Open Anthropology headline “Extreme Canada: Ruling Party Interferes with Social Science Funding”:
There is nothing that is intentionally “alarmist” about this headline, as much as some Canadians would want to reassure themselves that only with reference to a corrupt and dictatorial African state would such a headline have any relevance. However, the fact remains, and it is documented and abundantly public, that the Minister of State for Science and Technology, Gary Goodyear, has intervened in a political action. designed to impede academic freedom for daring to question the supremacy of Israel. Goodyear is a member of the ruling Conservative Party that won power, as a minority government, thanks to 22% of registered voters who cast their ballots for this increasingly extreme right wing party. Not in many decades has Canada seen such an extremist party in power, rendering Canada the last refuge of the Neo-Con agenda, and hopefully its final burial ground.
Not only has the ruling party,
- consistently and automatically backed Israel, without regard for international law or human rights, with a speed that approaches the instantaneous, on whatever issue at whatever time even when the U.S. criticizes Israel, declaring its bias openly against Arab Canadians and their national organizations (and pulling their funding);
- acted on purely ideological grounds to ban foreign speakers from Canada, while playing host to war criminals such as George W. Bush on at least two occasions since he left office;
- declared, in absolutely upside down logic, that anti-Zionism is anti-Semitism and is an “existential threat” to the whole of “Western civilization”;
- not only has Minister Goodyear refused to confirm whether he believes in biological evolution — remember, this is a Minister for science, he famously stated: “I’m not going to answer that question. I am a Christian, and I don’t think anybody asking a question about my religion is appropriate”;
- Minister Goodyear cut research funding to the social sciences and reoriented more of the funding to favour business, in line with the ruling party’s ideological agenda;
but now Minister Goodyear also directly intervened to try to stop funding awarded for a conference, purely on political grounds, and at the behest of the Zionist lobby, and in a clear violation of academic freedom. This is the situation we are dealing with now. These actions and statements have been in public and are documented for anyone whose ideological blinkers are not so firmly nailed into their skulls that they cannot see any of this.
And to some extent, it is we academics, and the wider citizenry, that are to blame. As detailed and discussed in greater depth in my series of essays on SSHRC funding, the Federal Government has no constitutional right to be funding education, which is the domain of the Provinces. In setting up something like SSHRC, the Federal Government violates provincial jurisdiction, and overly centralizes research funding, thereby reducing any room for autonomy in local decision-making. If instead of mumbling and grumbling in private, as the majority of us do — now check how many articles or blog posts are “out there” by Canadian academics critical of SSHRC — we should be organizing. Funding for research should be managed by those who know what to do with it, and that means that any funds that the Federal Government has been accumulating from the Provinces, and directing into research funding, should instead be returned to the Provinces, whose universities should be the primary if not sole arbiters about how to distribute and manage research funds. It makes sense — which means it will likely never see the light of day. In the meantime, we continue to allow ourselves to be held hostage to funding that is aligned with state power that is itself aligned with a ruling party.
Let us look now at the latest episode from Extreme Canada, concerning political intervention designed to stop SSHRC Funding for Conference at York University, “Israel/Palestine: Mapping Models of Statehood and Paths to Peace,” beginning with those who complained about the conference, and responses from many academics in protest:
See the rest here, including letters of protest and then send your own if you want this country to be freed from the right wing dictators who have taken over the country in the guise of a minority government. And btw, if the Honourable Opposition was doing its job, this couldn’t happen.