University of Winnipeg group falsely dresses their political grievances in language of integrity
A tiny group of University of Winnipeg students made what they must regard as a remarkable statement recently -- but one that was really only remarkable in the brazen extent of its own self-edification:
They think the University of Winnipeg should only grant honourary degrees to individuals who agree with their political views.
That was the basic theme that emerged out of a protest by a miniscule group calling itself the Coalition for Integrity in Academic Accolades. As is the case with so many members of Canada's far left, their definition of integrity is one that begins and ends with their own political views.
"[Toews’] policies are in direct opposition to the notions of compassion, justice, acceptance, inclusiveness, human rights and equality," said Brittany Thiessen. "As a university which values these notions, I along with many others, believe that honouring this man is unacceptable."
Thiessen's Care2 profile largely speaks for itself. There, Thiessen declares that her aim is "to promote and protect human rights and equality for all. End discrimination and social/economic/racial/gender/sexual inequality worldwide."
Spoken like a true grievance monger.
Among Thiessen and company's other grievances are Toews vote against same-sex marriage, his government's plan to build new prisons, and his acknowledgement that some of the Tamil migrants that arrived by boat this past summer could have been terrorists.
The Winnipeg Sun's brief photo essay tells one all one needs to know about the objections raised by these individuals.
"Ask me what Vic Toews said during his speech at the national pro-life conference," reads one sign. "Ask me about how Vic Toews supports an American-style war on drugs," reads another.
The latter sign is categorically false -- Conservative anti-drug policies provided additional funds for treatment of drug addicts while focusing enforcement toward those who distribute drugs. Compare this to American drug policies which are primarily aimed at users.
Moreover, the other sign-holders outrage that Toews would disagree with her on abortion really only casts her reaction as part of the effort by pro-abortion groups to silence their opponents on university campuses.
The Valedictorian for the U of W's convocation, Erin Larson, took her speech as an opportunity to air her own grievances against the honour.
“While I’m immensely proud to be an alumnus of the University of Winnipeg and extremely honoured to have been selected valedictorian, I have to admit I’m not proud to share the stage with everyone who is on it today,” Larson -- piercings and all -- complained. “I feel the University of Winnipeg has recently suffered a profound loss of integrity due to the actions of the administration.”
Former Liberal Foreign Affairs minister Lloyd Axworthy was not impressed.
“I think it’s important to point out that I don’t think Mr Toews used his platform to express political views,” Axworthy said. “He talked about what it meant to be a student. I think that was the unfortunate part, that [the valedictory address] was used as a way to make a political statement, not a statement on behalf of the graduates.”
“I respect the way the students had a quiet protest and I think it was a respectable way of doing it, but I wouldn’t say the same for the valedictorian,” he concluded.
Simply put, the protest against Toews' honourary degree wasn't about integrity at all. It was merely about politics: about one group's attempt to enshrine their own political views within the university administration to the exclusion of all others.
God forbit that the University of Winnipeg would want to honour Vic Toews, an alumnus, with an honourary master of laws degree for becoming the Minister of Public Safety.