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Federal debate at University of Guelph scrapped over PPC policies

A debate could not be held without PPC attendance.

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(L) Mark Paralovos via Twitter, (R) U of G via Wikimedia Commons.

The student government and a workers’ union at the University of Guelph decided on Tuesday to cancel a federal debate scheduled for the next day as provincial policy would have forced organizers to allow the local People’s Party of Canada candidate to attend.

The Central Student Association and CUPE 1334 said in a statement that they have the right to bar individuals from having a platform to speak on campus if allowing them would “jeopardize or compromise our anti-oppressive mandate and the safety of our students and workers.”

Based on the party’s platform, the two organizations found that the PPC policies “discriminate against people in the University of Guelph community” and thus contradict the CSA and CUPE’s work to “make an inclusive campus for all students and workers.”

However, due to freedom of speech rules mandated by the Progressive Conservative government earlier this year, the organizers could not hold a federal debate on the Guelph campus without allowing the local PPC candidate Mark Paralovos to participate.

If post-secondary institutions did not implement the free speech policies, they would be left vulnerable to funding cuts by the province. Therefore, to keep Paralovos off the debate stage, the unions cancelled the election event altogether.

Organizers told The Avro Post on Wednesday afternoon that Paralovos had threatened to arrive on campus with supporters to protest the debate if he was not invited. Jensen Williams, speaking on behalf of CUPE, said that they did not want violent protests similar to what occurred recently in Hamilton.

Jensen nearly five hours later told The Post that her claim that Paralovos threatened to protest if he was excluded from the debate was false, and that it was the University of Guelph administration who assumed there would be violence because of what occurred in Hamilton.

The decision to not invite Paralovos and subsequently shut down the debate so he would not protest was a non-partisan one, Williams stated. The spokeswoman pointed to the immigration, refugees and Canadian identity planks put forward on the People’s Party platform as attacking minorities represented by both the unions.

Requests for comment sent out to the provincial government and Paralovos have not yet received a response.


An election weeks away

The Federal Election Panel Discussion, which had over 100 Facebook profiles marked as “interested” or “going”, was planned as a way for students, who are part of the largest voting bloc, to get a sense of the parties available to them on Oct. 21, when the country will vote.

Originally invited was Liberal incumbent MP Lloyd Longfield, Green Party candidate Steve Dyck, Conservative Party candidate Dr. Ashish Sachan, New Democrat Aisha Jahangir and the Communist Party’s Juanita Burnett.

However, there was some pressure for Mark Paralovos, the People’s Party of Canada candidate, to be invited. Paralovos has previously struggled with receiving access to local debates and campaign events, but has since been welcomed to attend several after reporting by local media.

The move by the unions has resulted in backlash from Paralovos and his camp. In a tweet, the federal candidate implied that there could be legal action.

Paralovos asked on Twitter: “What I have to wonder is: do these two who have signed their names to this libellous and defamatory statement understand what they’ve done?”

“I guess we’ll find out soon enough,” he added, posting a link to a section of the Canadian criminal code dealing with libel, a law that covers the slander of individuals.

People’s Party leader, Maxime Bernier, has been accused of racism and discrimination, which he has denied. Specifically, there has been backlash to the part of the PPC platform calling for cutting immigration into Canada by over half, citing the economic impact of current levels.

Earlier this year, a visit by Bernier was made in secret after a location change due to what the PPC called safety concerns after anti-fascist activists planned a protest. As Bernier spoke to a private audience with Paralovos, a protest was held at city hall. ■

2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Gerry Attrick

    October 3, 2019 at 5:15 pm

    Aggressive fascists shut down a planned political speech by a speaker they disagree with, with the connivance of the university administration, and the tacit support of the police (government).

    Berlin 1930s? How about Ottawa 2010. (University of Ottawa)

  2. Gerry Attrick

    October 3, 2019 at 5:24 pm

    By implication, the union believes only “white people” can pursue and support Western values. Disgusting, rank racists and hypocrites.
    I am so disappointed by this attack on free speech on campus. I’m not a member of the PPC, but I certainly affirm its right and the right of all Elections Canada approved parties, to fully participate in our democracy. If you don’t agree with the PPC don’t vote for it and challenge it with reasoned peaceful debate, but don’t deplatform its candidates.

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Humber monitoring coronavirus outbreak

There are no special actions at this time.

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Humber College said it is monitoring the novel coronavirus outbreak and its “potential impact on the institution” in a statement posted online last week and updated on Monday.

Toronto Public Health told the college that “there are no particular actions required” at this time.

A special group tasked with keeping the campus community informed on the latest precautions for the virus has been established, made up of stakeholders from various departments and the University of Guelph-Humber.

Humber points students, staff and faculty to the Ontario Ministry of Health website’s dedicated webpage for updates.

The college’s announcement also asked that those on campus “wash their hands as frequently as possible” due to it being the winter flu season.

As of Tuesday morning in Ontario, there is one confirmed case of the novel coronavirus, one “presumptive” case and 11 cases under investigation. ■

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Nominations open for 2020 IGNITE elections

Nomination packages are due by Feb. 14.

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IGNITE on Tuesday posted details and nomination packages for its 2020 elections on social media, setting up its first ever election without executive positions.

There are 10 positions open for students to run for, all on the Board of Directors.

There are four positions open at North Campus, three seats at Lakeshore, two open at Guelph-Humber and a sole position available at Orangeville.

All nomination packages are due by Feb. 14 and can be filled out on the elections webpage. ■

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Bell Let’s Talk Day coming to Humber

Bell let’s talk day will be coming to Humber on Jan. 29.

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Bell will be bringing their yearly Let’s Talk event to Humber College this week.

Let’s Talk Day is a national day of raising awareness about mental health and furthering the conversation of acceptance, support and to decrease stigma.

The day also encourages the use of various platforms including social media to engage individuals. Bell also donates money to mental health funds based on messages sent throughout the day on their cellular network and social media posts.

Bell will be hosting two events at both Humber North and Lakeshore Campuses on Jan. 29.

The first event will be held at North in the LRC, starting at 10 a.m. and finishing at 12 p.m. The second event will be held at Lakeshore in A170 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

The event is open to both Humber and Guelph-Humber student

Students who wish to contribute to the cause can make a tweet, a social media video, use Bell’s Facebook frame or Snapchat filter and also use the hashtag #BellLet’sTalk on social media. ■

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