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

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Canadian Civil Liberties Association chief Nathalie Des Rosiers will not bite the hand that feeds her

There you have it! (Alternative LINK to VIDEO) (Video also available on youTube LINK)

Canadian Civil Liberties Association chief Nathalie Des Rosiers responds to the Ann Coulter fiasco at the University of Ottawa:

She excuses the university administration by suggesting that Coulter's crew needlessly canceled the Ottawa event to generate publicity and then suggests that the obvious answer to these freedom of expression student demonstrations of differing opinions on campuses is MORE POLICE.

We kid you not - watch the video!

With civil liberties bosses like that you don't need authoritarian university presidents or anything. Just increase the police budgets and take on more insurance policies.

Maybe it's just us but we feel that there is at least an appearance of a conflict of interest when the chief of a national civil liberties association has her salary paid by a major university and allows herself to make media commentary on an international freedom of expression scandal involving the said university and its chief administrators...

And when that civil liberties association decides to not formally reprimand the university administration as it has done in writing in the recent past in a less high-profile case under the previous chief whose salary was not paid by the said university...

Maybe its just us?

Because despite a media frenzy like Canadian academia has not previously seen no journalist has pointed to the surprisingly weak and apologetic public musings of the chief of the Canadian Cicil Liberties Association (CCLA) regarding the University of Ottawa Allan Rock administration's violations of a university's defining principle of free speech (HERE).

No journalists have been struck by this anomaly enough to "follow the money" and ask who pays Nathalie Des Rosiers' salary?

After all, the Rock administration has been rightly and formally severely criticized for its behaviour in this matter by the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) (HERE) and was severely and formally criticized by Des Rosiers' predecessor concerning its last (2009) media-reported violation of civil liberties on campus (HERE).

Even Rock's traditional Ottawa media ally (The Ottawa Citizen) has laid the blame squarely at president Allan Rock's feet in rather unflattering terms (HERE and HERE). But the CCLA has seen no reason to write to Rock to come to the defense of academic freedom and civil rights in the highest profile case of this nature in recent Canadian academic history?

Nathalie Des Rosiers retained her Full Professorship at the University of Ottawa and her University of Ottawa salary (at $173,583.36 per year, 2008 salary) when she accepted the position as head of the CCLA in July 2009.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Rex Murphy tears the U of O a new asshole

Yup, here is the video clip from CBC's The National: LINK-TO-VIDEO.

What could the Allan Rock administration do for the U of O that is worse than degrading the school's reputation to this degree across all print, radio, and TV media in the country?

From gun registry accounting, to tainted blood reparations, to giving Brian Mulroney two million dollars of taxpayer money, to reversing Canada's position on Palestine at the UN... and now this wholesale destruction at "Canada's university"...

Time for the Board of Governors to consider letting Allan Rock go?

Time to go again? It's in the hands of the Board.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

CAUT to U of O: Franky is a boob - Rock administration needs to apologize

The Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) has written THIS LETTER to University of Ottawa Vice-President Academic Francois Houle, in the matter of the Coulter scandal at the U of O.

In a PREVIOUS POST we suggested that the U of O's VP-Academic was a genius for intervening to protect decency on campus. This suggestion has been unambiguously contradicted by freedom of expression lawyer Douglas Christie (HERE), by the General Counsel of the Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) (HERE), and now, we discover, by the CAUT also (HERE).

Looks like only President Allan Rock does not agree that Houle's move was a violation of the fundamental mission of a university - but we have established that Rock was being a spat disingenuous (HERE).

Funny how the CCLA has not written Rock a formal letter about this matter asking him to do better than his shameful press release...? Could THIS be the reason?

Barring Rock, therefore, the right, the left, and the center, agree: Franky is a boob, judging from his first considered public intervention in his new functions as VP-Academic. Only the brightest and fittest serve in the newly formed Rock executive team?

The CAUT has asked for reparation:

"We feel you owe an apology to Ms. Coulter and, even more importantly, you owe the University of Ottawa community an assurance that the administration of the University strongly supports freedom of expression, academic freedom and views the role of the university as fostering and defending these values."

Will the Rock administration do the right thing? Or will it stick to its shameful and disingenuous press release? (SEE HERE)

How much longer do U of O students need to wait before the administration stops acting like an image-managing political party and starts spontaneously and authentically recognizing and repairing its mistakes? How much longer does the reputation of the University of Ottawa need to be dragged in the mud by an autocratic and detached administration?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The right is racist, the left is stupid, and Allan Rock lied

Ann Coulter madness brings out the truth in people

Following the Ann Coulter fiasco at the University of Ottawa (see extensive national and local media coverage) the institution stooped into damage control mode by practicing the opposite of open discourse and transparency: It put out a PRESS RELEASE that ends

"Please note that this is the University of Ottawa’s official statement and no further comments will be issued."

In the press release President Allan Rock is quoted as:

“Freedom of expression is a core value that the University of Ottawa has always promoted,” said Allan Rock, President of the University.

So Allan Rock said that the university has always promoted freedom of expression.

Let us examine if this is true.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association (CCLA) is of the firm professional opinion that this is not true.

In fact, the CCLA wrote directly to Allan Rock on February 26, 2009, to EXPRESS "deep concern" that the University of Ottawa had actuated "a radical departure from the traditional mission of the university" by banning a student poster and asked Allan Rock that this "be rectified:"

"Specifically, we urge you to reverse the ban of the poster, as well as issue a public statement reassuring students that they will not face official sanction or discipline for expressing highly controvertial political views."

Allan Rock did not comply with the request.

Fast forward to the present. On March 24th the new General Counsel of the same CCLA (and Full Professor at the University of Ottawa) Nathalie Des Rosiers is quoted in the Globe and Mail as making these statements in response to the Rock administration's LETTER to Coulter from VP-Academic Francois Houle:

Civil libertarians decried the University of Ottawa’s treatment of Ms. Coulter, saying it’s out of line for an educational institution to be telling people to watch their words.
“It could be interpreted as an attempt to curtail speech,” said Nathalie Des Rosiers, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association.

Des Rosiers (unless misquoted) went on to defame Coulter:

“I don’t think it’s appropriate to warn speakers. Regardless of how bigoted and terrible a speaker she is, she’s entitled to freedom of expression and Canadians have a right to hear her views.”

Now on the question of who is more able to recognize a breach in promoting free expression, we can safely go with a national civil liberties association rather than with a former politician who was not known for his good judgment. We conclude that the University of Ottawa has NOT always promoted freedom of expression.

Furthermore, since the CCLA letter of 2009 was addressed directly to Mr. Rock and since Mr. Rock's communication department reads every major media article about the U of O and promptly informs Mr. Rock, we must conclude that Mr. Rock knew that the the University of Ottawa has NOT always promoted freedom of expression.

Since, lying involves both falsehood and intent, and since it is generally known and accepted that Mr. Rock does not suffer from dementia, we can conclude that Mr. Rock lied when he said "Freedom of expression is a core value that the University of Ottawa has always promoted."

We conclude that Allan Rock lied.

The next logical question is the question of motive. It would appear that Mr. Rock sees his job as protecting the reputation of the University of Ottawa, and therefore his own reputation, even if this involves lying.

This example suggests that it is not illogical to ask how often University of Ottawa press releases contain lies and what those lies are meant to accomplish.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Breaking UPDATE: Houle - Genius or idiocy at U of O?

Contrary to the PREVIOUS POST suggesting genius, freedom of expression lawyer Douglas Christie suggests that

"stupidity ... is well underway at the University of Ottawa."

In his own words:

and some vintage material (from the Canadian TV show Crossfire) on this "complex" question of freedom of speech:

In any case, it seems the concept of freedom of speech is also too complex for the highly educated administration of the University of Ottawa and for the University's elected student representatives...

Monday, March 22, 2010

It's Oooooofficial: The new VP-Academic at U of O is a genius!

You thought the last one was a number huh: LINK-1, LINK-2, LINK-3.

That was former University of Ottawa VP-Academic Robert Major.

Meet the new University of Ottawa VP-Academic named under President Allan Rock: His name is Francois Houle and he is a genius.

Here is the proof.

VP-Academic Francois Houle sent THIS EMAIL to Ann Coulter; basically threatening Coulter with criminal charges for a speech she has not yet given. Coulter will deliver a talk at "Canada's university" tomorrow, Tuesday March 23rd.

This is perfect. That way Coulter is informed about Canadian law and the benefits of freedom of speech all in one tactful message.

And as a side bonus, "Canada's university" gets loads of free media publicity:

Nice job Rock team!

[Note that Houle's boss may well have encouraged the youngin on this brilliant path to censorship: LINK?]

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.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Comparing two red-tie Liberals on Israel war crimes

The apartheid state of Israel, with its disregard for civilian lives and international law, needs to be sternly pressured to follow the Geneva Conventions and to abandon its genocidal strangulation of Gaza.

This is a needed debate in Canada to save lives and to stop war crimes by the state of Israel. This is particularly true in Canada because of its strong ties with the United States.

Influential Canadians who attempt to stifle expressions of the needed criticisms of Israel's practices in Palestine are guilty of condoning war crimes and in that measure have blood on their hands.

Allan Rock, now President of the University of Ottawa, is the man who in 2004 under the Liberal Martin government, as Canada’s ambassador to the UN, abruptly changed Canada’s longstanding policy on Israel to vote against UN resolutions for Palestinian human rights, along with the US and Israel and contrary to virtually all other member states. (E.g., THIS LINK.)

Once on campus at the University of Ottawa, HERE (backup link) is an example of his work where he had to be reprimanded by the Canadian Civil Liberties Association for banning a student poster about Israeli Apartheid Week.

Allan Rock also strong-armed a student union president into distancing the student union from the student-run Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) which had expressed a principled stance towards Israel. Rock then publicly announced that he would look for administrative ways to deny OPIRG its student funding... For this and more such examples see Endnote-3 in THIS document.

Well, here is another Liberal supporter of Israel war crimes, present Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff with his approach to student censorship:

This commentator is beginning to think that the Liberal red tie is meant to represent a flow of Palestinian blood.


Sunday, March 7, 2010

Fired ombudsman finds Rock unfit and asks U of O president to resign

This is the latest development in the Fulcrum scandal component of UofOgate at the University of Ottawa.

Former Fulcrum Publishing Society Ombudsman Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya has asked University of Ottawa President Allan Rock to resign (see excerpt below):

"Rock should have been aware that hiring Appleyard, after Frank wrote critically of Rancourt, would appear like a reward and was an infringement of ethical norms expected for the governance of a publicly funded institution. Rock has damaged his credibility and is unfit. As such, I am publicly asking Allan Rock to resign as President."

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: M.D. Nazemroaya
Date: Sun, Mar 7, 2010 at 7:26 PM
To: editor@thefulcrum.ca
Cc: president@sfuo.ca, news@thefulcrum.ca, mheba053@uottawa.ca, vp.communications@sfuo.ca, n.taylor.vaisey@gmail.com, , actualites@larotonde.ca, redaction@larotonde.ca, external@gsaed.ca, studentlife@gsaed.ca, charlatan@charlatan.ca, times@algonquincollege.com, university@gsaed.ca, internal@gsaed.ca, allan.rock@uottawa.ca

Hello Emma, here is my letter that we discussed. Please publish it the upcoming issue of The Fulcrum:


I was the Fulcrum Publishing Society (FPS) Ombudsman until the start of March 2010, when I was removed by the Board of Directors (BOD). This was the buildup of a sequence of events launched by the investigation of a formal complaint by Denis Rancourt. BOD members gave me two choices: obey them as a subordinate or pack up.
Appleyard breached the FPS Constitution by simultaneously working for Allan Rock and the FPS. This was a conflict of interest. […]
Appearances are pertinent for judging conflicts of interest. Did Allan Rock forget about the Conflict of Interest Code in Parliament? Rock should have been aware that hiring Appleyard, after Frank wrote critically of Rancourt, would appear like a reward and was an infringement of ethical norms expected for the governance of a publicly funded institution. Rock has damaged his credibility and is unfit. As such, I am publicly asking Allan Rock to resign as President.

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya
Former FPS Ombudsman

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

UofOgate: Fulcrum gives 'cover up' a whole new meaning

Fulcrum pulls peanut butter stain defence to cover Rock and Appleyard

The March 4, 2010, weekly print edition of the U of O student newspaper, The Fulcrum, is out on the stands.

It is remarkable in two respects.

First, despite numerous requests to the editors, it completely avoids news coverage of the Fulcrum scandal that has been raging since the Fulcrum Board of Directors suspended and fired its Ombudsman in mid-investigation. (See French student media coverage HERE.)

Second, this little item in a box at the bottom of page 21:

Excuse me? Fulcrum Business Manager Frank Appleyard, who threatened to sue over false accusations, was in "technical breach" of the Constitution ... but only because "Typographical errors in Sections 1.01 (i) and (l) of the Constitution suggest [as in state] that employees of the Business Department are subject to its provisions."

"In an effort to clarify its [conflict of interest] policy, the Society is in the process of making amendments to the Constitution..." ...so it says what we says it means... (Recall: They fired their Ombudsman over differences in "interpretation" of the Constitution.)


If we find we are "technically" breaking the rules then we must change the rules so that their "intent" is clear. Holy poo poo. That tops the Rock admin approach of "if we are criticized for our actions then we will introduce a policy to legitimize what we want to do (e.g., promised 'donor recognition policy').

Why not just state that Appleyard had a peanut butter stain on his copy of the Constitution when he accepted the job under Rock while he was Business Manager of the Fulcrum and that Rock forgot that he was no longer a Liberal MP.

[Photo: Business Manager Frank Appleyard and Editor-in-Chief Emma Godmere - total separation between the business and editorial departments?]

Now it's time to change the Constitution so that it allows conflict of interest? Brilliant move.

It's right up there with the Publisher of The Ottawa Citizen (Jim Orban) being on the Board of Governors (BOG) of the University of Ottawa while Rock writes invited editorials and receives personal advance notices from Orban about editorials critical of dissident professor Rancourt, not to mention media-reported undisclosed contracts for naming publicly funded campus spaces in exchange for "editorial support".

As Frank Appleyard has learned, "editorial support" has a mercantile value...

What was that job? How was it advertised? What special talents were required? How was student tuition money being spent? An investigation is in order. Ooops, we fired the Ombudsman.

Monday, March 1, 2010

U of O student newspaper Business Manager Frank Appleyard threatens legal action against UofOWatch blog posts

What was Mr. Rock Thinking?

In two recent posts (HERE and HERE) we reported breaches of professional journalistic ethics by staff and journalists at The Fulcrum (U of O student newspaper) regarding Fulcrum staff and journalist treatment of former U of O physics professor Denis Rancourt.

Fulcrum Business Manager Frank Appleyard objects to some of the content in the two posts and believes that he has been unjustly defamed.

In particular, it appears that U of O's President Allan Rock hired Appleyard in 2009 to reward him for his critical editorial coverage of Rancourt.

The best way for Mr. Appleyard's objections to be fully and accurately represented is to post his detailed letter of protest. Appleyard's letter is posted HERE.

This way readers can judge for themselves.

The Fulcrum Publishing Society (FPS) Ombudsman has a perspective at odds with that of Appleyard and an interpretation of his own Ombudsman's Interim Report that is relevant in the matter of the alleged unjustified defamation of Appleyard.

The FPS Ombudsman's reaction and clarification is posted HERE.

It appears that Mr. Appleyard (and the FPS Board of Directors) did not read the FPS Constitution all the way down to Section 12; the "Conflict of Interest Policy" section. As pointed out by the Ombudsman, the meaning and intent of Section 12 are quite clear.

[The FPS Ombudsman was immediately suspended by the FPS Board of Directors following the release of his Interim Report, for not agreeing to perform his duties as directed by the Board - for doing his job. At the time of this posting he had not yet been removed from his position.]