conservatives , reformers are. They are certainly nothing like the conservatives under Lougheed and Getty. I thought it was hilarious how two more showed how stupid they really are. After a military personnel made it crystal clear that they had to wait until that Chinese ballon was safely over the ocean before they shot it down a Republican ,Ted Cruz , born in Calgary, bashed Biden for not shooting it down as soon as it entered U.S. airspace, and then our conservative hero Pierre Poilievre had to add his two cents in stating exactly the same thing. He sounded like a parrot copying Cruz . Two stupid phoney conservatives who didn’t care who might have been injured or killed by the 200 lbs of debris this balloon carried. Yesterday we had lunch with 28 of our senior friends and we were laughing about how stupid they are and as someone said “ You have to wonder what these idiots use for brains, you can’t question their intelligence, they don’t have any”. That pretty well sums it up, doesn’t it? Every day another one has to prove it how stupid they are. A lawyer friend said it best years ago “ I wonder what it’s like to be so stupid you have to let a drunk like Ralph Klein do your thinking for you because your just too stupid to do it yourself”.
For your, and all your readers, edification:
Harry G. Frankfurt
Princeton University Press
It may help to understand the situation we find ourselves in.
The bona-fides are self-evident. A must read for anyone!
I decided to post this in case my assumptions were right or even wrong! I think our peril is more now then ever. I also believe that articulate and intelligent people (unlike your’s truly) can learn from what is metastasizing from south of the “medicine line” (Tm DC?). Listen, it’s long, but not as long if we lose! https://youtu.be/mHJgD-TJZvY
So, I was thinking that it’s hard trying to arch your back, spit and snarl in heels and a suit– in person, compared to doing it on Twitter, but I was totally outshone by: the Tyee’s Dr Steve..
Laughter is the best medicine, at a time like this, if even for a few moments…..still chuckling….
What mischief is this, nipping at the heels of academe? Shouldn’t it be on the Ark with its chihuahua mate by now?—it’s about to float upon the rising tide; better hurry: God saw that the wokedness of man was great in the earth…And it repenteth the Lord. It’s a hard rain gonna fall.
There’s certainly been distracting tumult in the UCP during its maiden, once-virgin mandate, but anyone who thought its creator, JHKH, has been booted into the annals of history, forever to be forgotten has chimself forgotten that the 54 year-old K-Boy has been the Keeper of the Flame since the Catholic U of San Francisco’s St Ignatius Institute quelled his unsuccessful petition to have the Archbishop sanction Jesuit professors who declared for pro-choice activism on campus under the rubric of free speech. Kenney, then a student whom CNN described as an “Anti-abortion Activist,” warned that that kind of free-speech policy would set a dangerous precedent which pedophiles and the Church of Satan would cite equal opportunity in order to proselytize on campus, too. Taking the complaint to the next level, he failed to convince the Vatican that USF’s sin warranted its de-registration as a Catholic institution, and then philosophically gave up on both the effort and his degree, washed of any ickyness by preserving the sanctity of heterosexual marriage at an AIDS hospice, and thence bundled his smouldering ember off to the sheltering bosom of partisan politics , carefully nurturing The Flame through the Valley of the Shadow of Young Liberalism, mindful to be led not into temptation by the taxes unrendered unto Caesar nor shibbolethed to death by diverse phantoms of the right, then on to a glorious decade, the blinding torch lighting the shining path, yea, even through defeat and retreat to the Great Plains. No way is Jason The Keeper gonna let a little coup disgrace his Alberta premiership- 0.5 and blow out the sacred SoCon Flame, not after keeping it alive for the last 36 years —most of his lifetime—, not when a tried and true redoubt still exists in the halls of learning with which social conservatism has had such a special relationship, ever since Darwin invented evolution. Holy fidelity, Batman!
Now, having abandoned caucus and his seat, K-Boy silently sneaks unseen around Danielle Smith’s sacrificial procession, taps a favour from a loyalist in cabinet who hasn’t forgotten to whom he owes his own crowning political achievement, however short it has lasted, and now sets, in return, dry tinder among post-secondary institutions while there’s still time left to preserve The Keeper’s Flame before it’s political wick is snuffed by the approaching electoral wave. Ah, yes! It’s almost “Freedom 55”—Kenney doesn’t have to worry anymore that this controversial and unpopular move effectively signals a capitulation of the party he created. He’s outta there! And Danielle? Pft! Sooner she’s gone, the better (that’s one thing I can agree with, Jason)
The minister’s new policy is not a platform the UCP can profitably offer to voters but, rather, one which doesn’t need worry about psephology, one that quickly needs to be stashed in a place which both wounds apostate post-secondary institutions and, of course, keeps the flame of controversy burning hot even after the political lights go out.
The ironies are tricky, though: whereas K-Boy tried to condemn free speech as a student in a religious university, he now champions it in secular universities four decades later as a former politician—but, with the former intended to prevent pro-choice advocacy and the latter intended to promote pro-life advocacy, it’s really two sides of the same coin. Carrying The Flame during its holiday from public politics, former-professor Frances Widdowson‘s express hatred of potted “woke-ism” she wants to be free to lecture about at Alberta universities is about as ulteriorly-motivated as her name is gender-ambivalent. And wasn’t it the Church of Satan that ran those genocidal Indian Residential schools where, pederasty aside, the spam and air was good and free?
Finally, don’t be fooled into thinking this disingenuous freedom of speech thing is K-Boy’s parting shot: he already proved his USF one was Parthian. If he isn’t planning on a political comeback, why bother keeping The Flame going at all?
It never is about cutting red tape. It’s about making more red tape to prevent opposition. It always begins with restrictions on dissent, moves on to voter suppression, eventually it becomes restrictions on party activities, and there you have it.
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