Friday, June 27, 2008

Rick Hillier named Chancellor of Memorial University?

Rick Hillier has just been named the Chancellor of Memorial University in Newfoundland. It is hard to fathom bestowing such an honour on a man who is ultimately responsible for the deaths of 83 Canadian soldiers and countless Afghani civilians. He also must take some responsibility for the deteriorating mental states of hundreds of soldiers and for the transformation of Canada’s Military role from peacekeeping into a force for imperial occupation of sovereign foreign states.

As Chancellor, Hillier will congratulate students as they walk across the stage at convocation. Many students will now be put in the awkward position of shaking hands with a man whose former job was to kill people.

And this isn’t hyperbole. Hillier’s words are used by enemies and supporters alike:

"These are detestable murderers and scumbags. They detest our freedoms, they detest our society, they detest our liberties." -- Hillier on July 14, 2005, on Osama bin Laden and Islamist terrorists in general.
He added:
"We're not the public service of Canada. We're not just another department. We are the Canadian Forces, and our job is to be able to kill people."

With such a narrow-minded analysis, it’s hard to see what he could possibly contribute to any academic institution.

When one considers the increased level of military recruitment on campuses, perhaps Hillier’s appointment is more understandable. His approach to expanding the Canadian Military has been marked by a rise in advertising in student newspapers and inside bathroom stalls. The expanded campus military recruitment as the war on Afghanistan presses on is undeniable and Hillier's appointment as MUN Chancellor is just one more step toward the university-military industrial complex, which we continue to monitor.

After paying massive tuition fees and going so far into debt, it will be the ultimate insult for convocating students to be congratulated with a shake of Hillier's right hand while he is passing out job applications for the military with his left.


Tracy said...

As a graduate student at Memorial, I'm extremely agitated by Hillier's appointment. Not only am I concerned about an increased presence of military recruiters on campus, but there is also the question of how long it will be before research in the social sciences is appropriated in the name of corporate/military interests. To have a retired army general as the figurehead of this school is highly inappropriate given his complicity in the Afghanistan fiasco. Having Hillier's signature on my degree is nothing short of offensive.

Gnr_J_keitel said...

It's funny how you bash such an honourable man when his and every other soldiers valiant and courageous efforts abroad are the only reason you are free to write this news article about him. Not only is this man deserving of his appointment, he's probably accomplished more in his life than you ever will. Being in the army requires killing people. Yes, with that I cannot argue. But if these brave men and women we call soldiers didn't step up to the plate to do that job (since clearly people like you won't because you're not brave enough) than many many innocent lives here in Canada and abroad would be killed and tortured at the hands of terrorists. Our soldiers like General Hillier do this job to ensure the freedom and way of life that you, I, and every other Canadian take for granted every day. How dare you speak so lowly of a man who is one million times the person you could ever be. He was elected chancellor for his unwavering leadership abilities and devotion to duty, not because he was military. And if your concern is military recruiters on campus, remember that recruiters cannot force you to join the military. Ultimatley that is a decision students would have make on their own. And I guarantee if a student did decide to join the CF, at least they were doing something honourable and courageous with their lives. Finally, Just is the soldier, not the reporter who has given YOU with freedom of the press.