Monday, May 26, 2008

The university-military industrial complex

Jim Prentice must have been a busy man on May 16. The Minister of Industry made two separate announcements for a total of $6 million from Lockheed Martin to fund research at Dalhousie University and the University of New Brunswick. For many of us in Ontario, these announcements flew under the radar.

The funding was part of a deal for 17 C-130J Super Hercules aircraft between the Canadian government and Lockheed Martin.

Lockheed Martin is one of the world’s largest weapons, including nuclear weapons, manufacturers. According to Corpwatch.com, Lockheed’s former vice-president Bruce Jackson chaired the Coalition for the Liberation of Iraq, a bipartisan group formed to promote George Bush’s plan for war in Iraq.

Universities are public institutions that educate students through public funds. The increasing amount of private money driving research is an issue that academics and students are fighting across Canada. The increasing presence of the military on Canadian campuses is also being resisted by many students, staff and faculty.

It’s interesting that such a deal was hatched when students are not in school. Despite this, students and community members protested this announcement.

The RFP’s next issue will be taking a hard look at Canada’s media and how events are portrayed, whose voice is being heard and which opinions are ignored. Public money funding research at a public institution to further Canada’s contribution to war is a contentious issue. In order for the general public to fully understand how they’re implicated in funding Canada’s war machine, it is critical that the media makes these links. Only then will Canadians have a clear enough vision to form their opinions on Canada’s role in foreign conflict, or occupation.

1 comment:

PollyJones said...

Out West, our university is a bit more obvious in its welcoming of military ties. Indeed, Condoleeza Rice has been invited to speak at the opening gala of U of C's new school of public policy:

http://www.calgaryherald.com/News/Condoleezza+Rice+follows+Bush+Calgary/1376962/story.html