Connect with us

Campus

Federal debate at University of Guelph scrapped over PPC policies

A debate could not be held without PPC attendance.

Published

on

(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.

Leave a Reply to Gerry Attrick Cancel reply

Campus

Andrew Scheer resigning as Conservative Party leader

He will remain as an MP.

Published

on

File photo of Andrew Scheer via Wikimedia Commons.

After failing to claim a win in the federal election and amid revelations that he used party money to pay for his children’s private schooling, Andrew Scheer said on Thursday he will resign as leader of the Conservative Party.

Scheer said he will remain as leader until a replacement is chosen in remarks to the House of Commons after the news broke, adding that he will ask the party to start the process of a leadership contest. He will remain the member of parliament for Regina–Qu’Appelle.

“In order to chart the course ahead in the direction this party is heading, the party needs someone who can give 100 per cent,” Scheer, who led the Conservatives in winning the popular vote. Because the Tory ballots were concentrated in prairie provinces, the party was unable to win the most ridings.

His resignation comes as a direct result of new revelations that he was using party money to pay for his children’s private schooling, according to Conservative sources who spoke with Global News. The money was spent without permission from the Tory fund board.

Though the decision to resign was not made lightly, Scheer cited conversations with his loved ones, and said he “felt it was time to put my family first”.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau thanked Scheer for his service in parliament and said “I wish him all the very, very best in his next steps” while acknowledging the sacrifices made by the families of politicians. ■

Continue Reading

Campus

Once again, reporters barred from IGNITE Board meeting

The meeting takes place at Lakeshore Campus.

Published

on

IGNITE logo on a Lakeshore Campus building on Dec. 11, 2019.

Two student reporters from The Avro Post were told they could not enter a Board of Directors meeting at Lakeshore Campus on Wednesday evening by Chairperson Neto Naniwambote, once again breaking the student union’s own bylaws.

The bylaws state that Board meetings are open to members — all students — unless the directors then and there pass a motion to exclude the members from the meeting.

Because reporters arrived at what was scheduled to be the beginning of the meeting, it is clear there was no such vote for Wednesday. Minutes released from September and October show no such vote took place.

IGNITE broke its own bylaws when an official told a student journalist in September that she could not enter what turned out later to be a critical Board meeting and continues to do so each time it blocks students without a vote.

In October, four reporters from The Post attempted to find a meeting scheduled to take place in North Campus. Despite being early to the location of where they typically occur, the reporters were unable to find any directors

The November meeting was scheduled to take place in the University of Guelph-Humber. It appeared as though it was taking place inside a conference room on the first floor of the Atrium but reporters were unable to verify.

The organization also removed the exact times and meeting locations that were posted in the summer sometime between Aug. 14 and Sept. 11 — another violation of its bylaws that they have not addressed.

As pressure mounts from student journalists and those that follow student politics to create more transparency, IGNITE has been holding Board of Directors meetings without allowing access.

The Board meetings were set for 6 p.m. before the time was deleted from the IGNITE website. Room numbers were also given and can still be previewed via a website cataloging service.  ■

Reporting by Kristy Lam, Eli Ridder.
Continue Reading

Campus

Province appealing to restore Student Choice Initiative

An Ontario court ruled against the SCI in November.

Published

on

File photo of Premier Doug Ford.

The provincial government under the Progressive Conservatives is applying for leave to file an appeal against a ruling from the Divisional Court of Ontario that overturned the Student Choice Initiative.

A leave for appeal is a procedural measure that must be taken before an appeal is heard by the Court. Thus, the ruling of the Court stands and the SCI continues to be deemed unlawful.

The initiative, known as the SCI, was introduced earlier this year and came into play this fall semester. It allowed students to opt-out of paying certain “non-essential” ancillary fees that fund student unions, campus publication and other post-secondary organizations across the province.

The mandate came from the university and colleges ministry and was not passed through Queen’s Park. PC Party officials insisted to The Avro Post that it allowed for freedom of choice, allowing students to pay only for services that they felt was worth their financial support.

In response, the provincial division of the Canadian Federation of Students and York University’s student union filed a legal challenge against the SCI, stating that they failed to consult with students and should not have interfered with the autonomy of student unions.

Judges ruled unanimously in November to throw out the SCI, an unexpected victory for student allies. They found that the government has “no legal power to control the universities even if it wished to”.

A brief filed by the province on Monday evening states that the ruling restricts the authority to attach conditions to the funding given to public colleges and universities, according to reports by student newspapers.

“Attaching conditions to government grants in no way interferes with university autonomy and independence,” the brief reads, adding that post-secondary institutions “remain free” to accept taxpayer dollars, subject to the conditions that come along with the funding.

Over $5 billion comes from provincial coffers to the province’s 21 publicly assisted universities and 24 funded colleges. The Progressive Conservatives argue that the introducing optional student fees is an attempt to allow students to save more financially.

The court ruling, however, pointed out that the optional ancillary fees are a small portion of what students pay in tuition and other fees. For students at Humber College and the University of Guelph-Humber, there was only a charge of $55.95 compared to hundreds in overall fees.

The Winter 2020 semester starts in January and fees are due shortly. Some campuses are currently considering their legal options for removing the opt-out option for ancillary fees, The Globe and Mail reported.

IGNITE did not participate in the lawsuit against the province and did not offer support. The student union also refused to respond to the November ruling against the SCI until the government gave a statement. ■

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2017 Zox News Theme. Theme by MVP Themes, powered by WordPress.