Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Free Speech a Teaching Opportunity

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Editorial Exchange: Free Speech a Teaching Opportunity

Article excerpt

Editorial Exchange: Free speech a teaching opportunity

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An editorial from the Winnipeg Free Press, published March 27:

The Andrew Potter case at McGill University is indicative of the pressure universities are feeling across the country to kowtow to political correctness. It results in the erosion of academic freedom and also an erosion of free thought -- in the one place that these values should be sacrosanct.

Mr. Potter was the director of the Institute for the Study of Canada at McGill University in Montreal. He wrote a piece last Monday that appeared online for Maclean's magazine. He suggested that 300 motorists being stranded overnight on a major Montreal highway following an epic snowstorm in mid-March demonstrated the cracks in the province's civil society. He wrote that compared with the rest of the country, Quebec is an "almost pathologically alienated and low-trust society." His argument relied on statistics from Statistics Canada as well as his own personal anecdotes.

The response was quick. By Wednesday, Mr. Potter had resigned his position but is staying on as an associate professor for the remainder of this contract with the university. McGill University's official Twitter account read: "The views expressed by @JAndrewPotter in the @MacleansMag article do not represent those of #McGill."

Quebec politicians condemned Mr. Potter's opinions, including Quebec Premier Philippe Couillard, who said it painted a "negative portrait" of the province "based on prejudices." Maclean's sources say "McGill endured such intense backlash over Potter's Maclean's piece that the university left him only two choices: resign or be fired. …

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