In a few hours a new year begins.
But in Vancouver, BC, Canada it will begin on a somber note.
The Province’s largest University , true to recent dysfunctional form, has committed the ultimate sin.That of violating principles of free speech, of fairness and tolerance.
Oh, how we pride ourselves in Canada of being slavishly in support of human rights , brag about how open we are and often snobbishly look down our noses at other less open societies ——-as we define them . Of course, we try and ignore that many of our top universities are some of the worst universities for anti semtism on the Continent according to a recent report by the Jewish newspaper Algemeiner rating McGill in Montreal and University of Toronto as third and fourt in the worst universities for Jewish students .
Well, enter Mr. John Furlong , former head of the Vancouver Olympic Committee . He was invited to speak at the University ‘s primary Athletic Fundraiser . He accepted . Then , out of the blue, he was uninvited.
Mr. Furlong was accused by a newspaper reporter of abusing First Nations students decades ago when he taught school in northern British Columbia. None of the accusations have been proven to be correct and a legal action by the reporter of defamation against him was rejected by the Supreme Court of British Columbia.
In other words , in a democracy worthy of the name , Mr. Furlong is innocent. All charges against him have failed to be upheld.
Preseident Ono of UBC in his welcoming remarks on the university website says;
‘ I am proud to welcome you to one of the most vibrant and inspirational places of learning and research in the world.’
In the University’s Values and Vision statement the following is found:
‘As one of the world’s leading universities, the University of British Columbia creates an exceptional learning environment that fosters global citizenship, advances a civil and sustainable society, and supports outstanding research to serve the people of British Columbia, Canada and the world.’
Note in particular the words —‘fosters global citizenship, advances a civil and sustainable society ———-‘ .
In 1988 universities around the world adopted the ‘The Magna Charta Universitatum’ , a document that proclaims the principles of academic freedom and independence. In principle three of the declaration it also says this : ‘——Rejecting intolerance and always open to dialogue —-‘.
Can the University be vibrant and an inspirational place if it gives credence to unfounded accusations and promotes rumour and innuendo ?
Can the university foster citizenship, advance a civil society while denying an innocent person the right speak after being invited so to do?
Can the university uphold the principle of ‘ rejecting intolerance and always open to dialogue ‘ when it deliberately denies an innocent person the right to speak at one of its functions?
We are becoming a scary place.