LETTERS

Role model roll

January 9 1995
LETTERS

Role model roll

January 9 1995

Role model roll

LETTERS

Kudos for your 1994 Honor Roll, a recognition of Canada’s most valuable resource, its people (“Achieving Excellence,” Dec. 26). The 13 individuals profiled are true role models our kids can look up to for leadership and inspiration. The youth of our country tend to identify professional athletes as heroes; perhaps these examples more accurately meet that definition.

Michael Albert, Ottawa a

I take this opportunity to express my thanks to those who selected Moyez G. Vassanji as a member of the 1994 Honor Roll. Ever since I did a research project on Vassanji during my undergraduate years, I have enjoyed his keen sense of creating historical intrigue as well as his ability to recover the often neglected history of the East African Indian community. His fiction is something for all readers to enjoy, appreciate and above all, remember.

MunsifAli Bhimani, Toronto a

You chose a fine person—Myriam Bédard—to grace the cover of your 1994 Honor Roll issue. With all her success in the Winter Olympics in Lillehammer, being chosen Female Athlete of the Year and giving birth to her first child, it has been a memorable year for her. She has made Canada very proud.

Kevin Jordan, Chatham, Ont. a

On the Mistake

In his column of Dec. 12, Allan Fotheringham warmly reviews my wife’s book On the Take (“Throwing the book at Mulroney”). But he states that in at least three passages Stevie Cameron disguises the fact that an aggrieved high civil servant who was forced out was her husband. In fact, she mentions my case in only one passage, and she does not say that I was forced out, because it is not true. I left the federal public service in 1985 for three reasons. I realized it would be difficult for my public service career to continue unimpeded while Stevie worked as an investigative reporter on the Hill. Second, I learned to my disgust that ministers and their aides were reviewing the alleged political affiliations of senior civil servants. Third, I received a job offer from the

University of Toronto to become a vice-president and professor of political science.

David Cameron, Toronto

Academic integrity

Your Dec. 19 article “Academe on trial” by Paul Kaihla left some readers with the impression that the University of Calgary and its president, Murray Fraser, were engaged in a secretive coverup of the investigation into Prof. Prem Fry’s scholarly activity. Nothing could be further from the truth. Murray Fraser handled this case professionally and responsibly. There was never, as Kaihla states, a “secret arrangement sanctioned by president Fraser.” Nor was there any attempt to “cover up the spectacle of a scandal.” Murray Fraser initiated the disciplinary proceeding knowing full well the possible outcomes. As chair of the Board of Governors, I write to inform your readers that the board has unanimously endorsed the actions of president Fraser in this matter and has unanimously reaffirmed its recognition of his high integrity. We have complete confidence in our president. With respect to the academic journals, you should be aware that in February, 1993, Fry herself corresponded with the editors and advised them of the pending disciplinary action. The university was given copies of this correspondence by Dr. Fry in March, 1993, as part of the process. At no time did those editors contact the University of Calgary. Maclean’s fails to grasp the distinction between secrecy and confidentiality. As an internal personnel matter, the investigation into Dr. Fry’s research was conducted in absolute confidence in accordance with university policies. Furthermore, no “gag order” was imposed on any-

one. We simply asked everyone involved—including Dr. Lytton, members of the investigating committee and the funding agencies—to respect the confidence of the process and all information given to them by the university. They remain free to publicly discuss any information obtained from other sources. I would also point out the different mandates of an investigating committee and an arbitration board. An investigating committee is formed to make a preliminary recommendation to the dean as to whether dismissal is warranted. The recommendation is then carried forward by the president to the board of governors. An arbitration board’s role is to hear evidence and to determine guilt or innocence. No such final determination was ever made in this case. Throughout the investigation, Dr. Fry was eligible to retire, and when she elected to do so she received no special compensation or consideration. Her decision to retire effectively ended the potential arbitration proceedings and no disciplinary measures were imposed. The university has no authority over someone who is not an employee. At no time did the University of Victoria contact senior officials at the University of Calgary. President Fraser only learned of Fry’s appointment to that university a few weeks ago. Finally, I would point out that most universities across Canada are only beginning to grapple with the complex issues of scholarly integrity. As a national leader in this regard, the University of Calgary some time ago initiated a thorough review of all its policies relating to research. That report, commissioned by president Fraser, is due early in 1995.

Richard F. Haskayne, Chair, Board of Governors, University of Calgary, Calgary

“Academe on trial” confirms that the concept of academic excellence and integrity is now a smoke screen, covering the obscene scramble of the education establishment at the public trough. Educators declare schools to be reflections of society, and thus seek to evade responsibility for the product. On the contrary, society is now the victim of the educators.

A. G. Le Blond,

Ladysmith, B. C.

It seems odd, and ethically questionable, that Dr. Hugh Lytton, formerly of the University of Calgary, would make known his displeasure about the handling of the matter of Prof.

LETTERS

Toronto. And we wonder when the Liberals will catch on that when you offend one-quarter of the households of Canada, there are

Prem Fry by taking his story to Maclean’s and permitting you to print, for national scrutiny, a letter sent to him in confidence by the president of the University of Calgary. Less odd, perhaps, but even more ethically questionable, is your decision to publish this letter. You should respect desire for privacy and confidentiality.

Richard Ellis, Winnipeg

The accusation of scholarly misconduct cuts deeply into the values held by the academic community and the identities of those accused. What has hopefully been learned by that most unfortunate event at the University of Calgary is that the innocence of individuals must be defended until proven guilty. Hopefully, all universities will review their procedures so that an injustice such as this one will not be repeated elsewhere. Professor Fry’s outstanding reputation has been maligned and one wonders about the magnitude of distress she has experienced as a result of what -

appears to be little more than questions of doubt over a very small part of her scholarly achievements.

David W. Reid, Associate professor, York University, Toronto

Congratulations to Prof. Lytton who took the time and effort to analyze and document the work of others and had the courage to report his findings to the dean. Shame on president Fraser, his Board of Governors and their legal advisers, who lacked the moral fibre and the intestinal fortitude to step up to the mark with the same level of integrity.

Patrick Sayeau, Red Lake, Ont.

Jumping the gun

Justice Minister Allan Rock would have everyone believe that owning a gun makes you a threat to your family and your community (“Allan Rock’s war on guns,” Canada, Dec. 12). Someday you might “snap,” he told us when in Yellowknife recently. We resent being lumped in with the criminal element of society. We doubt that registering guns in New Brunswick and the Northwest Territories will prevent crimes in

consequences.

G. M. Hamre, Yellowknife

In his moves towards better gun control, we can only hope that Rock will not be influenced by the emotional and inflammatory stance of trigger-happy gun freaks. The proposed registration of guns should be expanded to include not only the make, model and serial number of each weapon, but also the ballistic print. Each new gun, before it leaves the factory, should be test-fired and the resulting ballistic pattern on the bullet recorded. With such a procedure in place, police anywhere could connect a bullet with a particular gun and an individual owner. Nothing is going to prevent killing, but this measure should make crimes involving guns easier to solve.

Conrad Romuld, Saskatoon

In your article on proposed gun-control legislation, you suggest that the federal New Democratic Party caucus will oppose the bill. While there is a

range of views within

caucus as to the desirability of a National Firearms Registry, the caucus has not taken any final position on this issue. As for myself, unlike my colleague Chris Axworthy, I agree with the view of a majority of Canadians in every region of Canada who accept the importance of firearms registration as a significant step towards safer communities and fewer injuries and deaths from guns.

Svend Robinson, MP, Burnaby/Kingsway, B. C.

Whistling Dixie

Paul Anka (“Singing summit,” Opening Notes, Dec. 26) is now a citizen of the United States of America. It is therefore unseemly that he be part of a Canadian contingent put together to entertain the participants at last month’s Summit of the Americas. Apparently our government felt that Canada has no culture worth showing our American neighbors.

Charles Burton, St. Catharines, Ont. S

Maclean’s welcomes readers’ views, but letters may be edited for space and clarity. Please supply name, address and daytime telephone number. Write: Letters to the Editor, Maclean’s magazine, 777Bay St., Toronto, Ont. M5W1A7. Fax: (416) 596-7730. E-mail E macleans@hookup.net