Canadian Yellow Vest Movement releases unofficial manifesto
In a viral Facebook post from yesterday, a series of issues outlined “What is Canada’s Yellow Vest Protest About?”
The post has nearly 20 thousand shares as of the time of writing.
Despite numerous Alberta city councils voting unanimously to declare states of emergency regarding the effects of climate change, Calgary has refused to follow suit, with some councilors essentially lambasting the movement for being alarmist.
According to the Calgary Herald, “When asked if there was interest in making a similar declaration in Calgary, Coun. Sean Chu laughed before saying there was no way he would let it happen.”
“No way whatsoever. Over my dead body,” said Chu, adding that “pea-cocking” over environmentalism arbitrarily worries people too much.
Councillor Ward Sutherland seems to share the opinion and said that he hasn’t heard anything about such a state of emergency being declared in Calgary.
“From my perspective, I think it’s overly dramatic and I certainly would not favour it,” said Sutherland. “The rationale behind that is simple, we do have an environmental policy that is one of the strongest ones in Canada, and we’ve been moving forward with many initiatives.”
Coun. Shane Keating and Ray Jones agreed, adding that it isn’t the municipal government’s job to act on such calls.
“We can take a number of actions to help the climate but I’m not sure that we’re the right political body to be coming out and declaring things like that,” said Keating.
“The cities that have heavy industries should be addressing it and Calgary does not have a lot of heavy industry,” said Jones.
Two other councillors are more willing to open discussions but have stood firm behind Calgary’s history of being environmentally ahead of the curve.
“Calgary has been the steward of water in Alberta, so we have been very aware of the impacts of climate and we’ve been doing everything we can to mitigate it,” said Coun. Jyoti Gondek.
“It would be an interesting conversation on council given that we’ve, unfortunately, pitted our oil and gas business against our climate goals. I’m personally of the opinion that they are not oppositional conversations to be having,” said Coun. Gian-Carlo Carra.
Two more visitors at the Parliament buildings in Ottawa are claiming a security guard stopped them from entering a tour because they were wearing pro-oil and pro-gas shirts.
According to Chris Wollin, he and his fiance were wearing “I (LOVE) (CANADIAN) OIL AND GAS” shirts, when a security official told them that the shirts would prohibit them from entering the tour.
“The security officer mentioned that if we were to come back with our ‘I love Canadian oil and gas’ shirts on, that we wouldn’t be allowed to do the tour because you’re not allowed to wear any shirts that are too political,” Wollin told CTV News Calgary.
According to the Parliament of Canada’s website, “participating in any form of demonstration inside the buildings is prohibited, including wearing items or clothing with visible political messages.”
The pro-oil shirt was designed by a non-profit organization called Canada Action, which aims to promote the advancement of the oil and gas industry in Canada.
This is the second time the shirt has made headlines for its appearance on Parliament Hill. Only last week William Lacy, CFO of Steelhead Petroleum Ltd., also from Calgary, visited with the same shirt on.
“The security guard looked at me and said: ‘Excuse me sir, I’m going to have to ask you to remove that shirt.’ And I looked and him and I said: ‘Excuse me?’ And he said: ‘Yes, you’re going to have to remove that shirt because some people may view that as being offensive,’” said Lacey of the incident.
A member from the Parliamentary Protective Service apologized for the incident.
“Personnel misinterpreted a message on the visitor’s article of clothing,” wrote Guillaume Vandal in a statement. “The staff involved will be receiving operational guidance and training with respect to visitors to the Hill.”
Wollin states that the shirt could be showing a double standard of sorts.
“I think if my shirt had have said, ‘I love the auto industry,’ or ‘I love the forestry industry’ or whatever, it wouldn’t have been an issue,” said Wollin.
“So I’m not sure why there’s any sort of prejudice towards the energy sector. I think we should all be proud of it.”
Disclosure: Wyatt Claypool is a third-year Policy Studies and History student at Mount Royal University, where he serves as the President for its Campus Conservatives. He is also a Conservative board member for Signal Hill.
Professor and Mount Royal Faculty Association (MRFA) representative on MRU’s board of governors, Dr. Roberta Lexier, believes that freedom of speech infringes on her academic freedoms. The Justification for this stance is shaky at first glance, and the explanation isn’t exactly convincing.
Recently Dr. Lexier posted extensively on Twitter about her beliefs that there is no free speech crisis on campus and that “The false claims of a free speech crisis on campus [is] really a weapon wielded in an attempt to destroy academic freedom.” which is a claim that continually goes unsupported in her statements.
This is in response to the demand from free speech activists that universities implement the Chicago Principles for free speech. They read, “It is not the proper role of the university to attempt to shield individuals from ideas and opinions they find unwelcome, disagreeable, or even deeply offensive.”
The set of principals only draws the limit to speech at the use of threats or calls for violence.
In no way do Chicago Principles violate academic freedom, as it only provides a broad non-discriminatory standard for free speech. Regardless, Dr. Lexier finds Chicago Principles distasteful.
An op-ed that Dr. Lexier linked on Twitter as being “essential reading” from The Globe And Mail gives useful insight into how she and a growing number of academics think of free speech on campus.
Essential reading here. The false claims of a free speech crisis on campus are really a weapon wielded in an attempt to destroy academic freedom. https://t.co/aAypzFS7tF— Dr. Roberta Lexier (@rlexier) August 31, 2019
In the article titled, “The real free-speech crisis on Alberta’s campuses might not be what you think it is”, author Shama Rangwala argues that there is a significant difference on campus between freedom of speech and academic freedom.
“Freedom of speech and academic freedom are not the same, and censorship is imposed generally by the state, not in delineated spaces such as the university. While everyone is free to speak within legal limits, not everyone is entitled to a platform or institutional legitimacy,” writes Rangwala.
First, most universities in Canada are publicly funded institutions that have internal governing bodies, but that does not allow them to redefine fundamental Canadian rights. Second, it is deeply elitist to argue that “the university fundamentally regulates what kinds of knowledge are legitimate” gatekeeping who is and is not “legitimate” according to those working at a mostly left-wing institution. This way of deciding academic merit lacks principle and instead implements a standard of a university’s arbitrary approval or disapproval.
Rangwala is falsely asserting that somehow both concepts of “academic freedom” and freedom of speech exist in Article 2 of Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms, each with different regulations.
Academic freedom does not exist outside of the normal parameters of free speech, no special rules govern intellectual activity on university campuses.
Dr. Lexier came off as extremely defensive in a Twitter rant from July 31st where she denied the existence of a free speech crisis on campus and declared the university a “unique public space” saying they are “dedicated to *academic* debate and discussion” but that universities should “protect academic freedom first and foremost.” These are self-contradicting statements. Are universities dedicated to debate and discussion or your case by case “legitimacy” regulated version?
Those demanding free speech on campus are also dedicated to squashing free speech off-campus (see AB War Room and right-wing media outlets). If the Chicago Principles simply reiterate a commitment to free speech then why would any university need to embed them in policy?— Dr. Roberta Lexier (@rlexier) July 31, 2019
Here, Dr. Lexier is trying to deflect the importance of the broad Chicago free speech principles by acting like the more restrictive “free speech” on most Canadian university campuses is equivalent. If Chicago Principles only “reiterate a commitment to free speech,” then why not implement them to satisfy its advocates?
If censorship does not occur in the name of “academic freedom,” then why does Dr. Lexier also try to play down the ideological bias on campus? Faculty bias would not matter if “academic freedom” was also not used for ideological discrimination.
The vast majority of university professors are not even adjacent to radical. Every time someone claims universities are bastions of left-wing radicals I wonder where all these people are. They sure aren’t at any university I know.— Dr. Roberta Lexier (@rlexier) July 31, 2019
Dr. Lexier is merely shifting the goalpost to there being no majority of left-wing radicals. This does not refute the fact that universities are heavily biased towards the left, which is a claim backed up by every study of faculty political affiliations.
Lexier herself is quite an actively political left-winger, and ironically enough, also does not tolerate other points of view
It would be difficult to claim to not be able to find the radical left on campus as Dr. Lexier’s own university employs professors like Michael Truscello, who has aspired to one day murder the “bourgeoisie,” on Twitter. MRU is an institution that also offers many courses like ENGL 3382 – Textualities/Sexualities, WGST 2283 – Women and Aging, and lost the 2015 McLeod v. Mount Royal court case because of their denial of a pro-life activist’s right to free speech on campus. Left-wing radicalism isn’t the majority on campus but it is still sizeable and growing.
Those more extreme examples are not meant to totally condemn Mount Royal University, as I think they should hire professors and platform ideas/courses from all perspectives. The issue here is that tolerance of opinion is increasingly not being granted to those who do not follow the progressive left’s politically-correct standards.
Freedom of speech and academic freedom should go hand in hand. How could you practice your full academic freedom if institutional gatekeepers prevent specific ideas from being platformed? One cannot become more intelligent through exposure to less information.
Dr. Lexier wants the ability to define herself as correct, and in doing so places the university at the top of an intellectual hierarchy so that she can deny a platform or “legitimacy” to those who challenge her ideas. In reality, Dr. Lexier does not want academic freedom; she wants privilege.
The university should not be in the business of bestowing “legitimacy,” it best serves its students and the wider community by being a neutral platform for exchanging knowledge.
Anyone demanded by the public to speak on campus should be able to, and all ideas should be given their opportunity to be aired in a healthy environment for discussion.
Without the ability to think for themselves students aren’t really being provided with a well-rounded education.