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

Monday, March 15, 2010

Human rights judge spied on university students – National civil rights association director covers it up

New records have been released.

The UofOgate is disturbing enough even as the access to information (ATI) battle rages on but now the plot really thickens. LINK TO ALL POSTS about UofOgate.

One of the student victims of the University of Ottawa covert information gathering campaign of 2006-2008 against student politicians, student activists, and one professor has obtained and released ATI records.

These new records are damning for both the student spy (former science student and student journalist/editor Maureen Robinson, aka Nathalie Page) and the university officials who supervised the spying

  • Dean of the Faculty of Science André E. Lalonde
  • Former Legal Counsel Michelle Flaherty

but also for those who supervised the supervisors

  • Former VP-Academic Robert Major

and who appear to be participating in the cover up

  • President Allan Rock
  • VP-Governance Diane Davidson
  • Former VP-Governance and FIPPA Coordinator Pamela Harrod
  • Former VP-Governance Nathalie Des Rosiers
  • Legal Counsel Alain Roussy
  • Human Resources Assistant Director Jean-Yves Leduc
  • Former Human Resources Director Louise Pagé-Valin

Nathalie Des Rosiers is now General Council (i.e., director) of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA), while presumably retaining her salary from the University of Ottawa; whereas Michelle Flaherty is now a Vice Chair (i.e., judge) at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO).

The CCLA has been asked to investigate Nathalie Des Rosiers regarding several alleged civil rights abuses: LINK.

For this post, consider just two specific newly released ATI documents and their implications.

Recall that it has already been established that student journalist Maureen Robinson was hired by the University of Ottawa as “agent of Legal Counsel”, working directly under Flaherty, to covertly gather information (SEE REPORTS AND DOCUMENTS HERE). But it’s always nice to actually see their correspondence, as revealed pursuant to ATI law.


DOC-3 (LINK) is an email exchange dated March 12, 2008 (severed pursuant to ATI law). Here we see a detailed report by the student spy about a student political event: An all candidates’ debate for the Graduate Student Association Études Diplômée (GSAED).

Note that the subject line is marked “privileged and confidential”, as were all communications between Maureen Robinson and Flaherty. “Privileged” communications in law are protected under solicitor-client confidentiality. The University argued that all Robinson-Flaherty communications were protected in this way by virtue that Robinson was a hired “agent of Legal Counsel” (see REPORT). A web law dictionary (under)states “Privileged communications are controversial because they exclude relevant facts from the truth-seeking process.”

In the exchange (DOC-3), former Legal Counsel Flaherty appears to be enjoying the report, as she states:

“I’m laughing out loud-- I’ll miss the severin updates. Thanks [XXX].”

This shows that there were several updates, that Legal Counsel received them and commented them (severed parts), and that the reports were precisely about student politics in anticipation for elections and possible student political pressure for the activism course (SCI 1101). Another document from Robinson appears to be a transcript from a voice recording of the GSAED event, with lengthy quotes from student politician “severin”.

Flaherty “will miss the reports…” She left to take up her new HRTO position on or around March 31, 2008.


DOC-8 (LINK) is an email exchange dated March 5, 2008 (severed pursuant to ATI law).

Recall that student spy Maureen Robinson used a false Facebook identity (Nathalie Page) to infiltrate student activist electronic lists and discussion groups (see REPORT).

Well, here you have it: An email presumably from “Nathalie Page” (severed but the ATI request was for Maureen Robinson only) with Maureen Robinson as a recipient, along with Flaherty and the ever-present Dean of Science.

It starts: “Hi, it’s [XXX]. Haha.”

The exchange also contains a forwarded email from a private activist student Google Group (“Reinstate the Activism Course”) that Robinson was not a member of but that “Nathalie Page” was allowed to join (see REPORT).

This appears to show that both the Dean of Science and Legal Counsel Flaherty knew that Maureen Robinson was using a false identity to infiltrate activist student groups in order to provide them information while acting as “agent of Legal Counsel”. Ah if only the severing could be uncovered and all the communications were released…

In addition, DOC-8 shows the student spy informing the Dean of Science and Legal Counsel that she is using her media connections to attempt to secure a voice recording of a coming talk by the spied-on professor at a student conference to be help at UBC. It would not be the only time: LINK. (It should not take an Independent Committee of Inquiry to see that this is a violation of the legal principle of academic freedom.)

It seems to us that the Dean of Science should explain himself. There is enough smoke from this smoking gun to fill a mineralogy lab.

Maybe an investigation by The Law Society of Upper Canada would be in order? After all, Canadian lawyers have some of the strongest professional ethics rules in the land: LINK. In particular, lawyers have 100% professional responsibility for their juniors; that would be the “agent of Legal Counsel” we presume…?

We have asked both Lalonde and Flaherty to correct or comment on our reports: Neither has replied.

Maureen Robinson has repeatedly denied everything to the media: LINK-1, LINK-2, MORE-MEDIA. Well at least she did not directly threaten a libel lawsuit as did her former student editor colleague Appleyard: LINK.

When will the Ottawa Citizen cover these matters? It was eager to please Allan Rock with “editorial support” in the dismissal of the spied-on professor but it has not touched UofOgate? Not news worthy? Humm. Maybe if its publisher, James Orban, got off his seat at the University of Ottawa Board of Governors?

[Photo: Michelle Flaherty, Vice Chair, HRTO]

Postscript: Nathalie Des Rosiers provided a response (on April 20, 2010) which is posted ON THIS PAGE: HERE. Denis Rancourt's reply to Nathalie Des Rosiers is posted HERE.


Peter Biesterfeld said...


John Lee, Hollywood winner said...

Our former sheriff and mayor brags in news stories that he was a spy at University of Tennessee in Knoxville, infiltraiting anti-war groups during Vietnam Wars. Scarabbean Senior Secret Society brags that it controls all student elections at UTK.

I was elected VP of my freshman college class in 1980. By 2000 when I went back to school, elections were banned and student govt was "appointed" by interview with college administrators at Pellissippi State Tech.