CARPAY: University of Toronto supports left-wing speech, not free speech
As a Jewish commentator on the Israel-Palestine conflicts, Norman Finkelstein is a fierce critic of Israel, accusing the Jewish state of militarism, illegal settlements and human rights violations. The child of Holocaust survivors, he is the author of ten books including The Holocaust Industry: Reflections on the exploitation of Jewish suffering and Beyond Chutzpah: On the misuse of anti-Semitism and the abuse of history. Finkelstein argues that the American Jewish establishment exploits the memory of the Holocaust for political and financial gain, as well as to further the interests of Israel.
Regarding Hezbollah, the Islamist, anti-Israel group that is considered a terrorist organization by most countries, Finkelstein stated not long after the 2007 Israel-Lebanon conflict, “I was of course happy to meet the Hezbollah people because it is a point of view that is rarely heard in the United States. And I have no problem saying that I do want to express solidarity with them.”
Finkelstein is slated to speak at the University of Toronto Mississauga this month, in the run-up to the annual Israeli Apartheid Week.
Hasbara Fellowships, describing itself as the “leading pro-Israel campus activism organization working with over 80 Universities across North America,” has asked the University of Toronto’s Governing Council to repudiate Finkelstein’s past anti-Israel remarks, and to denounce Israeli Apartheid Week. Hasbara Fellowships brings hundreds of students to Israel every year, giving them the information and tools to return to their campuses as educators about Israel.
Hasbara Fellowships states that “Finkelstein’s past comments are worthy of condemnation because they do not build bridges or mend fences. … they do not further any process of mutual understanding and are divisive statements that we see as having shades of antisemitism. We are certain that the University of Toronto does not want to be seen as being complicit in Israel Apartheid Week as a result of their silence.”
If the university is a forum for the expression of diverse views and vigorous debate between competing claims, it cannot take sides on any moral, academic, political or philosophical issues. Like a referee facilitating a game, the university should enable the examination and discussion of all perspectives, without itself becoming a party in those debates. Therefore, I won’t be signing Hasbara Fellowships’ online petition calling on the U of T to denounce Finkelstein’s views.
However, there is a world of difference between the Hasbara Fellowships petition, which does not seek to silence Finkelstein’s voice, and the tactics that are often used against speakers who reject political correctness. People who are pro-Israel, pro-life, conservative or otherwise right-of-centre, and those who challenge radical feminism, LGBTQ political ideology, or the identity politics of the progressive Left, are routinely silenced on campus, with the approval of university presidents.
As documented at www.campusfreedomindex.ca, when the McGill Friends of Israel planned an event called “Israel: A-Party,” designed to counter-message Israeli Apartheid Week, the Students’ Society of McGill University told these students that they would have to change the name of the event, threatening “possible consequences such as suspension of club status” if they refused.
Disruptive protesters at the University of Waterloo, chanting slogans about “no platforms for Nazis,” forcibly silenced author and National Post columnist Christie Blatchford, a strong advocate for the rule of law and the free society. All while campus security stood by and watched.
At McMaster University, loud, disruptive “protesters” screamed obscenities, beat drums and rang cow bells to prevent Jordan Peterson from speaking. This reprehensible conduct was then condoned by the university’s president, Patrick Deane, having been encouraged if not instigated by his Advisory Committee on Building Inclusive Community.
The University of Toronto should uphold Finkelstein’s free expression rights, and the right of people to hear and listen to his views. This is the correct approach.
However, this standard was not applied to Students for Life, which was barred by the University of Toronto Mississauga Students’ Union from club status, effectively preventing them from using the student centre and accessing student union resources. Students for Life could not join other campus clubs in setting up a table during clubs’ week, or make use of campus spaces to engage other students in discussion.
If U of T permits Finkelstein to speak on its campus, it will be because of his progressive, politically correct opinions, not because the university is committed to free expression.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca) which measures the state of campus free speech in Canada at www.campusfreedomindex.ca.
A raccoon was spotted on a city bus in London, Ontario last night around 8 pm. One passenger was able to snap a picture of the along route 19 in the Masonville area.
The LTC replied to the tweet saying,
No one quite knows how the little guy managed to board the bus and the LTC has yet to comment.
Word on the street is after failing to present a valid ticket he was asked to leave, begrudgingly he waddled off muttering something about the LTC.
Four Ontario men have been arrested for vandalizing a memorial plaque that commemorates the École Politechnique massacre according to CityNews.
The vandalism comes a week after the 30th anniversary of the massacre that claimed the lives of 14 women.
Arrested are Ahmed Sido, 20, Muhammed Nanaa, 19, Abduallah Al-Mosuli, 21, and Adnan Noumayri, 18.
The plaque was vandalized on December 3rd according to police. The plaque is located in the lobby of Scarborough’s Centre for Alternative Studies. The Centre is on Midland Avenue near Danforth Road. The plaque was vandalized with misogynistic slurs and damaged.
The following day police managed to arrest three of the four perpetrators, the fourth being arrested a day later on Dec. 5.
They have all been charged with mischief under $5000. All four are scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 14, 2020.
The vandalism comes a week after the 30th anniversary of the massacre that claimed the lives of 14 women.
The Environment Minister is closing a $200 million project by Nation Rise Wind Farm near Finch, Ontario. The Stormont County town windmill project was nearly complete with many of the planned 29 turbines already constructed. That came to an abrupt halt on Monday when Minister Jeff Yurek revoked the approval, citing a threat to the local bat population.
Several of the turbines were ready to begin generating power and the project had been previously approved by the Environmental Review Tribunal. Nation Rise Wind Farm is a subsidiary of the multinational EDP Renewables, their North American headquarters is in Texas.
“This was not an easy decision to make,” Yurek said in a press release. “While I agree with most of the conclusions of the tribunal, I disagree with the tribunal’s conclusions with respect to the degree of harm that will be caused to local bat species by the project.
“I am therefore altering the tribunal’s decision based on my conclusion that the project will cause serious and irreversible harm to bats, and I revoke the approval.”
The Environmental Tribunal held weeks-long hearings to look at objections to the project that covered a range of issues. It’s been a rather divisive issue in the community and the township has twice voted against being a “willing host” for the project.
There are a variety of reasons people complain about wind turbines in their community. The eye sore, the claim that vibrations caused by them bring on migraines, the price of real estate drops instantly and as well the effects on the local wildlife.
Yurek decision came seven months into the projects construction, telling EDP Renewables that he had the authority to “confirm, alter or revoke” the Environmental Review Tribunal’s approval, “as I consider in the public interest.” His reasoning was also based on the potential harm to the wildlife “in the context of the minimal contribution the project is likely to have on the electricity supply in Ontario.”
The tribunal had ruled such risks to the various bat populations were negligible.
“I am therefore altering the tribunal’s decision based on my conclusion that the project will cause serious and irreversible harm to bats, and I revoke the approval.” said Yurek.
The colonies of bats include big brown bats, hoary bats and little brown bats, which are on the Species at Risk Ontario List. The fear is that the bats will fly into the turbine blades. Yurek admits that one while one can’t know the full extent of the harm, it’s better to err on the side of caution.
“This power project has been very divisive for our community; now North Stormont can again be a good place to grow,” said Maragret Benke in a statement. a founding member of the grassroots organization Concerned Citizens of North Stormont. The group appealed the approval and reached out to the Minister for help.
In a statement provided to the Standard-Freeholder, EDP wrote. “This unprecedented decision means the (approval) that was issued by the minister’s own staff, defended by ministry legal counsel and subsequently ratified by the Environmental Review Tribunal is no longer in effect,” reads a statement from the company. “Decisions of this nature should be based on science and law, yet there was no expert testimony or evidence presented at the tribunal or to the minister that would provide a reasonable rationale for the minister’s decision.”
The issue of what risk the wind farm poses to bat populations was discussed at length during tribunal hearings held in Finch, in August of 2018.
“This power project has been very divisive for our community; now North Stormont can again be a good place to grow,” said Maragret Benke, a founding member of the grassroots organization Concerned Citizens of North Stormont. The group appealed the approval and reached out to the Minister for help.
A man was caught on camera stealing a package from a home in Ingersoll, Ont., on Monday. The thief could be seen on the home’s surveillance camera.
The Ontario Provincial Police are telling homeowners to keep an eye out for other “porch pirates” after the incident.
The Oxford OPP have said that the home is located on Cross Street in Ingersoll. They posted the video on their twitter account on Tuesday.
The thief was last seen driving a white Chevrolet Cruze.
The suspect is described as a thin, brown-haired male in his 20s who is clean shaven and stands at about six feet tall. The man was also wearing white shoes with a dark Reebok hoodie and dark pants.
The OPP had no further information on the incident when The Post Millennial was in touch with them Wednesday.
One in four Canadians have fallen victim to “porch pirates” according to a survey recently taken by FedEx.
Police have recommended that anyone expecting a package be at home during the delivery if possible or alternatively have a friend or neighbor help with receiving it.
Another option is to request a signature or special delivery instructions if the company delivering your package has those options available. Police are asking anybody with any information on the Ingersoll incident to get in contact with them or with Crime Stoppers.