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Ten reasons James Moore should not be chancellor of UNBC

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As a student of the University of Northern British Columbia, I am unhappy with the hiring of former Conservative member of parliament James Moore as chancellor. I am not unlike the 1,500 people who have already signed the petition calling for his removal.

Hiring a recent Conservative member of parliament as a representative of a community-oriented university is an awful, awful idea. As the symbolic head of the institution, we have to be careful of what our chancellor symbolizes.

To keep it brief, here are 10 reasons why he should not represent our university:

1. James Moore personally voted against the free exchange of scientific ideas, and for the closure of the Experimental Lakes Area Research Facility. The Conservative government was well-documented in their muzzling of scientists, which is concerning for a university that participates in scientific research and employs scientists.

2. As this re-circulating Tyee article articulates, James Moore, as Heritage Minister, represented a government that wanted to make major cuts to the Libraries and Archives of Canada. This seems fairly anti-academic.

3. James Moore was an MP for a government that had a reputation for heavily focusing its economic plan on the Alberta tar sands. Earlier this year, he was even accused of making stuff up in support of Kinder Morgan’s proposed Trans Mountain pipeline. This kind of goes against UNBC's "Canada’s Green University" brand, doesn't it?

4. James Moore voted in support of Bill C-23 (Fair Elections Act), which many, including myself, see as undemocratic, as it added more unnecessary barriers to voting.

5. Last Christmas season James Moore reportedly said, "is it my job to feed my neighbour’s child? I don't think so." UNBC's mission states that it wants to provide leadership "through the integrity of its actions." In my opinion, these two statements are a little conflicting.

6. James Moore blocked me on Twitter! I have never tweeted James Moore before, but I did mention his name in an article on his government's horrible idea to shutter the Kitsilano Coast Guard. Maybe I hurt his feelings.

7. As an UNBC alumnus already pointed out, the Conservatives' Islamophobic campaigning around the niqab and well-known dismissal of Indigenous rights (as well as their immigration stances) goes against UNBC's motto of En Cha Huna, Dakelh for "Respecting All Forms of Life."

8. UNBC sits at the conflux of the Highway of Tears, and James Moore continued to campaign for a party, after stepping down, whose leader once said that Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women are not "really high on our radar, to be honest."

9. James Moore represented a government who reportedly wanted to crack down on student loan collections and is now going to represent an institution that requires students.

10. While Moore was Heritage Minister, the Conservatives delivered major cuts to the CBC and the National Film Board, two of Canada's major art and communication hubs. As a result of the NFB cuts, eight art educators lost their jobs. As a university that offers bachelor degrees in fine arts, this symbolizes a backward appointment.

In my opinion as a student, merging the business world and the university infringes on academic freedom, especially in the liberal arts. Profit should not drive education (outside of business education). Even if for some reason you do not see the former Conservative government as extremely pro-business and Moore's role as Minister of Industry representative of that -- what about Moore's current role as Senior Business Advisor at Denton's Global Law Firm?

As a student drawn to UNBC from southern B.C. for its uniqueness, the hiring of a divisive politician goes against many of the schools values and orientations. This concerns me and has me rethinking my decision. 

 

Tyson Kelsall is a freelance writer and former Managing Editor of Adbusters Magazine. Kelsall's writing has also appeared in the Vancouver Observer, RankandFile.ca, the Victoria's Times Colonist, the Prince George Citizen and Canada University Press. Follow him online @TysonKelsall.

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