Albertans -- a good number of them anyway -- are making a lot of noise about the University of Alberta's decision to award David Suzuki an honorary degree. One of the loudest opponents of the university's decision is Conservative MP Matt Jeneroux. Michael Harris writes:
If more proof were needed that the Conservative Party of Canada has missed the boat on the most pressing issue of our times, it was recently supplied by Alberta MP Matt Jeneroux.
Consider the magnitude of Jeneroux’s stupidity and self-serving impudence. The university is not honouring Suzuki because of his stand on a single issue that is currently lighting up the news cycle. It’s giving him an honorary doctorate for a lifetime’s body of work in educating a popular audience about science. Suzuki has taken the arcane and made it approachable for millions of CBC viewers, surely one of the great triumphs of public television.
Besides the logical disconnect in Jeneroux’s irksome request of the university, there is another issue. What business does a federal MP have in trying to direct the decisions of an independent institution of higher learning?
Jeneroux's objection is yet another sign of modern conservatism's contempt for education. And Jeneroux is not alone:
This MP’s political blackmail of the University of Alberta is being matched by corporate blackmail touching the issue of financial contributions to the institution. It is nothing more than a naked manifestation of the power of the oil patch in Alberta, and now federal politics.
Donors like Moodys Gartner Tax Law are pulling their substantial contributions to the university because their clients are in the oil and gas industry. They say they are going to take their money and “make it speak” someplace else — whatever that may mean.
Dennis Erker has put it all on the barrel head. If the university doesn’t rescind Suzuki’s doctorate, the semi-retired Alberta businessman will end his fundraising and contributions to the university. Erker told the Edmonton Journal that the school could lose up to 50 per cent of its financial donations over an honorary doctorate conferred on the wrong person.
This is happening while the Chinese are "adding a 'London-sized' electric bus fleet every five weeks. That will displace 279,000 barrels of oil a day in 2018 alone." And Toronto is currently deciding which of three types of electric buses it will use in the city.
Ignorance still rules the roost.
Image: Ottawa International Writers Festival