Rachel Notley opposes academic honour for David Suzuki

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NorthReport

It's clear the Alberta NDP supports and respects the right of the U of A to grant honorary degrees to whoever they wish. And yes unfortunately, they don't like the idea of Suzuki getting one, particularly right now, but after all, it is Alberta. 

EMBARRASSING HONORARY DEGREE STORIES: ‘DID NO ONE WARN THEM?’

http://albertapolitics.ca/2018/04/embarrassing-honorary-degree-stories-d...

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
It's clear the Alberta NDP supports and respects the right of the U of A to grant honorary degrees to whoever they wish.

What could they legally and legitimately do if it they didn't?

To put it another way, are you suggesting the Provincial goverment COULD block this, but out of principle have chosen only to criticize it?

Seriously.  What could they do if they weren't feeling generous?

NorthReport

Is that Rachel's alma mater?

Pogo Pogo's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

Quote:
Seriously.  What could they do if they weren't feeling generous?

The key point to remember is that education is a provincial responsibility.  They exert ultimate control over these institutions and their influence over budgets and appointments is significant. There is a need to support the principle of academic freedom and honorary degrees are a clear expression of academic freedom (holding my nose over the internal decision making process), and politicians need to steer clear from criticizing these choices.  Kenney is so far over the line it isn't funny, while Notley has clearly stepped over it. 

Items like this are tests of politicians to say things in such a way that the electorate hears the message you want them to hear, but your critics are left with little hard evidence that you have taken a stance against them.  An example is Singh his comments on the pipeline.  He seems to say that he is against the pipeline, but he doesn't come out and directly say this, focussing instead on not supporting a result from a failed process.

Given a chance to turn back the clock I believe Notley would have been more circumspect in her statement.  

 

6079_Smith_W

Pogo wrote:

Given a chance to turn back the clock I believe Notley would have been more circumspect in her statement. 

I'm not so sure about that. On the one hand there isn't really anything concrete she can do about this, and she said pretty clearly she has no intention of doing so. It really is just electioneering, IMO.

As out there moves go, her threats to shut off the oil is way more outrageous, and she hasn't moderated her position on that.

Again, the biggest way in which this is a problem for me isn't in what she can do, but in how it bolsters others who DO have power over universities.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

Quote:
The key point to remember is that education is a provincial responsibility.  They exert ultimate control over these institutions and their influence over budgets and appointments is significant.

Ideally, that's the length and breadth of their influence:  transfer funds.

And everything else you said, I agree with.

quizzical

unionist read AB hansard. it's where you'll get direct quote.

NorthReport

Quote:
“The integrity and the independence of academic institutions must be allowed to continue, regardless of any particular issue.

“It is absolutely the university’s right and obligation to make that decision. It is absolutely their right and obligation to defend that decision and I’m sure they will do so.”

https://globalnews.ca/news/4167671/notley-university-of-alberta-david-su...

Unionist

quizzical wrote:

unionist read AB hansard. it's where you'll get direct quote.

Thank you, quizzical. I did some searching and found the following exchange between Kenney and Schmidt. I think even though Schmidt couldn't restrain himself from saying that he didn't agree with Suzuki, and wouldn't have been the first to give him an honorary degree, he did a decent job in defending freedom of speech and the autonomy of the university in making such decisions:

Quote:

Mr. Schmidt: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Of course, I share
concerns about some of the statements that Dr. Suzuki has made in
the past. However, I'm also very deeply concerned about freedom
of speech on campuses, something that the members opposite have
expressed as a priority in their upcoming policy platform. I'd ask
the member opposite to explain to the House why freedom of
speech should be extended only to anti-abortion activist groups and
the likes of Jordan Peterson and not to David Suzuki. [interjections]

2:40
The Speaker: Order. Order.

Mr. Kenney: Well, Mr. Speaker, freedom of speech and David
Suzuki don't normally fit into the same sentence because he usually
charges $50,000 for a speech. That's anything but free. And the
same David Suzuki, who the minister is now defending, has called
for his political opponents to be imprisoned. He said that former
Prime Minister Harper should be thrown in jail because he didn't
agree with Dr. Suzuki on shutting down Canada's energy industry.
Again I'll ask the government: do they agree with the decision of
the University of Alberta Senate in this respect? Dr. Suzuki is free
to say anything he wants anywhere he wants. It's not about speech.
It's about giving him the honorary degree.

The Speaker: Thank you, hon. member.
The Minister of Advanced Education.

Mr. Schmidt: Well, thank you, Mr. Speaker. Of course, the hon.
Leader of the Opposition is in an uncomfortable position because
he wants it both ways. He wants to be a champion of free speech,
yet he doesn't want somebody like David Suzuki to receive an
honorary degree from the University of Alberta. Our position is
quite consistent. We're champions of freedom of speech. We are
also champions of academic integrity, and that's why, regardless of
what our opinions of David Suzuki are, we're going to allow the
university – we have no say in what the university is going to do,

626 Alberta Hansard April 30, 2018

and we're defending the right of the University of Alberta to
continue . . .

The Speaker: Thank you, hon. minister.

Mr. Kenney: Mr. Speaker, this is not a complicated question. It has
nothing to do with speech. Nobody is seeking to inhibit Dr.
Suzuki's speech. What we're seeking to do is to question the
wisdom . . . [interjections]

The Speaker: Order.

Mr. Kenney: What we're seeking to do – I'm sorry. They're
certainly not circumscribed in their heckling, Mr. Speaker.
What we're seeking to do is to question the wisdom of granting
a high honour to a man who says that immigration is disgusting and
crazy and should be stopped, who wants his political opponents
thrown in jail, who says that our oil sands are like slavery and
economics is like brain damage. Why can't the minister just stand
up and say: we completely disagree with David Suzuki, and he
shouldn't get . . .

The Speaker: Thank you, hon. member.

Mr. Schmidt: Well, Mr. Speaker, of course, I have said already that
I wouldn't necessarily be the first to give Dr. Suzuki an honorary
degree. The decision is not mine to make, though. The decision is
the University of Alberta's to make, and it's very concerning to me
that somebody who is applying for the job of Premier of Alberta is
threatening, intimidating, and harassing an independent institution
into reversing a decision that is well within its purview to make.

Thanks again! Though next time I expect you to give me the link instead of sending me on a hunt LOL.

quizzical

sorry would've looked for it but got a call out and had to respond quickly and go.

epaulo13 epaulo13's picture

David Suzuki: Cutting through polluted public discourse

“We’re not going to get off fossil fuels overnight!” How many times have you heard that? Over the decades I’ve been hearing it, we’ve increased exploration and development, continued to build infrastructure that locks us in to fossil fuels for years to come, increased greenhouse-gas emissions and pollution, and failed to conserve energy and develop clean energy to the extent necessary to prevent catastrophic global climate change.

At some point, the phrase just becomes an excuse for procrastination.

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