2006-02-14 and 03-03, Letters to University of Saskatchewan Board of Governors, and Reply received. Request to re-evaluate University’s partnerships with business.
Two letters to the University are followed by the response received.
(1) FIRST COMMUNICATION, February 14, 2006
TO: University of Saskatchewan Board of Governors, Members listed below
- Pat Atkinson, MLA Saskatoon Nutana, Minister of Advanced Education and Employment
- Ernie Barber, Dean of Agriculture, U of S
- Lynne Pearson, Dean of Commerce, U of S
Dear Board Members,
I request that you re-evaluate the University’s partnerships with business.
The Federal Government through Agriculture and Health has partnered with the biotech companies. So too have universities, including the U of S.
The outcome is predictable: corruption. A list of quotes from authorities that make the connection (Galbraith, Soros, Jacobs, Ralston-Saul, Krever, Ho) appears (See Thinkers of the Day on the Unholy Alliances between Government (public institutions) and Industry. )
You may also find the well foot-noted article “Science under Siege” helpful – about the undermining of “science” through corporate funding of research. (Click on 2005-08-05 Science under siege)
Apart from the academic documentation, the egregious example of the corrupting influence of the “partnerships” comes from Canada’s participation in the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity. You may know that Canada is host country to the Convention. Currently there is an international de facto moratorium on Terminator Technology (seeds engineered to be sterile). Canada has attempted to sabotage the moratorium.
(INSERT: This has to do with the with-holding of entry visas to Canada, for UN delegates to these UN bio-safety (biological diversity) meetings in Montreal. Montreal is the permanent site for the UN Bio-safety Protocol; the delegates attend meetings there occasionally, so they are known people. To have had their entry visas witheld, to thwart attendance is an abomination.)
The Government’s argument was that the applications for visas weren’t filed in time for the Government to process them. When I raised the question of the with-holding of entry visas with a responsible Government official I was told that the information which would corroborate the timing of the applications for the visas was personal to the overseas applicant and therefore not available to the public.
I told him that the information might be withheld from Government officials (who might then doubt what they are being told by higher ranking people) but the information is readily available in the public sphere through email networks directly from the scientist(s) and others who were being barred from attending the meetings.
The African scientist, Dr. Tewolde, in particular has been very effective in asserting the public interest and was one for whom the entry visa was originally withheld. I think it is fairly obvious that the Government of Canada, through its partnerships with Monsanto to develop “Roundup Resistant wheat”, and through the licensing of BASF’s herbicide-tolerant wheat, etc. has acted in the interests of the transnational corporations. That interest is contrary to the interest represented by the people who were blocked from attending the Montreal meeting.
The actions are reprehensible and serve to demonstrate what happens when corporations are in bed with the Government. They are also in bed with “credentialed” authorities from what are supposed to be our higher centres of learning. Details of the Government actions are (at 2006-01-27 Terminator Technology (GMO))
Participation by the University of Saskatchewan in corporate partnerships has put the reputation of the University in serious jeopardy.
It would be prudent to change course, as difficult as that may be.
Note: information to make the case is included for you to scroll through. (2006-04-12 Real-life experience. PPP’s and corruption in action. Government-University-Chemical Biotech.) The complete package is a serious indictment of where we have allowed ourselves to be taken.
The problem needs to be acknowledged as a first step to finding a way out of the predicament. I do not expect that you all will make time to sink your teeth in, but a few people will.
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COPIES TO: University of Saskatchewan Board of Governors
Members Ex Officio
- Peter MacKinnon, President
- Tom Molloy, Chancellor
Members Appointed by the Government
- Gail R. Appel
- Art Dumont
- Nancy E. Hopkins
- Garry Standing
Members Elected by the Senate
- Judy Buzowetsky
- Gary Carlson
- Linda McMullen
- Gavin Gardiner
Secretary to the Board
- Lea Pennock, University Secretary
- Michael Atkinson, Provost & Vice-President (Academic)
- Paul Becker, Associate Vice-President (Facilities Management)
- Barb Daigle, Associate Vice-President (Human Resources)
- Steven Franklin, Vice-President (Research)
- Laura Kennedy, Associate Vice-President (Finance & Resources & Controller)
- Heather Magotiaux, Vice-President, University Advancement
- Richard Florizone, Vice-President (Finance & Resources)
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(2) LETTER # 2
SENT: March 3, 2006
TO: University Secretary Lea Pennock
The light went on … AFTER I made the submissions for the Board of Governors.
The package of information I submitted, to make the case for re-consideration of the relationships between the University and corporations, is information from other authorities.
But I have personal experience which speaks loudly to “Egregious example of “partnerships” outcome”.
If I am invited to make a verbal presentation, my personal experience would be appropriate reinforcement of the need to re-evaluate public partnerships with business.
When I objected to a Government of Canada scientist who works on the University grounds taking significant amounts of money from the industry his Department is responsible for regulating, I received a letter from a lawyer threatening to sue me.
Copies of the
- letter from the lawyer
- my response to the lawyer
- Saskatoon Star Phoenix front page report of the incident
tell the story. (INSERT: Click on 2004-04-10 Tom Wolf, Health Canada scientist threatens to sue me. Response – the mafia uses threat of broken bones.)
A verbal presentation could actually be just my fielding of any questions arising out of the documents.
My experience is damning and reinforces the critics of today’s “science” and public-private-partnerships.
We have a very weak democracy as a consequence of these partnerships.
Anytime a Government employee and member of the University community uses intimidation tactics to silence legitimate citizen protest, and no steps are taken to address the situation, we are in deep doo-doo. I have submitted the documents to various bodies and people in Government to no effect (one example is the Standing Committee on Health).
Corruption is a symptom of the failure to maintain separation between the commercial and guardian (governing) roles in the society. We have escalating corruption in Canada. It is well past the time for appropriate corrective action.
I don’t know how you want to handle this, Lea.
Sorry I didn’t think to include this in the original package of information.
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(3) REPLY RECEIVED FROM THE UNIVERSITY
Fri 07/04/2006 3:36 PM
SUBJECT: Your letters to the Board of Governors
Dear Ms. Finley:
The Board of Governors of the University of Saskatchewan met on March 31, 2006. The Board’s agenda included your e-mail correspondence of February 14 and of March 3, and your offer to come and present material on the subject of corporatization.
The Board asked me to thank you for raising this matter, and to assure you that the Board recognizes the potential for conflicts of interest in conducting research, and treats such issues very seriously. They also asked me to let you know that the Board does not hear presentations from external interests, but that it does from time to time invite presentations from its Research Office about the protocols and safeguards that are in place to protect independence of research and to guard against conflict of interest in corporate partnerships. It is of course very much part of the Board’s ongoing role to ensure that the University’s autonomy and integrity is protected.
The Board also asked that further correspondence from you be referred to the administration for their response as appropriate.
With thanks for your interest in the University of Saskatchewan,