Hero scholarship program was rolling out smoothly across the country until
it hit the University of Regina. In a letter to
university administrators, 16 U of R professors questioned the language behind
the scholarship and called for a university-sponsored public forum on Canada’s
role in Afghanistan. In subsequent media
interviews, the professors argued Project Hero claws back from a federally-funded
legislated education entitlement for children of dead and disabled soldiers, while
providing a lesser university-funded scholarship wrapped in patriotism.
If they had an argument, it was quickly
lost in what signatories characterized as a media feeding
frenzy, culminating in a national editorial slamming
the profs for picking on orphans, and a Limbaugh-style Power Play
interview with ex-soldier and professor Garson Hunter.
to investigate claims before broadcast and publication, and…contributing
initially to what bordered on lynch-mob hysteria,” charged signatory John
Conway in this
Calgary Herald commentary.
Judging by a healthy mix of both positive and
negative comments from Herald readers, it seems the hysteria has cooled, leaving
some delicious irony in its wake: MP Tom Lukiwski, himself no stranger to calls
for public apologies, demanded
the professors apologize. Meanwhile the Canada-Afghan Solidarity Committee
volunteered to organize a public forum, at the same time calling for censure
of the profs who signed a letter requesting a forum.
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