Feb 142012

Sub-title:  The Brave New Academy, The undermining of democracy.

From “A Brave New World”:   For true blissed-out and vacant servitude, though, you need an otherwise sophisticated society where no serious history is taught.

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Leonardo da Vinci: Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.

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In the corporate model, producing food is no different than producing Barbie dolls or Agent Orange.

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  2. College of Agriculture – Biotech Chemical GMO.  Public vrs Corporate interest.
  3. College of Law – Patent Laws for life forms.  Public vrs Corporate interest.
  4. Colleges of Pharmacy, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine.  Removal of cause public interest.  In conflict with the corporate interest.  Health Research Institutes.
  5. Corruption in the Administration of the University.  Richard Florizone Vice-President Finance.  Public vrs corporate interests of the nuclear and tar sands industries.
  6. Who pays for the “Conditioning Centre” that is the University?
  7. The undermining of democracy.  An act of treason.  Our knowledge base.
  8. The Theft of the University.  The owners, the people of Saskatchewan, will either stand up and fight to take back what they own.  Or they will suck their thumbs and then cry when it’s too late.  Which one?
  9. John Ralston Saul on “respectability”.

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I speak on behalf of many people in this province, the owners of the University.

You will understand that my remarks apply to some people in The Academy, definitely not all.


Not everyone is familiar with Aldous Huxley’s book “Brave New World”.   It was published in 1932.  Popular literature of the times forecast  that just societies of happy people would arise out of the industrial economy.  Huxley was skeptical.  He saw the industrial model unfolding to a negative utopia (called the World State) with the consumption of disposable consumer goods its ultimate goal.

In Huxley’s futuristic novel people are indoctrinated by listening to audio tapes while they sleep, and also through attendance at the Conditioning Centre.  Unhappiness is resolved by taking drugs, pills called soma. And so on.

I bring the experience of the activist to the question posed:  are we living in a “brave new academy”?  Is the University of Saskatchewan  an institution for “Blissed Out and Vacant Servitude”? to Lord Henry Ford, the inventor of the assembly line?

Is the University a Conditioning Centre where people are programmed to serve Lord Ford or Monsanto or Cameco or Bayer Crop Science or Apotex (the drug company) or the Nuclear Waste Management Organization or Bruce Power or Tar Sands Quest or other corporations of the industrial economy?


The question boils down to:  does this institution, the University, serve the corporate interest or the public interest?

It’s an easy question to answer.


Corporate ownership of food is profitable, it is no different from private or corporate ownership of the energy sources, for example oil and gas.

The last two decades have clearly demonstrated that biotechnology coupled with patent laws are the tools used to further consolidate the privatization of the food supply.   We have been in a ferocious battle for the last two decades to stop the “ownership” of seeds, the basis of the food supply.

The College of Agriculture has been the servant of biotech corporations like Monsanto and later Bayer Crop Science, etc. for decades now.  I have spoken with professors who have been marginalized at the College of Agriculture because they have been unwilling to buy into the one single orthodoxy – chemical/biotech industrial corporate agriculture.

The Conditioning Centre is not about dialogue and discussion.  It is not about bringing the knowledge of many people together to create a better understanding.  It is not about teaching.

It is about offering a single, unchallenged perspective.

The Brave New Academy “credentials” those who complete the indoctrination programme.  They dutifully go forth to fill roles in the Government of the World State.

There is no public interest served by the development of crops that are engineered to be resistant to chemical applications.  There is no public interest in the increasing chemical loads in our food, water, air and soil.   Let me use a recent example of the huge cost created by a University in servitude to corporate interests.

Triffid Flax was developed at the University of Saskatchewan.  It was engineered to be able to withstand the build-up of chemical residues in the soil.  That’s a bloody serious situation.   The public interest would obviously be in protecting the means of producing food, the soil.  A build-up of chemical residues that interferes with the growth of plants obviously calls for a cessation in chemical use.

In 2001, because the main markets for Canadian flax do not want GMO’s, all Triffid seed was collected and destroyed, at considerable expense.  Tax-payers paid for its development, for its destruction; it did not end there.  In the late summer of 2009 food inspectors found GMO-contaminated – i.e. Triffid – – in the flax on store shelves in Europe.  There were huge product recall costs for Europeans and a great deal of anger against Canadian producers.  Flax markets went down the drain.  And now, there is the cost of inspecting all truckloads of flax in Canada for GMO Triffid ontamination.   Huge costs borne by Canadians and Europeans, the consequence of the University working to serve the interests of the chemical – biotech corporations.

The University passes itself off as a centre of logic or the rational.   It is highly irrational, indeed stupid, to develop crops that are resistant to chemical applications.  It only accelerates the development of plants and insects and fungus that are resistant to those applications.  So then we need more toxic and more chemicals in order to kill off the “resistant” specimens.   It is a suicidal spiral.

What word describes those who teach that this makes sense?  Propagandist?  Insane?  Diabolical?

Another example to demonstrate the reality of the Brave New Academy:

4. College of Law – Patent Laws for life forms.  Public vrs Corporate interest.

The corporate interest is the patenting – ownership – of seeds.

The public interest is public ownership of the Commons (in this example seeds), that upon which we are all dependent for survival.  The College of Law is the Conditioning Centre for the chemical-biotech industrial food supply through courses on Intellectual Property – in this example, patents.  How absurd it is that life forms can be patented.  But a course in intellectual property certifies the student to run the assembly line of producing patents.  It does not enter into a vigorous debate about the VALIDITY of the laws, or how to change them to serve the public interest.

5. Colleges of Pharmacy, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine. Removal of cause, public interest. In conflict with the corporate interest. Health Research Institutes.

The public interest is in the removal of CAUSE of disease.   Get rid of the carcinogens, teratogens, hormone-disrupting chemicals we are pumping into our land, air, water and food.

The corporate biotech pharmaceutical interest is in propaganda related to “find a cure” which, even if it ever happened (they’ve been at it for 50 years so far) does not make sense.   It is an unhumane idea to say that it’s okay for all these people to get the diseases, we’re going to “Find a cure” and “treat” you.   The money-maker is the development of more drugs, of course.  And so we have Apotex of Nancy Oliveri, University of Toronto fame, now at the University of Saskatchewan.

The Strengthening of immune systems and removal of cause should be fundamental in health care.  But there is no corporate interest in that.

University researchers get funding through the publicly-funded Canadian and Saskatchewan Health Research Institutes.   They sound good, until you know that one of the criteria for funding is that the research “has the potential for commercialization”.   Oops!  there goes the public interest.  Do we hear any vehement protests from “the influential”?

As tax-payers who fund the research,  we are paying the research and development costs  for the corporations.   Our money is not used in service of the public good.  At horrific cost.

You might think this is a rant on GMO’s, chemicals and soma or anti-depressant drugs.   Look at the Canadian Nuclear Studies Centre at the University of Saskatchewan, another Conditioning Centre.

And what a big one that is!  Richard Florizone, Vice-President of Finance, University of Saskatchewan, chaired the so-called “UDP Report” (Uranium Development Partnership).  The Report was prepared for the Government by an industry-stacked panel.   I believe it was Public Outrage that forced a public-hearing process.

I sat in the auditorium in the Diefenbaker Centre last summer and listened to Richard Florizone’s presentation on the UDP Report (he gave the same presentation at the U of Regina – see below.  It contains a biography of Florizone).  The Report is what the industry wants:

  • Nuclear reactors
  • High-level radioactive waste disposal in Saskatchewan
  • Expanded exploration and mining
  • A training centre for workers.

Florizone brought in a seemingly-unrelated example to demonstrate our ability to use technology to solve problems.  He reassured the audience:  why look – we solved the acid rain problem in Canada.  I was appalled and could no longer contain my anger over the half-truths and then this utter lie in his presentation.  I raised my hand in protest, saying “The acid rain problem in Canada has most certainly NOT been solved.  I am stupefied that you would make such a claim.  Saskatchewan is down-wind from the tar sands. The nitrous oxide and sulphur dioxide coming off the tar sands have already acidified parts of Northern Saskatchewan PAST critical load limits.”

Florizone’s response was, “Oh, did I say the problem has been solved?  What I MEANT to say was that the problem with acid rain from coal-fired power plants has been solved.”  I responded.  In the end Florizone asked “Well, do you agree with the statement “The acid rain problem from coal-fired power plants has been solved.?”  My reply was  “No. But I COULD agree with the statement that the acid rain problem in Canada has NOT been solved and it is especially serious in Northern Saskatchewan where it is killing the lakes and the land.”

Is this just a poor choice of example on Florizone’s part?  Not at all.  So-called “small” nuclear reactors are needed for further development of the tar sands, both in Alberta and Saskatchewan.   The situation in northern Saskatchewan from acid rain from tar sands development will be worse than it was when the Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment (CCME) made the Saskatchewan situation known in 2005.   (The north is dying.)

A statement by the Vice President of the University that the acid rain problem has been solved is a lie, but a very convenient lie for the nuclear and oil and gas corporations.

Florizone’s UDP Report advocated the establishment of a Canadian Nuclear Studies Centre at the University of Saskatchewan.  Its mandate would be precisely the same as the UDP Report recommended for industry:

  • Research to develop “small” nuclear reactors
  • Research on high level radioactive waste disposal in the province
  • Exploration, mining and processing of uranium.

Talk about lies of omission:  Florizone did not disclose that the Nuclear Studies Centre was ALREADY up and running when his presentations for the “Public Consultations” were being held.  Vice-President of Research, Karen Chad, made it clear in the On-Campus News of July 2009.  The Vice-President of Finance’s (Florizone’s)  video-taped presentation for the Saskatchewan public, shown to about 2,000 people who attended the public meetings and on-line, contained misleading and half-truths.  Person-after-person pointed it out during the consultation process. It’s all in the public record.

The Vice-Presidents of the University should be role models of integrity.  It is what we expect of our students.

The people of Saskatchewan built the University over the last hundred years. We are the owners. The owners are losing their investment, or stated another way, it is being stolen from them.  They can let it happen or they can stand up and speak out.  Richard Florizone’s behavior clearly falls outside accepted norms.

We citizens are footing the bill for the Conditioning Centres for the nuke and tar sands industries, through the:

–   Canadian Nuclear Studies Centre at the University of Saskatchewan and the

–   Petroleum Technology Research Centre (PTRC) at the University of Regina.

This is in direct opposition to expressed wishes.  The public made a clear statement through the Perrins’ Report last September that we do not want nuclear, nor do we want public investment in the obsolete and depleting oil and gas resource.  The global economy is dependent upon cheap oil and gas which is rapidly depleting.  It needs to be conserved, not ever more rapidly exploited as though there is no tomorrow.

Which takes me to the College of Commerce now known as the Edwards School of Business.

Before Dean Grant Isaacs went to a million-dollar job as Senior Vice-President at Cameco I had a 45-minute talk with him.  Earlier I had tried to bring together a group of economists from the University.

There is a pressing need to change our economic indicators.  We allow corporations to transfer the environmental (health) costs of their operations for the public purse to pay.  We do not account for resource depletion in our measure of progress, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP).  The College of Commerce, the Agricultural Economists, the Economists in the College of Arts all become nothing more than a Conditioning Centre for the corporations.  They are not aggressively attacking the very serious problem of economic measurements that do not provide the feedback we need in order to make intelligent decisions.  These false indicators allow us to blissfully destroy the things we are dependent upon for life.  They tell us we are making “progress”, which is anything but the truth.

When I make a statement such as:  “In spite of the Perrins’ Report (the report on the public consultations that said “no” to nuclear”)  the nuclear ship has set sail at the University.” I am saying that this is not a democracy.  The University spits in the face of the democratically-expressed public will.  We have a corporatocracy.

The Brave New Academy serves to undermine democracy.  That is a serious act of treason.

I mentioned earlier that the corporate drive is to appropriate resources, to own them.  So they can sell them and make profits. The University is a critical resource, especially in a so-called “knowledge economy”.  A society is dependent upon the integrity of its knowledge base.  It is requisite for sound decision-making to address the problems that confront us.

When you appropriate what is not yours, people get angry.  I am angry that the University is being taken from the people of Saskatchewan, with the complicity of people who gain financially from a University that is run according to a corporate model.

Universities have traditionally been a means by which a population could equip itself to function and govern democratically.

The oil and gas (tar sands) people, the nuclear industry, and the politicians need the money to flow to the Universities in Saskatchewan.  It makes it look as though the Government is not funding and is not taking a position that will get them booted out of power. The Universities are the discrete pimps for the industries.   It’s an end-run around the public interest.

John Ralston Saul addressed the Rotarians.  During the question period I asked the question that has irritated me for some time:
The so-called “influential” people in this province have some University background, for the most part.  They have been “educated” or at least “credentialed” at significant public expense at various universities.  They owe something back to the community.  Why is it that when we need, JUST ONE EXAMPLE, a toxicologist, or a medical doctor, or an official from the Health Region to address City Council about links between cancer, Parkinson’s Disease, developmental problems in children and chemicals it is extremely rare that we can find even one so-called “professional” who will speak up?  I don’t get it.  They are the best people to know and yet they won’t speak up.  Why is that?”.

Can you guess the answer supplied by John Ralston Saul?

He said it was an issue of respectability.  My interpretation of what he said:  these people have worked to gain their position in the society.  They have arrived, so to speak.   “Respectable” people don’t rock the boat.  The University turns out “respectable” people.  They’ve gone through the Conditioning Centre for the corporate assembly line.

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Johnson-Shoyama Public Lecture:

“Developing A Provincial Nuclear Strategy”  with Richard Florizone,  Vice-President (Finance and Resources), University of Saskatchewan

Thursday, June 18, 2009  . . .  UNIVERSITY OF REGINA

Richard Florizone was the chairman of the Uranium Development Partnership (UDP), a body assembled by government to evaluate and make recommendations on Saskatchewan-based, value added opportunities in the uranium industry. The Partnership included 12 members representing the two universities, urban and rural municipalities, business, labour, First Nations, the environmental community and Canada’s nuclear industry.

In this seminar, Richard will review the findings of the UDP with respect to the role that Saskatchewan will play across the uranium value chain. More importantly, Richard will review the analysis that has produced key lessons for policy makers.

Richard Florizone is the Vice-President of Finance and Resources at the University of Saskatchewan. Richard is a graduate of the University of Saskatchewan in Engineering and Physics and holds a Ph.D. in Nuclear Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His previous work experience includes positions as a Director of Strategy for Bombardier Aerospace, Consultant and Project Leader for The Boston Consulting Group, and Senior Corporate Liaison Officer and Fundraising Consultant for Cambridge University. Richard has extensive experience in developing and implementing business strategies for major corporations in Canada, the U.S. and Europe. Richard is also the chairman of the Uranium Development Partnership (UDP), a body assembled by government to evaluate and make recommendations on Saskatchewan-based, value added opportunities in the uranium industry.

With campuses at the University of Regina and the University of Saskatchewan, the Johnson-Shoyama Graduate School (JSGS) is an interdisciplinary centre for public policy research, teaching, outreach and training.


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