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MRU prof vows to battle the ‘woke’ culture trying to take her down

Widdowson said the BLM movement has “destroyed MRU” and she “doesn’t recognize the institution anymore”, adding professors will “strike” either Tuesday or Wednesday to make a point about racial inequity.

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Frances Widdowson is surrounded on all sides.

The Mount Royal University professor is conducting a “crazy” battle against what she calls the new “woke” crowd. She’s being fought by the public, students and even fellow faculty members at the southwest Calgary university because she has voiced opinions they have deemed to be objectionable.

But when things seem to be at their most bleak, Widdowson remembers a quote from the great British war-time hero Winston Churchill.

“Each one hopes that if he feeds the crocodile enough, the crocodile will eat him last. All of them hope that the storm will pass before their turn comes to be devoured,” Churchill said.

“I have been fighting this for 12 years. We are at a time where anytime someone disagrees with something, people feel they should suffer consequences,” said Widdowson.

“I’m now thriving in a strange way. I have reverted into satire. I will fight these people.

“I can’t enter into rational discussion with these people so I will continue to mock (anonymous accounts) them.

“Fighting them is good, because you don’t feel defeated.”

Widdowson said a total of 41 fellow faculty members in various fields are against her. But she’s grateful the leaders of the school haven’t spoken to her at all about her positions.

She admits the fact she is tenured at the university makes it easier to lash out. It would be very difficult to fire her.

Widdowson said the Black Lives Matter movement has “destroyed MRU” and she “doesn’t recognize the institution anymore”, adding professors will “strike” either Tuesday or Wednesday and walk out of classes to make a point about racial inequity.

“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.”

For Widdowson, the latest battle was joined after the Wendy Mesley controversy erupted at CBC in June. The veteran broadcaster was pilloried and suspended after she used the N-word twice during a closed staff meeting to quote the title of a book a potential guest had written.

The baying mob of Twitter quickly gathered and took Mesley down, a situation Widdowson found utterly ridiculous.

“It also was revealed that, in September 2019, Mesley had committed the word crime of referring to the title of Pierre Vallières’ book White N….. of America,” said Widdowson in a lengthy interview with the Western Standard.

“In normal times it would have been realized that mentioning someone else’s use of a word is completely different from uttering it yourself, and that even the derogatory word “n…..” can be used non-denotatively without implication by the utterer.

“In the haste to signal virtue in condemning racism, the “woke” are eager to prove their moral purity by punishing completely appropriate actions like those of Wendy Mesley.”

“The most distressing aspect of this story was the grotesque apology that Mesley felt she needed to make.”

Widdowson also blasted Mesley’s colleagues who were quick to pounce on her when blood was in the water.

She also likes to use the term “race hustler.”

“This has been defined as a person who becomes a self-proclaimed spokesperson for a particular racial identity during a perceived incident of racial tension, so that the individual can exploit the situation to serve their own interests,” writes Widdowson, in a yet to be published paper for the September 2020 issue of the Society for Academic Freedom and Scholarship Newsletter.

“The race hustling surrounding Mesley continued at my university when I defended her.”

The issue exploded on June 18 when Widdowson tweeted: “You did nothing wrong @WendyMesleyCBC”.

“I elaborated with the following: “You were using the word in a QUOTE! Shame on CBC for making Mesley grovel’. I then asked “Are we now going to censor Wikipedia?!!!” and attached the relevant entry about “the word” from this source,” she said.

“In all of these posts, I intentionally avoided mentioning the word “n…..” because I was aware of the perfidy of race hustlers. This was until an anonymous twitter account that had lobbied to get me fired a month earlier “innocently” asked: “If the word is so benign, why do you refuse to say it?

“Although I almost never make a reply on twitter (especially to trolls), and I knew I was being set up, I thought that it was important to show the CBC that Mesley had done nothing wrong. I took a deep breath and showed my solidarity with Mesley by mentioning the word in the same way.”

She said her tweet barely caused a ripple, until it was retweeted by an Indigenous member of the faculty at MRU.

The tweet read: “Accordingtothisindigenouscolleague,“[s]tudentsareraisingcritical.awareness [sic] around certain faculty who hide behind academia to spread racist views! No one knows another person’s intent. Focus less on intent and more on outcome.”

What disturbed Widdowson even more was the fact the tweet was “liked” by six other members of the faculty.

“36 professors and other MRU staff and entities expressed their support for what appeared to be an academic mobbing. Over a number of days I was accused of being “anti-Black”, “mak[ing] neo-nazis and white supremacists happy”, “spewing hate”, “us[ing] violent racist slurs”, “outright harassment” and saying that BIPOC students were “less than human”,” she writes.

One colleague even suggested Widdowson had violated the university’s Code of Conduct with the content of her tweets. There were even suggestions offended students should be able to withdraw from her classes, she said.

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“Two members of the faculty association executive board also criticized my actions, and one suggested that I should be reported to my employer for using “derogatory language”.

She thinks fellow faculty are behind the anonymous student Twitter account.

“Students take their lead from the faculty. The faculty gets them all fired up.”

Widdowson then took it up to another level with a tweet that referred to herself as a “C-word.” Our use of quote marks, not hers. She used the full word.

“This action seemed to destabilize the “student-led initiative” of MRU Racial Advocacy, leading the faculty organized Mount Royal Anti-Racism Coalition to spring into action. On August 6, the coalition’s twitter account (@MRUAntiRacism) posted five of my controversial tweets that had been mined over the last year, tagging MRU’s President, the Students’ Association and a local Black Lives Matter group,” she wrote.

“This problem of pandering to race hustling (or to that of any other identity) is also apparent in universities. There is tremendous pressure to appease activists in the hopes that the “storm will pass”.

“Race hustling is a symptom of a wider disease, and it needs to be confronted head on to keep it from metastasizing and destroying the academic character of post-secondary institutions,’ she said.

Widdowson notes every generation of post-secondary educators faced challenges. In the 50’s, it was discussions around religion. In the 60’s, it was the era of McCarthyism.

“The left is being destroyed by ‘wokeism’. They have ten groups all fighting the same thing. There is no commonality on which to start discussions that could lead to change. They are just trying to tear each other apart,” she said.

Widdowson points out the case of Don Cherry, fired Nov. 11 from his job as a commentator on Hockey Night in Canada’s Coach’s Corner, for pointing out he didn’t see immigrants wearing poppies during a drive through downtown Toronto.

“It was politically correct totalitarianism. There was no debate. There were no discussions about what did Don Cherry mean with those comments. They just demanded he be fired,” she said.

“People who agreed (with what Cherry said) were fearful to voice their ideas.

“That’s what universities are supposed to be about, a place to talk about ideas. But now we have university administrations begging faculties to reign in the craziness.

“I’m keeping all my materials in case they come after me. I’m not giving an inch. I will fight them all the way.”

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.

Widdowson said she knows the baying mobs of Twitter will be back for that one, and she’s ready with a survival list:

  1. stay calm and be strategic;
  2. document everything;
  3. toughen up;
  4. don’t take things personally;
  5. focus on principles, not individuals;
  6. avoid demanding punishment;
  7. build up a supportive network of colleagues with diverse viewpoints;
  8. admit mistakes, but don’t apologize (unless wrongdoing was intentional);
  9. resist appeals for compromise and identify Trojan horses; and
  10. maintain a sense of humour.

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 Division 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

News

Vaccine passports now mandatory in Alberta

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

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The Alberta government’s new vaccine mandates for businesses, entities and events are in effect.

Each organization must follow one of two options: implement the Restriction Exemption Program (REP) requiring proof of vaccination or negative test result, plus mandatory masking, to continue operating as usual, or comply with all public health restrictions as outlined in Order 42-2021.

In place of a vaccine passport, a negative test result from a privately-paid rapid test within 72 hours of service will be adequate or a person will need to show a valid medical exemption.

The REP allows operators to avoid the majority of public health restrictions with the implementation of a proof of vaccination program, although vaccine requirements for staff are at the employer’s discretion. Face mask mandates are still required in all indoor spaces.

The program doesn’t apply to those under 12 years of age and businesses that need to be accessed by the public for daily living purposes, including all retail locations. As well, employees, contractors, repair or delivery workers, volunteers or inspectors will be permitted access to spaces without requiring a vaccine passport.

To enter spaces participating in the REP, adults need to provide valid photo identification that matches their paper or digital vaccine record showing name, vaccine type and date of administration. From now until October 25, proof of partial vaccination (one dose) will suffice, however after that date, proof of full vaccination (two doses) will be required. Those under 12 will only need to show vaccination paperwork.

Indoor entertainment, event and recreation facilities that don’t implement the REP will be limited to one-third capacity of their fire code occupancy and attendees must be in household cohorts or with up to two close contacts if they live alone.

Outdoor events and facilities have no capacity restrictions, but attendees must maintain a two-metre distancing between households.  

Restaurants that don’t follow the REP cannot offer indoor dining, and outdoor dining will be limited to six people per table from one household, and liquor sales will have to end by 10 p.m. with consumption cut off by 11 p.m.

Retail, shopping malls and food courts aren’t eligible for the REP, therefore will be reduced to one-third capacity of fire code occupancy and are required to stop all in-person dining, switching to take out only.

Indoor private social gatherings will be permitted for those that are vaccinated to a maximum of two households up to 10 (vaccine eligible) vaccinated people. There are no restrictions for children under 12. For those who are unvaccinated, indoor social gatherings are not permitted.

Private outdoor social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 200 people who are socially distanced.  

Churches will be limited to one-third of fire code capacity and masks and social distancing are still mandatory in places of worship.

Employees are mandated to work from home unless their physical presence is required for their duties.

Proof of vaccination will not be required to enter a polling place for Monday’s federal election although physical distancing, masking and other transmission reducing measures will be in place.

For more information on the Restriction Exemption Program, click here.   

Risdon is a reporter at the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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News

Hockey arena backs down on banning unvaccinated kids

Within hours of the Western Standard posting the exclusive story, Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy.

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Public pressure has brought minor hockey out of the penalty box in Cochrane.

Following an exclusive story by the Western Standard on Saturday, along with mounting pressure from the community, a Cochrane sports facility has revamped its vaccine passport policy.  

The Cochrane Minor Hockey Association (CMHA) and Hockey Alberta were not mandating a vaccine passport system, but Spray Lake Sawmills Family Sports Centre (SLSFSC) announced it would be requiring proof of vaccine status for anyone 12 and up.

Within hours of the story being posted, CMHS President Cory Oaten was contacted by the SLSFSC and advised of an update to their policy with this statement: “Youth between the ages of 12 (vaccine eligible) to 18 years of age are exempt from the REP vaccination requirement to enter the facility for the purpose of participating in a youth organized sport organization. Examples include (but not limited to) Cochrane Minor Hockey, Ringette, Cochrane Minor Soccer, Lacrosse, Cochrane Figure Skating Club, Comets, Junior Lifeguard Club, etc.”

Although youth may access the facility without being vaccinated, all adult spectators, coaches, volunteers and organizers of any youth activity “must show proof of vaccination, proof of a negative test, or medical exemption to gain entry to SLSFSC premises.”

“Although this helps our kids get on the ice in Cochrane, it’s still an issue at lots of other facilities, especially in larger facilities in Calgary and Airdrie,” Oaten said.

Oaten, who works in the insurance industry, points out the “huge liability issue” this poses to his and other sports organizations.

“Originally, Spray Lakes pushed us to collect this medical documentation from our members,” he said.

The CMHA board consists of 18 volunteer members.

“They can’t put those expectations on a board of volunteers. It’s a big legal issue for us,” Oaten said, adding he and his board refuse to take responsibility for requiring proof of vaccine or the collection of their members’ private medical information.

Oaten was informed the SLSFSC will now have its own security checkpoints set up in the facility and will take responsibility for checking the vaccine status of anyone 18-plus entering the building.

Oaten anticipates families will still pull their kids from hockey and other sports programs as those who remain unvaccinated will not be permitted in the facility to accompany their child.

Hockey Alberta stated on their Facebook page they are working with the Alberta government on how last Wednesday’s announcement will affect hockey for Alberta players. Oaten has asked his members to hold off on making a decision to pull their child from the program until Hockey Alberta comes forward with their updated season plan.

The Western Standard reached out to the SLSFSC for comment but did not hear back in time for publication.

Risdon is a reporter for the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Nearly $400 million in commemorative holiday events planned for fed employees only

The Department of Canadian Heritage promises “large-scale commemoration events” for a September 30 holiday for federally regulated employees only.

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It’ll cost hundreds of millions of dollars with federally regulated employees getting ready to party like it’s 2021, all on the public teat.

The Department of Canadian Heritage promises “large-scale commemoration events” for a September 30 holiday for federally regulated employees only.

Blacklock’s Reporter says the holiday will cost $388.9 million, by official estimate.

“The department will collaborate with national organizations for large-scale commemorative events on September 30,” staff wrote in a briefing note. It is the first federal observance of its kind.

The Senate on June 3 passed Bill C-5 An Act To Amend The Bills Of Exchange Act that designates September 30 as National Day for Truth and Reconciliation. The paid holiday applies only to federal employees including the RCMP and Canadian Armed Forces, and federally-regulated private sector workers at job sites like airports, banks, grain mills, marine shippers, radio stations and railways.

“This new annual statutory holiday on September 30 will ensure public commemoration of the tragic history and legacy of Residential Schools remains a vital component of the reconciliation process,” said the briefing note National Day For Truth And Reconciliation. Costs of planned events were estimated at $2.7 million.

Parliament passed the holiday bill without a dissenting vote though senators in final debate questioned its usefulness. “What could long-term, dedicated and stable funding mean for food security, for closing the infrastructure gap which is huge, for finally ending boiled water advisories, for dealing with acute housing shortfalls in Indigenous communities?” asked Senator Dennis Patterson (Nunavut).

“It is hard for me to hear about the hundreds of millions of dollars that will go to provide federal employees a paid day off when I think about how an ongoing commitment of what we have heard today would be $388.9 million per annum for this holiday,” said Patterson.

“It would be an insult to my family members, to my friends and to the memories of those survivors I have lost along the way if this day were to become yet another paid day at the cottage for federal workers,” said Patterson. “It needs to truly be a day of remembrance and learning.”

The Treasury Board said direct costs were $165.9 million in the federal public service. “Most of that is in lost productivity,” Stephen Diotte, executive director of human resources, told the Senate June 3.

“The balance of it is payments required for employees in 24/7 work environments like corrections or Canada Border Services or ships’ crews and officers in the Department of National Defence and Department of Fisheries,” said Diotte.

The $165.9 million figure did not include holiday pay or overtime for Crown corporation employees. “I don’t have those figures,” said Diotte.

The labour department said airlines, marine shippers and other federally-regulated private sector companies would pay another $223 million annually.

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