Friday, January 16, 2009

Gen. (ret'd) Hillier as "war criminal": "Central Student Association should apologize for column"

An excellent letter in the Guelph Mercury from a friend of The Torch:
January 16, 2009

Dear Editor - The Cannon is the "by undergraduates for undergraduates" website used by students at the University of Guelph.

Or at least it is supposed to be.

Last week an editorial column was posted by Scott Gilbert regarding the awarding of the Lincoln Alexander Outstanding Leader Award to retired general Rick Hillier, the ex-chief of defence staff of the Canadian Forces. The column referred to the general as a war criminal and hinted at imagined similarities between the general and Paul Bernardo.

In other words, it was a vicious piece that presented questionable claims as fact.

This column caused a great furor on The Cannon with more comments posted than any other article or column in recent memory.

Almost all of those comments were in favour of the general receiving the award and were highly critical of the ignorant language used by Gilbert.

In case anyone forgot, Gilbert was the local Communist party candidate in the 2006 federal election.

It may also interest students to know that Andrew Garvie, the other editor at The Cannon, ran for the Communist party provincially in 2007 and federally in 2008 [emphasis added].

In other words, the website is run by people who subscribe to radical views not followed by most, if any, in the student body.

These people also claim to represent the views of students, as shown by Gilbert's appearance on CTV News in Kitchener regarding his piece of "journalism."

The Cannon is a website jointly administered by the Central Student Association (CSA) and Guelph Campus Co-op, two groups that seem to quietly endorse the highly biased work posted on The Cannon and who have allowed The Cannon to become nothing more than a mouthpiece for the views of Gilbert and Garvie.

The column in question was only removed from The Cannon due to the rapid spread of it through the blogosphere and its appearance on the news. The reviews were universally critical and overwhelmingly believed that our school had been done a disservice by Gilbert and the CSA.

One cannot help but ask, why does the CSA allow The Cannon to be used as a message board for radicals?

Why does the CSA allow The Cannon to be manipulated by people who do not represent students' views in any shape or form? Is it because Gilbert used to be a member of the CSA and the current members are sympathetic to his views and have decided to turn a blind eye?

The Cannon was the last bastion of bias-free student media due to the relative ease for anybody to write articles for it.

The Peak is a joke as far as journalism is concerned and The Ontarion isn't much better.

With Scott and Andrew running the show on The Cannon and with censorship being a fundamental premise of their political beliefs, it is obvious that one cannot hope to see unbiased articles on it anymore.

I personally have contacted The Cannon in regards to becoming a contributor, and have not received a reply.

Gilbert's article on Hillier was ignorant, rude and unfounded. It was a work of fiction.

It has embarrassed students and our school.

Yet Gilbert remains an editor on The Cannon and the CSA has not issued an apology to students and to general Hillier.

We are being represented by a group of people who use their position to advance their own petty agendas and who receive a portion of our tuition money to play with as they see fit.

Just like the CSA's little war against the 'right to life' group, this situation shows their true colours.

The only way to rectify this situation is for the CSA to issue a very public and sincere apology to students, the university and to general Hillier, to immediately remove Scott Gilbert from his position at The Cannon and to ensure that an accurate cross section of student views are represented in student-subsidized media.

I issue this challenge with very little faith that they will even respond but nonetheless, the gauntlet has been thrown down.

-- Chris Eldridge, Guelph

And here's a "fitting editorial" in the Mercury.


Post a Comment

<< Home