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MRU head says profs have right to free speech but will look at student concerns

So far, more than 1,600 people have signed the petition to fire Prof. Frances Widdowson

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Mount Royal University has responded to a petition calling for the firing of a “racist” professor, saying it backs the right of free speech within the institution.

But they also say employees of the southwest Calgary institution have the responsibility to cultivate a “equitable, diverse and inclusive environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence.”

The petition was launched Tuesday after the Western Standard published a story about Prof. Frances Widdowson and her battle against what she calls the “woke” culture on campus.

So far, more than 1,600 people have signed the petition started by Kenna Fraser.

“Frances Widdowson is a racist professor who works at Mount Royal University. This is a call to demand that the university condemns Widdowson’s hateful actions against the BIPOC community and that she is terminated for her racist remarks,” states the petition.

“I’m not comfortable having a professor who believes residential schools should be considered an “opportunity for Indigenous children to get an education that normally they wouldn’t have received,” said petition signer Sara Buzreba.

“She is completely disrespectful to Indigenous history, BIPOC, and all minorities fighting for systemic change. Her words are disgraceful to this university and MRU’s reputation.”

Tim Rahilly, President and Vice-Chancellor of MRU, issued a statement Thursday afternoon.

“When views are expressed by a member of the MRU community, it does not mean the institution shares these views. Within the bounds of Canadian law, people have the basic right to freely express their ideas,” said Rahilly’s statement.

“Equally valid are obligations that all employees have to cultivate an equitable, diverse and inclusive environment free from discrimination, harassment and violence. 

“Giving credence to both is challenging, but not impossible. We are reviewing the concerns in light of our strong commitment to academic freedom and freedom of expression and our established expectations of the behaviour of all members of the MRU community.”

The controversy comes just as MRU professors on Tuesday and Wednesday joined their colleagues across the country in a “Scholar Strike” – walking out of classes in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Prof. Frances Widdowson said in an interview with the Western Standard the BLM movement has “destroyed MRU” and she “doesn’t recognize the institution anymore.”

“You’re supposed to be teaching. That’s your job. You can go on strike to protest police brutality but what does it have to do with you?”

“A ‘woke’ faculty is now in charge. This isn’t going to be good.”

Up next for Widdowson is research into Canada’s residential school history.

“What people don’t realize is that these Indigenous children were able to get an education that normally they wouldn’t have received,” she said adding the term “genocide” to describe residential schools is incorrect.

 

One campus student group blasted professors for walking about calling them “bandwagoneers.”

“This is nothing but empty virtue signalling,” said Wyatt Claypool, president of the Mount Royal University Campus Conservatives Club.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
TWITTER: Twitter.com/nobby7694

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard and the Vice-President: News Editor of Western Standard New Media Corp. He has served as the City Editor of the Calgary Sun and has covered Alberta news for nearly 40 years. dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com

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BREAKING: CBC loses lawsuit against CPC for using clips in ads

The lawsuit alleged CBC clips used in CPC ads were “taken out of context and are edited and relied on to make partisan points for the benefit” of the party.

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The CBC has lost its lawsuit against the Conservative Party of Canada over its use of CBC material in ads during the 2019 federal election.

In October 2019, the CBC served notice it wanted the Conservative Party of Canada and its executive director, Dustin Van Vugt, to acknowledge the party “engaged in the unauthorized use of copyright-protected material.”

The lawsuit alleged CBC clips used in CPC ads were “taken out of context and are edited and relied on to make partisan points for the benefit” of the party.

The clips were taken from The National and from the “Power Panel” segment of Power and Politics.

“The CBC has not established that it has suffered some adverse impacts from the Respondents’ use of its Works in the ‘attack ads’, nor should such adverse impacts be assumed,” said the ruling by Federal Court Justice Michael L. Phelan.

“The CBC expresses concern that its material is being used in a non-partisan way which affects its journalistic integrity and damages its reputation for neutrality.

“There is no objective evidence of the likelihood of any reputational damage. After all the years of political coverage in multiple democracies, there was no evidence presented that a broadcaster’s segment disclosed in a partisan setting reflected adversely on the broadcaster.

“The role of the CBC itself has been a political topic. There may be situations in the future where the manner of use and distribution of CBC material may adversely affect the CBC – however, that is not the case here.

“Given the Court’s findings that the Respondents’ use of CBC copyrighted material was for an allowable purpose and was “fair dealing”, this matter must be dismissed with costs at the usual scale.”

The ruling delighted Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre.

“CBC was supposed to cover the Conservative Party fairly during the election. Instead, CBC was launching a failed lawsuit against the party. Today, CBC lost that lawsuit. They should apologize for launching it & reveal the legal bills they charged taxpayers,” he tweeted after the ruling.

“CBC sued to stop Conservatives from using footage showing Trudeau in a bad light. The state broadcaster was protecting Trudeau, not copyright. Remember that next time you see another glowing CBC story about the Prime Minister.”

You can read the courts full judgement here.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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NDP slam UCP for keeping Legislature closed

Speaker Nathan Cooper said the ongoing closure was because of “ongoing health concerns arising from the pandemic.”

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Alberta’s NDP is blasting the UCP government of Premier Jason Kenney for extending a shutdown of the legislature because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“While millions of Albertans continue to go into work, Jason Kenney and his UCP MLAs are refusing to show up,” said NDP House Leader Christina Gray in a statement.

“We’re in the midst of a crisis and we have critical work to do.”

Debate in the house was set to resume Wednesday after an earlier shutdown, but the UCP pushed back the date until May 25.

Speaker Nathan Cooper said the continuing closure was because of “ongoing health concerns arising from the pandemic,” Cooper said in a memo.

“The opportunity for Members to vote virtually may be possible upon the resumption of the Spring Sitting the week of May 25th. To facilitate this, I will be hosting a number of training sessions next week. Further details will be provided to you on Friday.”

Earlier during the spring sitting, the province amended the standing orders to allow the option to adjourn the Assembly in response to public safety concerns.

The shutdown is in contradiction to what Kenney said in April.

“Millions of Albertans, thank God, still have jobs, show up every day and they expect us, their elected representatives, to do the same thing,” he said in the Legislature.

Kenney in April

The UCP Cabinet will continue to meet virtually and Legislative committees will also continue their work with MLAs participating remotely. 

If an emergency arises, MLAs can be called back.

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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BC RCMP capture kids playing on highway

The baaaaad drama began about 6 p.m. on May 11, when Surrey RCMP were called to a report of four goats on the loose in the 15600 block of Hwy. 10.

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BC RCMP officers weren’t kidding around when they were called to some immature antics on a local highway.

RCMP officer takes goat into custody. Courtesy RCMP

The baaaaad drama began about 6 p.m. May 11, when Surrey RCMP was called to a report of four goats on the loose in the 15600 block of Hwy. 10.

“Members quickly worked together to secure the goats, who were taken into police custody unharmed,” said Cpl. Vanessa Munn.

“All goats have been reunited with their owner who is thankful that police located the goats and not a kid-napper.”

Goat in custody. Courtesy RCMP

Dave Naylor is the News Editor of the Western Standard
dnaylor@westernstandardonline.com
Twitter.com/nobby7694

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