U of O Watch mission, in the words of Foucault...

"One knows … that the university and in a general way, all teaching systems, which appear simply to disseminate knowledge, are made to maintain a certain social class in power; and to exclude the instruments of power of another social class. … It seems to me that the real political task in a society such as ours is to criticise the workings of institutions, which appear to be both neutral and independent; to criticise and attack them in such a manner that the political violence which has always exercised itself obscurely through them will be unmasked, so that one can fight against them." -- Foucault, debating Chomsky, 1971.

U of O Watch mission, in the words of Socrates...

"An education obtained with money is worse than no education at all." -- Socrates

video of president allan rock at work

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Six more IPC rulings released against the University of Ottawa, in the last two months


Between January 16, 2014, and March 11, 2014, six more rulings of the Information and Privacy Commissioner for Ontario have been released against the University of Ottawa.

No other university in Ontario has so many violations of access to information law.

Here is the list for that period alone:

Order PO-3294: University ordered to disclose all the records to the individual.

Order PO-3298: University ordered to require a named doctor to perform a search.

Order PO-3302: Adjudicator does not uphold the University's application for its exclusion on the alleged basis of "employment or labour relations".

Order PO-3312: University ordered to disclose 20 records that it was withholding.

Order PO-3314: University ordered to disclose 50% of the records that it was withholding.

Order PO-3318: University ordered to disclose all the responsive information in the withheld records.

To me, this suggests an institutional disregard for the law of access to information.

In my opinion, instead of using its discretion to promptly provide access to requested information, the university appears to be using constructive attempts to avoid its statutory obligations, and appears willing to fight lengthy and costly appeals to prevent being transparent with its students and the public.

It's not winning the appeals. But it is delaying fair access. Rather than using the law primarily to protect the privacy of individuals, the university is using the law to shield itself against needed institutional transparency.

As a result, individuals are being prevented from accessing their own personal information generated by and/or kept by the university, while others see their information improperly disclosed to political opponents.

Certainly an area where the U of O stands out. A culture of political-party-style management darkness coupled with irresponsible refusals to protect the information of its students and professors. For example, THIS, and THIS.

More to come before that particular culture changes... stay tuned.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Law student Paula Frawus has correctly gauged the mind and motives of president Allan Rock on rape-culture -- Opinion


In our opinion, this (below) media article shows that law student Paula Frawus has correctly gauged the mind and motives of president Allan Rock and his administration regarding primacy of image over substance:

Sexually explicit song on University of Ottawa law school field trip draws fire -- Ottawa Citizen, march 18, 2014

“It is disappointing that it takes involving the media to get a statement from the administration” Krawus said, adding that the statement is geared toward the media as opposed to the student body.
...
But according to Krawus, the university’s fear of attracting bad publicity trumps a stance against sexist behaviour.

“In failing to apologize in a timely manner, the message (the administration) is sending is: We’re afraid of attracting bad press,” says Krawus, adding that “the message should be: what happened will not be tolerated at school sanctioned events.”

Additionally, our opinion is that rather than asking the institution to impose a "this expression will not be tolerated" stance or rule, the adult law students could have talked it out on the bus ride back from the sugar bush, as a first step. If not sufficient, then the discontent students could search to implement more venues to continue the talking out of the matter, possibly asking for institutional resources in seeking out such venues. The university ombudswoman could be of some assistance here.

If professors or staff were involved, then there is a formal complaint process, which foresees mediation at an early stage.

We fail to see how a knee jerk reaction of calling for immediate institutional reprimand or sanctions, without making a significant effort to communicate in view of improving relations and working out differences, is productive.

Nonetheless, there is hope that Mr. Rock might eventually, with the help of his hand picked rape-culture advisory committee (which excludes all unions and associations of staff and students), come to understand that his primary role should be to enable communication and learning through inter-personal exchanges, rather than to create a facade, and to delay while the media crisis dissipates. (His public relations advisers, hired at corporate rates, regularly give him this advice, as access to information records have shown.)

Or the advisory committee might unfortunately make the usual canned recommendations of more and required classroom training and courses, with just the right "curriculum" and Power Point presentations?

We are in a nasty place when the students themselves ask for institutional controls on thought and expression, rather than primarily dedicate themselves to making the community through rich and intense (also risky) interpersonal exchanges of all sorts. In community, the question and practice of crass or vulgar language needs to be continually discussed and challenged in each of its inter-personal contexts, not regulated from above.

The institution has removed the physical spaces where such exchanges can spontaneously and routinely occur, and regulates posters, classroom access, physical disposition of furniture, etc. There are no true agoras on campus. The institution has segregated students into different programs of study, and created demanding yet sterile curricula. It appears that the institution has succeeded in atomizing us all when students themselves demand more rules that stifle social confrontation and protect individual isolation and group segregation.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Professor's union takes Rancourt arbitration to judicial review


The Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO) will challenge the Foisy arbitration of the university's unjust dismissal of Denis Rancourt by filing for judicial review before a panel of three judges of the Ontario Divisional Court.

The APUO's announcement was released on March 10, 2014, after careful consideration of the arbitration judgment, and reads:

The APUO is extremely disappointed in the decision rendered in Professor Denis Rancourt’s case. While the decision not only upheld the Employer’s unjust dismissal decision, the arbitrator also made some troubling statements concerning Academic Freedom which can have a profoundly negative impact on academics everywhere. APUO has filed for judicial review and will continue to work diligently on this case so the decision does not adversely affect the right to academic freedom of professors, librarians, and students in the university setting. (LINK)

This is the first time in APUO's history that an individual grievance is taken to judicial review. The Divisional Court is one of the busiest appellate courts in Canada, and it hears appeals from administrative tribunals such as labour arbitrations.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Grassroots community addresses rape culture at U of O -- U of O Watch comment

An ad hoc association of community members, union representatives, staff, and students has moved ahead and formed a campaign to address the rape culture at the University of Ottawa. It has produced eight recommendations for discussion, which are presented on its web site here:

http://www.uofo-lets-talk-about-it.org/
Click image for link to web site

There is also a petition to support this discussion.

One of the organizers, Anaïs Elboujdaïni, graduate student representative on the Board of Governors of the institution,was interviewed today on Radio Canada (CBC) about this initiative.

Ms. Elboujdaïni stated that students have been asking president Allan Rock to move on this issue for a long time. For example, there has been the concrete demand for a telephone help line, and other requests.

Ms. Elboujdaïni stated that the recommendations were meant for immediate discussion in view of implementing measures before the start of the new academic year, and before initiation week, whereas Allan Rock's advisory committee can be going on in parallel and will not produce changes prior to the new academic year.

U of O Watch hopes that a broad and inclusive discussion will occur in which open criticisms of the recommendations can be heard without being excluded by insurmountable accusations of rape apologism. We hope that a discussion about effective or counter-productive aspects of the actual implementations of any recommendations can be vibrant, free, and receptive.

There is a broad criticism of the related and relevant theoretical construct known as "critical race theory" which should be heard and considered.

Rules, regulations, norms of behaviour, detecting atitudes, and so on, in view of behavioural modification, including normative modification of expression, can be highly counter productive. This is evident already in many systems of behaviour and expression suppression, such as implemented by several religions, and the state education system itself.

Therefore, less rules and more debate between individuals of differing view points is the way to go. Rules should be designed solely to limit the harmful effects of institutional oppression of the individual, not to limit individual expression and political participation.

Let us look at the best societal outcomes of the 1960s. This creative, liberating, and unifying period was the result of rejecting rules and rejecting parenting by the institution, in favour of teach ins and sit ins. We need to rediscover our power to discuss and debate without exclusionism and mobbing. The present institutional (education, legal, government, police, employers, etc.) pressures are so great that the individual has become insecure and highly defensive. The same pressures are at the root of male predation and rape culture. It's a pressure cooker. We must find ways to alleviate the pressure, without relying on paternal "protections" from the very institutions that are causing the problems. We must take some democratic control of those very institutions to limit their oppressions of individuals.

Those are some of this author's concerns.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Supreme Court of Canada refuses to address judicial bias -- Complaint to UN Human Rights Committee to follow

In a judgement released today, three judges of the Supreme Court of Canada joined seven judges from two lower courts, in refusing to address an evidence-based complaint of apparent bias of a judge in the Ontario Superior Court of Justice.

As a result, the bias complaint was never heard on merits in a court of competent jurisdiction and the allegedly tainted rulings stand, even the rulings made by the judge after he recused himself for actual bias moving forward.

The Ontario Civil Liberties Association released THIS response:

Release: Supreme Court of Canada refuses to address judicial bias loophole

(OTTAWA, March 6, 2014) – The Supreme Court of Canada has refused today to close a loophole that allows judges to circumvent their duty to address complaints of bias made against them by litigants.
Three judges of the Court dismissed a leave to appeal regarding an egregious case of apparent bias. A judge of the Ontario Superior Court in Ottawa had a financial and emotional connection with a party in a lawsuit, and a family connection with the law firm representing that party. When the defendant in the lawsuit requested to bring a motion regarding the judge’s appearance of bias, the judge threatened him with contempt of court, then abruptly withdrew from the case. Previous decisions made by the judge still stand and have never been reviewed in light of the bias allegations.
The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) intervened both by providing material witness evidence about the judge’s in-court conduct, and by seeking intervener status to address the national importance of the matter before the Supreme Court. Its motion for leave to intervene was denied, as was the applicant’s leave to appeal.
This opens a new era within the Canadian legal system, where judges can circumvent their duty to directly address bias accusations against them, making it possible for a complaint of bias to never be heard on its merits before a court of competent jurisdiction.
OCLA is taking the necessary steps to make a complaint to the UN Human Rights Committee for violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, which guarantees an impartial court to every litigant in signatory countries.
About the Ontario Civil Liberties Association
OCLA is an organization formed to defend civil liberties at a time when fundamental freedoms are subjected to systemic erosion in all spheres of social life. OCLA opposes institutional policies and decisions that remove from the individual his or her personal liberty or exclude the individual from participation in the democratic functions of society.
Background: An Ontario superior court judge had strong personal, family, emotional, and contractual financial ties to a party intervening for the plaintiff in the case, and also to the law firm representing the party in court, and did not disclose any of these ties. This party was also the employer of the plaintiff in the lawsuit, and funded the plaintiff’s litigation. The judge was tasked with determining the propriety of the party’s funding of the plaintiff, which was done with public money. The judge’s ties made it inconceivable that he would rule against the party. When the defendant discovered the judge’s ties and presented the evidence, the judge lost decorum, threatened the defendant with contempt of court, and recused himself, but refused to consider whether there was an appearance of bias, and continued to release decisions. The judge’s in-court reaction and walkout further confirmed his ties with the party in the lawsuit. The defendant raised the matter with six more judges, up to the court of appeal, but all of them refused to duly consider and properly apply the facts. As a result, all the decisions of the judge in the impugned motion to end the action stand to this day, even the decisions he released after recusing himself. [From: the application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada of Dr. Denis Rancourt]

Allan Rock on rape culture at the University of Ottawa


Allan Rock has been silent and hiding from the media until today. His explanation is that "he had nothing to say until today", until today's press conference.

Michaëlle Jean essentially confirmed that there is a rape culture at the University of Ottawa, while clarifying that it is also a broader societal phenomenon.

Rock did not acknowledge any responsibility for the apparent rape culture at the school, and appeared to be in denial:

"Rock said he’s been involved with the school for over 50 years and recent events 'stand in shocking contrast' to what he’s experienced."(LINK)

Rock's answer is to create a "task force" that will make recommendations. There is no evidence of immediate interim measures, apart from having summarily suspended an entire hockey team.

Rock did not acknowledge the significant union and association joint efforts that have already occurred to address the crisis.

On the positive side, Rock appears to have received the student association message that academic sanctions for non-academic offenses will not be tolerated. Now he needs to tell his staff.

Anne-Marie Roy did not attend the press conference. No effort was made to expressly include the unions and associations as an integral part of any solution at the school. Corporate paternalism seems to be the order of the day.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Male witches burn a lot less frequently

[Original title: Response to "University of Ottawa statement on comments made about Student Federation President"]

University of Ottawa statement on comments made about Student Federation President

OTTAWA, March 1, 2014  —  The University of Ottawa is appalled by the recent online dialogue about Anne-Marie Roy, President of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa.

uOttawa President Allan Rock spoke with SFUO President Roy directly on Friday to offer the University’s support and committed to work with her to develop an appropriate response.

“The comments demonstrate attitudes about women and sexual aggression that have no place on campus, or anywhere else in Canadian society” said Mr. Rock.  “The University will work with our student President to ensure the situation is addressed properly.”

The University of Ottawa is committed to maintaining a campus that promotes respect for the dignity of every individual and a University community that is free from sexual harassment and discrimination.

Allan Rock has stepped-in to "work with her" to "develop an appropriate response", and to "ensure the situation is addressed properly".

“The comments demonstrate attitudes about women and sexual aggression that have no place on campus, or anywhere else in Canadian society” said Mr. Rock.

***

There appears to be no consideration given to the fact that this was a private exchange that was made public against the will of the participants, and that a large public mobbing ensued, which caused irreparable damage to four elected student representatives, who are being burned as witches that practice "rape culture". And Allan Rock wants to be seen as providing the stage. (media links)

If we start using extracted private exchanges (i) as a measure of success in our social engineering endeavors, and (ii) to identify those worthy of punishment and banishment, then we are headed straight into a totalitarian nightmare.

Your staging, Mr. Rock, does not address the root of the problem, and only drives us further down the wrong path. Open dialogue, without the fear of crippling material and status punishments, is what is needed, combined with less institutional oppression of the students all-round (who are bored to death by meaningless demands, and who dare not try to have a say).

Generating fear of expression and of having bad thoughts only makes things worst Mr. Rock. It is a mess you could have helped defuse but instead you joined and encouraged the mob. U of O is developing mobbing as the ultimate social betterment tool, under your enlightened leadership. What a mess.

It's not an election with branding points to be made Mr. Rock. It's a campus for learning. Is that so difficult to understand? You can't fight "rape culture" with campaigns and threats. You have to speak to the hearts of men. D - I - A - L - O - G - U - E.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Ontario Civil Liberties Association moves to intervene in Supreme Court application about unresolved judicial bias complaint


The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) has moved to intervene in the application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada of appellant Denis Rancourt, regarding an unresolved judicial bias complaint that is advanced as grounds to overturn a Court of Appeal for Ontario decision to dimiss Rancourt's appeal from a lower court motion to end a defamation action against Rancourt on the grounds of maintenance and champerty.

The OCLA has posted all the court documents about its motion to intervene (OCLA's motion, St. Lewis response, U of O response, Rancourt response, and OCLA's reply): HERE-LINK.

At one point in argument, counsel for St. Lewis, Mr. Richard Dearden, rejects OCLA's intervention on the basis that:

"It is submitted that any organization that subscribes to Founding Principles that support hate speech and expression about child pornography, genocide and slavery utterly fails to 'represent the broad interests of citizens' in Canada." [at paragraph 19 of St. Lewis's response]

The Founding principles of OCLA are HERE, and are in evidence before the Supreme Court.

Iconic public intellectual Noam Chomsky, on reading the founding principles, endorsed OCLA as:

“I am very pleased to learn of the Ontario Civil Liberties Association, and wish it the greatest success in its work, which could not be more timely and urgent as elementary civil rights, including freedom of speech, are under attack in much of the world, not excluding the more free and democratic societies.”

It appears that Mr. Dearden is stating, inter alia, that a civil liberties association that supports free expression on all topics, including taboo and sensitive topics, cannot possibly represent the broad interests of Canadians? Mr. Dearden often acts for clients defending freedom of the press.

***

All other posts about the application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada are: HERE, and HERE.

The summary of the application for leave to appeal is:
An Ontario superior court judge had strong personal, family, emotional, and contractual financial ties to a party intervening for the plaintiff in [the] case, and also to the law firm representing the party in court, and did not disclose any of these ties. This party was also the employer of the plaintiff in the lawsuit, and funded the plaintiff’s litigation. The judge was tasked with determining the propriety of the party’s funding of the plaintiff, which was done with public money. The judge’s ties made it inconceivable that he would rule against the party. When the defendant discovered the judge’s ties and presented the evidence, the judge lost decorum, threatened the defendant with contempt of court, and recused himself, but refused to consider whether there was an appearance of bias, and continued to release decisions. The judge’s in-court reaction and walkout further confirmed his ties with the party in the lawsuit. The defendant raised the matter with six more judges, up to the court of appeal [for Ontario], but all of them refused to duly consider and properly apply the facts. As a result, all the decisions of the judge in the lawsuit stand to this day, even the decisions he released after recusing himself.

--Summary, Memorandum of Argument, Application Book, page-34

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Trailer for new documentary film about Denis Rancourt



Filmmaker/Director/Producer: Peter Beisterfeld

Expected release date: Fall 2014

Many years of filming in several cities.

"Rancourt -- The Documentary" Facebook page LINK.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Supreme Court of Canada now has all documents in hand to fix Rancourt's unresolved judicial bias complaint


AN EARLIER POST describes Denis Rancourt's recent filing of an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, to fix a complaint of judicial bias.

The application gave rise to responses from the respondent Joanne St. Lewis and from the responding party University of Ottawa. Rancourt filed his replies to these responses today (February 3, 2014). The file is now nominally complete for a determination by a panel of three supreme court judges.

The St. Lewis response is posted HERE, or PDF.
The University of Ottawa response is posted HERE, or PDF.
Rancourt's replies are posted HERE, or PDF.

Rancourt essentially argues that if the Supreme Court of Canada refuses to grant an appeal, then Canada will have violated its international obligations to provide an impartial court in civil matters, pursuant to two international agreements:

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights
Article 10
Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights
Article 14(1)
1. All persons shall be equal before the courts and tribunals. In the determination of any criminal charge against him, or of his rights and obligations in a suit at law, everyone shall be entitled to a fair and public hearing by a competent, independent and impartial tribunal established by law. ...

Rancourt also argues that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms itself requires that the appeal on the basis of the judicial bias complaint must be heard, because, he argues, access to an impartial court is a Charter right of every individual by virtue of s. 15(1):

Every individual is equal before and under the law and has the right to the equal protection and equal benefit of the law without discrimination and, in particular, without discrimination based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, sex, age or mental or physical disability.

Rancourt points out that the French text of the Charter (s. 15(1)) is unambiguous on the guarantee of access to an impartial court:

La loi ne fait acception de personne et s’applique également à tous, et tous ont droit à la même protection et au même bénéfice de la loi, indépendamment de toute discrimination, notamment des discriminations fondées sur la race, l’origine nationale ou ethnique, la couleur, la religion, le sexe, l’âge ou les déficiences mentales ou physiques.


Court documents in the overall action and its appeals are HERE.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Arbitrator Claude Foisy rules that the University of Ottawa was justified in dismissing tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt

Denis Rancourt on campus in 2007-2008, file photo: La Rotonde

The University of Ottawa's 2009 dismissal of tenured physics professor Denis Rancourt has been upheld in a binding labour arbitration award released to the parties on January 28, 2014.

The full text of the 32-page decision is posted HERE (direct link to PDF file HERE).

A final paragraph in the arbitration award reads:

[105] Finally I want to note that I am in no way passing judgment on the value of Professor Rancourt’s teaching method, which calls for removing a student's stress by not grading. It may very well be that such a method of teaching results in improved learning for the Physics students. A number of researchers have written books on this teaching approach applied by Professor Rancourt. The University, however, has the right to decide and manage its institution in a manner in which students are objectively evaluated and graded comparatively one against the other. It has the right to determine that the grading method applied by its professors must conform to the general practice of universities which is the benchmark for determining the students' progression in their studies and for the attribution of bursaries and grants.

The first media report about the arbitration award is this one: Arbitrator upholds University of Ottawa’s firing of tenured professor -- Ottawa Citizen

The following report was written about the conflict by academic workplace mobbing expert Kenneth Westhues in 2009: Ottawa's dismissal of Denis Rancourt

Rancourt's 2011 description of the broader conflict is here: This is what targeting a dissident tenured professor looks like in Canada

TV-Ontario 2009 interview with Denis Rancourt about his teaching method and grading:

 

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

The 2013 IRON FIST award goes to Julie Beauchamp, most ruthless administrator of students, says SAC-SFUO

Julie Beauchamp, Telfer School of Management
Every year the Student Appeal Centre (SAC) of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa (SFUO) selects one U of O administrator to be named for, in the SAC-SFUO's opinion, being "ruthless", having "contempt for student rights", and displaying an "overall lack of fairness".

The opening paragraph of the 2013 award description reads (LINK-SFUO-web-site):

"After careful consideration among many contenders, the Student Appeal Centre of the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa awards the Iron Fist for the most unjust University of Ottawa Administrator to Julie Beauchamp, Director of Undergraduate Studies, Telfer School of Management. Ms. Beauchamp’s actions meet the criteria for the Iron Fist award which include ruthlessness, contempt for student rights, and overall lack of fairness in decision making." [Emphasis added.]

The SFUO award description details the SAC-SFUO's stated reasons for its choice of Ms. Beauchamp.

The past winners of the SAC-SFUO Iron Fist are Marie-Josée Berger (2011) and Thiery Giordano (2012).

U of O Watch welcomes all comments, including any full response from Ms. Beauchamp.

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Rancourt files application to Supreme Court to obtain his right to an impartial court


An Ontario superior court judge had strong personal, family, emotional, and contractual financial ties to a party intervening for the plaintiff in [the] case, and also to the law firm representing the party in court, and did not disclose any of these ties. This party was also the employer of the plaintiff in the lawsuit, and funded the plaintiff’s litigation. The judge was tasked with determining the propriety of the party’s funding of the plaintiff, which was done with public money. The judge’s ties made it inconceivable that he would rule against the party. When the defendant discovered the judge’s ties and presented the evidence, the judge lost decorum, threatened the defendant with contempt of court, and recused himself, but refused to consider whether there was an appearance of bias, and continued to release decisions. The judge’s in-court reaction and walkout further confirmed his ties with the party in the lawsuit. The defendant raised the matter with six more judges, up to the court of appeal [for Ontario], but all of them refused to duly consider and properly apply the facts. As a result, all the decisions of the judge in the lawsuit stand to this day, even the decisions he released after recusing himself.

--Summary, Memorandum of Argument, Application Book, page-34


Denis Rancourt has filed and served an application for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, for leave to appeal from the dismissal of his appeal at the Court of Appeal for Ontario, appealing from the lower court dismissal of his champerty motion to end the defamation action funded by the University of Ottawa with public money.

The full application book (with arguments and evidence), dated January 6, 2014, is posted HERE, and alternatively HERE.

The whole matter is very disturbing. The judge recused himself for real bias moving forward, while refusing to make a judicial determination of an apparent bias that would have negated all his past decisions, then continued releasing findings from the bench and written decisions after the events said to have caused his real bias. And seven judges have refused to make a proper consideration on merits of the complaint.

Rancourt is arguing that the Supreme Court of Canada has a Charter obligation to grant leave to appeal:

Thus, in the facts of this case, the applicant’s right to an impartial court has been infringed or denied in the courts below, such that s. 24 of the Charter can be satisfied, in application and principle, solely if the [Supreme] Court grants the instant leave to appeal. Without the Court’s intervention and express directives, the infringement or denial of the applicant’s right to an impartial court will stand without ever having been properly heard on merits, and the right to judicial impartiality will continue to be denied in Canada’s lower courts, by the same means as in the present case, and in other ways.

--Paragraph 41, Memorandum of Argument, Application Book, page-48


The Executive Director of the Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) has provided an affidavit in support of the application: See Application Book, starting at page-290.

OCLA also heads a campaign against the public funding of the defamation lawsuit, entitled: "Public Money is Not for Silencing Critics: University of Ottawa must end its financing of a private defamation lawsuit".

If an egregious and documented case of apparent bias of a judge cannot be properly heard on merits in any court, then there is something wrong in Canada. It would mean that we do not have the legal system that many imagine and hope that we have. 

Given the egregious and factual nature of this case, it would mean that circumventing complaints of judicial bias is a systemic problem in Canadian courts: If there is even only one Mack Truck in the living room then this necessarily implies that there is an entrance to the living room large enough to accommodate the truck's drive-in.

Court documents in the action and its appeals are HERE.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Crass language opportunism at uOttawa?

This recent media article, uOttawa cuts fees for international students studying in French, has two Francophone administrators of "Canada's university" -- Belgian Francophone Christian Detellier (VP-Academic) and Quebecois Francophone Gary Slater (Associate VP-International) -- explaining how the University of Ottawa has a statutory duty to help the Franco Ontarian population...

An Act respecting Université d'Ottawa: "to further bilingualism and biculturalism and to preserve and develop French culture in Ontario"

... and how the institution will accomplish this by lowering tuition fees to boost its numbers of international Francophone students... Which, we note, fits nicely into president Allan Rock's steadfast agenda to globalize the institution's mission, without doing anything for Franco Ontarians.

Meanwhile, there are virtually no professors of Franco Ontarian origin among the academic ranks, which the University has historically done little about. The institution has always chosen to import its French, rather than preserve and develop the French culture of Ontario, as it is mandated by the government to do.

The ideal policy assimilation tool of course is "official bilingualism", as is well understood in Quebec, and which has been another Allan Rock initiative for the University -- over which the former VP-Academic appears to have left the ship.

Then again, the Statute also directs "to further, in accordance with Christian principles, the intellectual, spiritual, moral, physical and social development of, as well as a community spirit among its undergraduates, graduates and teaching staff, and to promote the betterment of society."

Christian principles would have the University reduce tuition fees in accordance with financial need, not language or academic achievements, and certainly not to feed geoeconomic ambitions in Africa or elsewhere.

Such is the status of the assimilate (and globalize) versus protect debate at "Canada's university". It's a good name after all.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

St. Lewis v. Rancourt::: Rancourt files Factum and Motion Record to appeal costs in the champerty motion

Rancourt has filed his Factum and Motion Record to the Court of Appeal for Ontario for a motion for leave to appeal the costs in the champerty motion.

Rancourt's arguments that the $105,700.00 costs should be dismissed or reduced and/or delayed are (from the Factum):

10. The Appellant submits that the test of fairness and reasonableness for leave to appeal costs is amply satisfied, and that the impugned costs decision contains palpable and overriding errors of fact and law, including:

(a) the motions judge exceeded his jurisdiction by awarding costs to the University, which does not have party status, although given leave to file material but not to be awarded costs;

(b) costs for preparation of and attendance at five case conferences were awarded, contrary to binding case law;

(c) partial indemnity costs were awarded to the Plaintiff, in the absence of a need to indemnify, and raising the prospect of double recovery of costs;

(d) the motions judge did not recognize and did not consider ample evidence for the Defendant’s impecuniosity;

(e) in the circumstances of the defamation action, the awarded costs are inconsistent with Charter principles regarding the right to free expression, and definitively restrict the Defendant’s access to justice; and

(f) the quantum of costs ($105,700.00) for the one-day motion is excessive and contrary to the policy of partial indemnity.

Background documents:::

St. Lewis v. Rancourt::: Ottawa Citizen characterizes champerty motion as an "attempt to derail the lawsuit"

In its latest of many articles about the St. Lewis v. Rancourt lawsuit, the Ottawa Citizen newspaper has characterized Rancourt's champerty motion as an "attempt to derail the lawsuit", without reporting any of the arguments made by Rancourt in the champerty motion, or in the appeal of the champerty motion to the Court of Appeal for Ontario: LINK-to-Citizen-article.

The courts made no finding whatsoever that Rancourt's champerty motion was "an attempt to derail the lawsuit". Furthermore, the action is in case management by consent, which means that any unworthy motion is blocked from ever being filed.

The Ottawa Citizen has ventured into hyperbole based on a curt judgement by the Court of Appeal for Ontario, without reporting any of the facts or arguments, and without playing its role of critically assessing the court process. When this kind of media superficiality becomes the norm, there is no point having an open court system in Canada.

Background documents:::
  • 2013-05-09 Rancourt serves and files appeal to ONCA, to appeal the decision on the champerty motion: Factum and Appeal Book, HERE.
  • 2013-07-05 St. Lewis FACTUM for ONCA of champerty motion: StL-Factum-ONCA.
  • 2013-07-05 U of O FACTUM for ONCA of champerty motion: UofO-Factum-ONCA.

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Court of Appeal for Ontario finds no champerty: St. Lewis v. Rancourt

Osgoode Hall -- Court of Appeal for Ontario
The Court of Appeal for Ontario heard and decided the appeal of the champerty motion in the St. Lewis v. Rancourt case on November 8, 2013.

The Court dismissed the appeal without wanting to hear the responding parties (St. Lewis and University of Ottawa), and ordered costs against the Appellant (Rancourt).

The responding parties asked for "partial indemnity" costs of $29,950.66 (St. Lewis) and $19,890.75 (U of O), almost $50,000.00. They got $20,000.00 and $15,000.00, respectively. The costs decision was made immediately after the endorsement (i.e., written decision/reasons) for dismissing the appeal was read by Justice Alexandra Hoy, Associate Chief Justice of Ontario.

Rancourt spoke in French, which was translated for the two responding lawyers, Richard Dearden (representing St. Lewis) and Peter Doody (representing the University of Ottawa).

During Rancourt's presentation to the Court, which lasted approximately 35 minutes, he made the following arguments, and other points.


A.    The University and St. Lewis have a champertous agreement, which is against the law in Ontario

[A champertous agreement is one where the maintaining party pays the legal costs of the plaintiff in order to share in the proceeds of the action.]

Key and undisputed facts are:
  1. The University is paying all the legal costs of the Plaintiff (St. Lewis).
  2. The Plaintiff has the written intention to give half of the punitive damages obtained from the action to the University.
 The Ontario statute An Act Respecting Champerty prescribes:
"All champertous agreements are forbidden, and invalid."

Therefore, lower court Justice Smith made an error contradicting the law, in being silent on Rancourt's request that the champertous maintenance be ordered terminated.

COURT: The Court found that there was not a champertous agreement since (the uncontradicted sworn evidence of the Plaintiff and of university president Allan Rock is that) the Plaintiff unilaterally decided to give punitive damages proceeds to the University.


B.    A lower court judicial bias complaint was never heard on its merits and is a ground for appeal

Rancourt sought to have a motion for reasonable apprehension of bias of lower court Justice Beaudoin judicially determined on its merits. The lower court circumvented this motion from ever being heard. A lower court leave to appeal to the Divisional Court was denied by leave judge Justice Annis.

Since the Supreme Court of Canada has determined that a bias complaint is heard either at the lower court when it is made, or on appeal, and since the champerty motion is tainted with bias, the reasonable apprehension of bias of Justice Beaudoin is a ground for appeal.

The enumerated evidence for reasonable apprehension of bias of Justice Beaudoin included (see affidavit of evidence HERE-LINK):
  1. A terms of reference contract between the judge and the University of Ottawa, for a scholarship fund in the name of the judge's son.
  2. A boardroom named after the judge's son at the BLG lawfirm, which represents the University.
  3. A media article, recognized by the judge on the court record, in which the judge expresses the personal and emotional importance that he attributes to the scholarship fund, and to the boardroom at BLG.
  4. The fact that the judge recused himself rather than accept his responsibility to determine the reasonable apprehension of bias question, by alleging bad behaviour of the Defendant (Rancourt), in the way the request to bring the bias complaint was made, without taking action to correct the alleged bad behaviour.
  5. The fact that the judge threatened the Defendant (Rancourt) with contempt of court (a criminal charge), if Rancourt continued to advance his request, his argument.
  6. The fact that at no time prior to the hearing at which the judge recused himself did the judge mention his ties to the University of Ottawa or the BLG lawfirm.
  7. Other affidavit evidence (LINK).
Therefore, Rancourt argued to the Court of Appeal: If it is permitted for a judge hearing a request for determination of a reasonable apprehension of bias to recuse himself without making the determination, and for the given reason of the behaviour of the requester in making the request, then we have crossed a line into a new and dangerous territory where the integrity of the court is threatened.


COURT: The Court of Appeal found that since the lower court leave judge, Justice Annis, had denied leave by finding in his reasons that this was not a case where reasonable apprehension of bias could possibly arise, the Court did not need to consider the ground of reasonable apprehension of bias.


C.    The Plaintiff decided to sue after she was granted the University's funding of her lawsuit

Rancourt presented several streams of evidence, which the lower court had denied as not admissible on incorrect technical grounds (and/or apparently ignored), showing, he argued, that the Plaintiff (St. Lewis) decided to sue only after the University funding was granted without limit and without conditions.

This is vital because, in establishing the abuse of maintenance, prior intent to sue is determinative, Rancourt argued, based on case law.

For example, Rancourt read a February 14, 2011 email from St. Lewis to university president Allan Rock, about the February 11, 2011 blogpost that is at the center of the defamation lawsuit (see Factum HERE-LINK):

Hi there Allan,
I make it a practice to delete the communications from Mr. Rancourt and have done that in this case. It has spared me a great deal of aggravation in the past.
Do let me know if you want me to do anything. I will happy to fit into whatever strategy you decide but until then I intend to make no comment.
Do take care,
Joanne

COURT: The Court of Appeal found that the lower court judge had plenty/sufficient evidence to conclude that there was no maintenance and champerty. The Court did not state whether or not the denied evidence would have made a difference.

For more links to background documents (e.g., all Facta) go HERE-LINK.
For all the court-filed documents in the whole case go HERE-LINK.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Court of Appeal for Ontario November 8, 2013 hearing: St. Lewis v. Rancourt

Courtroom at the Court of Appeal for Ontario

The appeal hearing of Defendant/Appellant Denis Rancourt's "champerty motion" will be heard:

  • Starting at 10:30 am, scheduled for 50 minutes.
  • Friday, November 8, 2013
  • Court of Appeal for Ontario (Osgoode Hall), 130 Queen Street West, Toronto
  • Courtroom #1 (or as indicates under "St.Lewis v. Rancourt" on the bulletin board in the main entrance)

The three-judge panel will be composed of:
Justice Robert A. Blair
Justice Alexandra Hoy, Associate Chief Justice of Ontario
Justice Robert J. Sharpe

The "champerty motion" was a motion to end the $1 million private defamation lawsuit, on the grounds of abuse of process because the University of Ottawa is funding the Plaintiff/Respondent's private defamation lawsuit, while the Plaintiff plans to give half of any punitive damages awarded in the defamation lawsuit to a scholarship fund of the University of Ottawa.

The "champerty motion" was dismissed by the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario (lower court) in this judgement: 2013 ONSC 1564

The latter lower court judgement is now being appealed.

Court documents for the appeal are here:
  • 2013-05-09::: Rancourt serves and files appeal to ONCA, to appeal the decision on the champerty motion: Factum and Appeal Book, HERE.
  • 2013-07-05::: St. Lewis FACTUM for ONCA of champerty motion: StL-Factum-ONCA.
  • 2013-07-05::: U of O FACTUM for ONCA of champerty motion: UofO-Factum-ONCA.

The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) objects to the funding by the University of Ottawa of the Plaintiff's private defamation lawsuit using public money: LINK-OCLA-page: "Public Money is Not for Silencing Critics".

Main AF.ca page about the St. Lewis v. Rancourt case: HERE.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Saudi doctors lose appeal of dismissal of University of Ottawa lawsuit -- media article, judgement, and commentary

Dr. Khalid Aba-Alkhail (left), and Dr. Waleed AlGhaithy

The Ottawa Citizen has reported this short story: HERE.

The actual Court of Appeal for Ontario judgement is HERE.

Well there you have it. The claimants were simply never allowed to be heard in the Ontario courts regarding how they were treated by University of Ottawa administrators. Plain and simple denial of access to justice. Straight up. Is anybody paying attention?

The "Neuroleaks" emails constitute a textbook example of evidence for bad faith, of the type that should be written up in law school curricula, yet the "Neuroleaks" evidence was not known by the claimants until after all the internal University tribunals were done, yet the Ontario courts "found" (that's the legal term) that all the evidence was considered by the internal University tribunals... Both the Superior Court of Justice for Ontario and the Court of Appeal for Ontario "found" (by some process that defies reality) that all the evidence had already been considered by the internal University tribunals. No it had not. Just look at the documents filed with the courts, or the fact that a motion was won by the claimants in judicial review at the Divisional Court to introduce the new "Neuroleaks" evidence after the internal University tribunals were done, or all of this chronologically reported in the media, the same media that do not hiccup at this latest October 18, 2013 Court of Appeal judgement:

[13] Finally, the appellants argued that the trial judge erred in finding that they are relying on the same facts as in the discipline proceedings. They pointed to certain emails that they say were either not before the tribunals or not taken into account by them because there was nothing the tribunals could use them for. This position was disputed by the respondent.

To this observer, this means that the courts can and do make up the facts. In addition, the media and legal researchers clearly don't scrutinize the courts! What's the point of having a so-called open court principle in Canada if no one dares to scrutinize the darn courts? Incredible.

Well, HERE, again, is a copy of some of these "Neuroleaks" emails. Judge for yourselves. Read the six emails at that link. If your hair does not stand on end, then you are pathologically cynical. How the judges could have overlooked such administrative misbehaviour (that is putting it very politely) which ended the careers of a star neurosurgeon (weeks from being certified) and of two interns in cardiology, is, well, not what one expects in a free and democratic society.

The behaviour of the courts in Ontario, in this case, has the effect of condoning the egregious behaviours of administrators at the University of Ottawa, and it produces a striking denial of access to justice in which claimants, whose careers were ruined, are simply never heard on the full evidence and on the merits of their arguments.

The claimants never had their day in court. We must ask the question: Is that because they are Saudi?

Ontariariario!

L'ancien professeur [Rancourt] condamné à payer 100 000 $ d'indemnités -- La Rotonde (French media)


L'ancien professeur condamné à payer 100 000 $ d'indemnités (LINK)
Marc-André Bonneau, La Rotonde, 21 octobre 2013

Extract:

Un procès financé par l’argent public
Les frais juridiques de la plaignante sont assumés par l’Université. Allan Rock a alloué un budget sans limite au procès, situation que l’Association des libertés civiles de l’Ontario (ALCO) a dénoncée. L’ALCO a lancé une campagne publique intitulée « Public Money is Not for Silencing Critics », qui a dénoncé qu’il « n’est pas éthique d’un point de vue de la liberté académique, que l’Université s’engage à protéger » le fait que l’administration finance cette poursuite pour diffamation contre M. Rancourt. [...] [article entié ici]

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Canadian Centre for Ethics in Public Affairs article discusses defamation law in our society


Keeping criticism honest and civil (LINK)

By Professor Mark Mercer, CCEPA blog, On October 16, 2013

Extract from the article:
I think that the mechanism by which to keep comment and criticism honest and civil is comment and criticism itself. When someone speaks a falsehood about one, speak the truth back. Expose the other’s shoddy evidence or reasoning. When insulted, note that an insult isn’t evidence or argument against one, or even a criticism.

If it is false that you acted as a house negro, explain to the world that you didn’t. If you are upset by a phrase or a tone, criticise publicly the use of that phrase or tone. If you didn’t lie, expose the lie that you did. This all can be done easily and effectively without employing a single lawyer.

There are at least two worries about the strength of this mechanism. One is that people are credulous and won’t respond to the truth, especially if they like the falsehood or it gets repeated. The other is that not many people have access to a medium through which to tell their side of the story.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

University of Ottawa spirals down world university rankings -- media report


University of Ottawa spirals down world university rankings (LINK)
By Don Butler, OTTAWA CITIZEN October 3, 2013

U of O Watch comment: In two years the U of O has fallen 14 places from 171st to 185th towards the 200 mark cutoff. It is now only 15 places from falling out of the top-university ranking. This ranking system puts emphasis on "international outlook", rather than prioritizing student experience.

The U of O ranks 10th out of 15 in Canada in its category according the the Macleans 2013 ranking (same rank as last year). The Macleans ranking puts emphasis on factors relating to student experience.

This blogger thinks the U of O should mind its business at home and concentrate on taking care of its students rather than peddle an "international outlook", which has been the focus of the Rock administration, while student satisfaction remains unacceptably low and unchanging.

Latest legal turn in the U of O "Neuroleaks" saga: Lower court costs decision reported in the media


Saudi doctors who sued University of Ottawa ordered to pay $90,000 in legal costs (LINK)
By Don Butler, Ottawa Citizen October 7, 2013

OTTAWA — Three Saudi doctors whose lawsuit seeking $156 million in damages from the University of Ottawa was thrown out earlier this year have been ordered to pay the university and 10 other defendants $90,000 plus GST in legal costs. (Continue reading...)

The "Neuroleaks" e-mails from the Chairman of Neurosurgery, Richard Moulton, and others conspiring to dismiss Dr. AlGhaithy for making a previous complaint are stored here: LINK. These emails were in evidence in the case. They are worth the read!

Former prof Denis Rancourt ordered to pay $100,000 legal cost in libel case -- Ottawa Citizen


Former prof Denis Rancourt ordered to pay $100,000 legal cost in libel case (LINK)
By Don Butler, OTTAWA CITIZEN October 8, 2013

OTTAWA — Former University of Ottawa professor Denis Rancourt must pay about $100,000 in legal costs after his motion to halt a $1-million libel suit filed against him by another professor was dismissed earlier this year. (Continue reading...)

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Carleton University and the University of Ottawa are the worst universities in Canada for free expression -- JCCF 2013 Report

The Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF) released its annual report "The State of campus Free Speech in 2013" (the "2013 Report") on September 24, 2013. JCCF President John Carpay presented the report and its key findings at a public press conference held in Ottawa last night, at the National Archives of Canada building on Wellington Street.

Out of 45 public universities in Canada studied, Carleton University and the University of Ottawa stand out in the 2013 Report as the two worst universities in Canada for free expression (see JCCF News Release).

The individual assessment about the University of Ottawa is on pages 173-180 of the 251-page 2013 Report. The main incidents described in the 2013 Report and which led to the U of O's failing grade (F) for its practices relevant to free expression are:
  • the 2010 Ann Coulter fiasco managed behind the scenes by Allan Rock (link) (link)
  • the 2009 banning by the Rock administration of a student Israeli Apartheid Week poster (link)
  • the 2008 Rock administration's refusal to continue hosting Cinema Politica on campus (link)
  • the 2007 administration's interferences with Canadian Friends of Burma campus event (link)
The grading criteria used were objective and are explained in the 2013 Report.

The 2013 Report also points to a plethora of regressive U of O university policies affecting free expression, for which a grade of "D" was attributed.

The student union at U of O (the SFUO) obtained a grade of "D" but was not cited as one of the worst student unions in Canada.


Thursday, August 29, 2013

OCLA calls on U of O to end its financing of a private defamation lawsuit


The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) has posted a position statement on its website, entitled:

Public Money is Not for Silencing Critics
University of Ottawa must end its financing of a private defamation lawsuit  (LINK)

As part of its campaign, OCLA has written to Allan Rock (link), and to Nathalie Des Rosiers (link).

Allan Rock and Lloyd Axworthy want an R2P war in Syria

Commentary on -- Looking back at Kosovo can move the Syria conflict forward, By Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock, Special to The Globe and Mail, Aug. 26 2013

Allan Rock has the pet project, among other such pet projects, to use his position as president of the University of Ottawa, to promote the "doctrine" of Responsibility to Protect (R2P) as a preferred pretext for geopolitical wars.

His latest enthusiastic call, with Lloyd Axworthy, for an illegal war in Syria is sickening. Is the Globe and Mail looking to be part of a Liberal Machine come back?

You have to read this stuff to believe it:

What strengthens the hand of the President ["the President", not "the US President"?] and others who must plan these steps is that in 2005, subsequent to the Kosovo intervention, UN member states unanimously adopted the principle of Responsibility to Protect or “R2P”, establishing the basis for international action to prevent or stop the wholesale murder of innocent people by their governments. The principle that holds that military action, as a last resort, is justified to protect civilian populations from mass murder, provided that the force used is proportionate to the threat, likely to succeed and unlikely to cause more harm than good. R2P has been reaffirmed more than once since 2005 by the General Assembly and continues to enjoy wide-spread support. It was the basis for the successful UN/NATO intervention in Libya. ["successful"? As in all-out war and total destruction of an advanced society?]

R2P can and should be used as the basis for action in Syria. Although the 2005 agreement contemplated a Security Council resolution authorizing military intervention, member states surely did not intend that urgent humanitarian responses would be hostage to vetoes unreasonably exercised out of self-interest by one or more of the permanent five Council members. The very purpose of R2P is that we should all protect innocent lives without reference to purely national interests or crass political gamesmanship. [Wow. Mr. Rock is giving us a lesson on "crass political gamesmanship", and using the allegation to circumvent UN checks on war. It's just amazing.]

Just this summer, a blue ribbon group of Americans co-chaired by Madeleine Albright, former Secretary of State, and Richard Williamson, former Sudan envoy under President George W. Bush, urged the inclusion of R2P as a key element in American foreign policy. Their bipartisan recommendation, based on rigorous analysis [of the kind displayed in this article?], answers those who advocate inaction because mass atrocities abroad “do not engage America’s national interests”. Albright’s proposal, like R2P itself, puts our response ["our" response? US = Canada?] to mass suffering and killing on a higher plane than conventional power politics.

I'm all for putting "mass suffering and killing on a higher plane than conventional power politics", but, forgive me for saying so, I just don't think that trillion-dollar war machines controlled by "power politics", freed from the nuisance of UN constraints, are instruments that can help achieve this "higher plane".

I'm also having some trouble taking Mr. Axworthy and Mr. Rock seriously here. I mean their logic is impeccable as always, but maybe some university-funded independent research on the "cause more harm than good" idea in actual war zones would be in order? After all, there are enough field areas to study. 

The final words in the article are about "our" war against Syria:

President Obama is right in looking to Kosovo as a model in Syria. It's now up to friends, allies, and all those who seek a world of justice to urge him on, and to offer their support.

When the students wanted to get faculty approval for an activism course at the University of Ottawa, they proposed the course code "SCI 1984". The course code was not allowed, and the course was only allowed to be given a single time in 2006, but it now seems the proposed course code was foreshadowing the immediate future of the institution, as it was about to embark in the Allan Rock experiment.

The Globe and Mail published some critical responses to the Axworthy-Rock piece, such as (LINK):

Here we go again. An atrocity is rashly and prematurely blamed on a sovereign government, forming the pretext for a “humanitarian” intervention, violating international law, so the West can illegally and one-sidedly intervene in a civil war to replace the “rogue” government with a more “Western-friendly” one. Do Western leaders honestly think we are this naive?

Michael Pravica, Henderson, Nev.

.......

Lloyd Axworthy and Allan Rock only remember Responsiblity to Protect when it seems likely to contribute to regime change desired by the Western powers, and when UN-supported intervention is unlikely (Intervene In Syria? Look To The Kosovo Model – Aug. 27). To the credit of our own government, Canada has not supplied arms to either side. The goal should be a negotiated peace, not exacerbation of the bloodletting.

Edwin Daniel, Victoria

.......

The use of R2P requires UN Security Council agreement before military intervention can be authorized. Mr. Axworthy and Mr. Rock dismiss this requirement by suggesting that UN member states “did not intend” that urgent humanitarian responses be held hostage to vetoes by a member of the Security Council. But, of course, this is precisely what the UN’s founders did want, otherwise there would not have been a UN.

They go on to argue that the bombing of Serbia in 1999 is the model to be followed for resolving the Syrian dilemma. Yet NATO’s unilateral intervention in Serbia was done in clear violation of the UN Charter and a violation of international law. It is now clear that intervention had little to do with humanitarian concerns and everything to do with giving NATO a reason to exist.

James Bissett, Ottawa, former Canadian ambassador to Yugoslavia

Monday, August 26, 2013

U of O law professor Amir Attaran calls on law society to discipline Peter MacKay


Peter MacKay Misleading Canadians By Saying Trudeau Broke Law, Professor Says (link)

"It is unprofessional for any lawyer — and reprehensible when the lawyer is also the Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada — to mislead the public about the state of Parliament’s laws," Attaran wrote.

How many law professors have the guts to do that? Not many. This is the kind of independent thinking and action that can only improve the reputation of the school. Hopefully, graduates will follow the example. (Attaran's example! Not Trudeau's, not MacKay's.)

Saturday, August 24, 2013

University of Ottawa professor criminal charges dismissed

University of Ottawa professor acquitted of threatening to kill director (link)

My comment to this, based only on the article, is that this sounds like an obscene over-reaction by a departmental chairman, to hearsay, that the university administration was happy to capitalize on. My guess is that the university wants to get rid of this professor, or at least is exploring how doable that would be.

Call me paranoid, but there is no way this small stuff should ever get this far. Cancelling classes and barring a professor from campus based on such nonsense. Waaa. And why was there even an interest in prosecuting with a criminal charge?

Welcome to Allan Rock's world. The university could have informed the prosecutor that it was of the position that there was no public benefit to pursue the charges, as it has done in the past (link).

Monday, August 19, 2013

Worth of uOttawa journalism degree, university Senate intervenes

The University of Ottawa suspended admission to its journalism program this fall after an internal report to the university’s senate in May 2012, found the program to be ‘profoundly troubled’ and even damaging to the reputation of the university.
 
University of Ottawa suspends admission to journalism program

By Elizabeth Payne and Meghan Hurley, OTTAWA CITIZEN, August 14, 2013

 By Natascia Lypny, OTTAWA CITIZEN, August 14, 2013

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Profs at the University of Ottawa vote 82% in favor of strike mandate

From the professors' union web site, regarding today's strike vote:

APUO VOTES MASSIVELY IN FAVOUR OF A STRIKE MANDATE

Members have voted 82% in favour of authorizing the Executive Committee to call a strike if necessary. 691 ballots were cast, 563 voted “Yes,” 127 voted “No,” with one spoiled ballot.

The APUO remains committed to negotiating a fair deal that promotes the quality of education and fair working conditions at the university. Mediation is scheduled for August 3rd and 4th.

We sincerely thank our members, our union partners on campus, and student associations for this strong show of support.

Sincerely,
The Executive Committee

Profs' union at U of O files application to the Ministry of Labour: Seeks an order and award of damages

The University of Ottawa is arguably experiencing its most tense labour relations circumstances in its institutional history. The professors' union finds itself forced to sue the institution in order to recover the rule of law...

On July 29, 2013, the professors' union (APUO) had this to say to its members:

Dear APUO members,

Throughout these negotiations, the APUO believes that the employer has acted in many ways that contravene both the spirit and the letter the Ontario Labour Relations Act. Such actions have included stating false information; refusing to share data they are legally obligated to release; communicating in ways that constitute attempts to negotiate directly with the membership; and now, seeking to intimidate members in order to influence the strike mandate vote planned for July 31.

Since the beginning of this process, it has been clear to the APUO that the employer has been using its vast institutional resources to wage a battle against members and the APUO. Up to this point, the APUO has assumed that members would prefer that we focus on negotiations rather than use the legal system to respond to the employer’s unacceptable actions. We had also hoped that, even if the employer continued its dishonourable actions, it would have at least ceased the ones we believe to be unlawful.

As you all know by now, this has not been the case. With its communications on Thursday and Friday of last week, the APUO can no longer ignore the issue. Peter Simpson (one of CAUT’s most seasoned advisers with more than 20 years experience) said that the employer’s communication was “unprecedented” in his experience, and that “it is hard to read it as something other than an attempt to interfere in the union’s credibility and its communications with its members ahead of a strike vote”.

Therefore, this morning the APUO has responded in the only way possible under the Ontario labour law. We have filed an application to the Ministry of Labour requesting that it (a) investigate the employer’s violations of the Ontario Labour Relations Act; (b) force the employer to disclose information required by the APUO for bargaining and insist that the employer respect the law regarding its communications; and (c) award the APUO damages to compensate for the employer’s illegal activity. You can find more detailed information about this in the Bargaining Bulletin #9.
and continued HERE.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

U of O linked to a benefactor with neo-Nazi ties

In 2009, following a series of show panels personally organized and hosted by university president Allan Rock, there was to be a comprehensive "donor recognition" policy at the University of Ottawa. The President's promise went like this:

"Diane Davidson, our Vice-President, Governance, will be preparing a draft policy and sending it out for consultation and reactions in the weeks to come. We will be looking for your opinion and suggestions, so that we can develop and adopt a policy that is in the best interests of the University."(LINK)

To our knowledge, no such policy was ever brought to the university community for "consultation and reactions". Instead, the President's entire originally public web-site (http://www.president.uottawa.ca) is now locked and only accessible via a password.

Here it was, as reported on October 14, 2009, by the student newspaper The Fulcrum:

U of O President Allan Rock mentioned that a committee will be created to address the issue. It will be in charge of coming up with guidelines on how to deal with recognition and encouraging transparency through student and community involvement. [really?]

According to Rock, a donation needs to be extremely generous for the amount of time a name is kept on a building. [umm humm, and how generous does it need to be to be an anonymous donation...?]

In an email to the Fulcrum, Beaulière [elected graduate student executive member] reinforced his thoughts on donor recognition.

“One thing was clear at the end of the panel discussion: it is high time the University of Ottawa adopts a policy that will render the naming process transparent, truly collegial, as well as representative of the values of its community.” [Comments by UofOWatch]

Not only was a proper policy for donors and benefactors not transparently developed and adopted, but, instead, all this was followed, in 2010, by a "U of O anonymous research chair for ethical management", no less.

Now, recently, it has come to light in a CBC media report that the University of Ottawa, under President Allan Rock's watch, has a benefactor who allegedly had intimate ties with a large US neo-Nazi organization:

American neo-Nazi group to get part of Ottawa exhibit (link)
CBCNews, June 29, 2013

Indeed, the benefactor willed a $1 million collection housed in the University of Ottawa classical antiquity museum to the said neo-Nazi organization, which theorizes about creating an all-white society without Jews and non-whites.

Following the media disclosure, according to the CBC video, the University stated that "the collection can be packed up and removed whenever [the lawyer executing the will] wants".

President Rock had a good initiative back in 2009, to create a donor policy with ethical guidelines and transparency, then he suddenly abandoned this important consultation, and then his president's web site and his personal "Rock Talk" blog went into hiding, it would seem? (The contents of these sites can no longer be accessed by the public.)

The end result for U of O is no policy and no transparency. More and more it looks like any money will do, with any degree of secrecy wanted.

Would it not be time for a thorough independent and transparent review of donors, benefactors, and partners of the University of Ottawa? The public, alumni, staff, and students are entitled to know all the contracts, terms of reference, and deals that tie the publicly funded institution to outside money. No?

Along those lines, what is the "University of Ottawa Foundation" and what does it do? How is its mission linked to the University's statutory obligations? Where are its annual audit reports on the U of O web site?

Why did Mr. Rock decide in 2009 to change his course and instead to gamble with the institution's reputation by not transparently developing an ethical donor and benefactor policy, which the entire University community (including himself?) wanted? What's up with that?