Oct 102009

The corporations corrupt science and our knowledge base.  We lose necessary research that serves the public interest.  It is past time to take back what is ours.








= = = = = = = ==


Howard Woodhouse wrote a book on 6 case studies of corporate involvement at the University of Saskatchewan.

Canadians should know about this book. The other items in this email make it clear why.

–   – – – – – – – – – –

Selling Out: Academic Freedom and the Corporate Market http://www.amazon.ca/Selling-Out-Academic-Freedom-Corporate/dp/0773535802

In a powerful defense of the values that define education, Howard Woodhouse uses concrete and vivid examples to show how universities in Canada have been engulfed by the market model of education and how administrators have done little to resist this trend. “Selling Out” demonstrates that the logics of value of the market and of universities are not only different but opposed to one another. By introducing the reader to a variety of cases, some well known and others not, Woodhouse explains how academic freedom and university autonomy are being subordinated to corporate demands and how faculty have attempted to resist this subjugation. He argues that the mechanistic discourse of corporate culture has replaced the language of education – subject-based disciplines and the professors who teach them have become ‘resource units’, students have become ‘educational consumers’, and curricula have become ‘program packages’. Graduates are now ‘products’ and ‘competing in the global economy’ has replaced the search for truth. Challenging the current orthodoxy that the market model is the only way forward, Woodhouse argues that governments have a responsibility to fund universities, recognizing that they are the only places in society where the critical search for knowledge takes precedence.

About the Author

Howard Woodhouse is professor of educational foundations and co-director of the University of Saskatchewan Process Philosophy Research Unit.

Book Launch . .  October, 2009

Selling Out: Academic Freedom and the Corporate Market

(McGill-Queen’s University Press)

= == = = = = = = = = = = = = ==


I remain greatly concerned about the role of the Universities in Saskatchewan, in the promotion of the nuclear and tar sands industries.

(To say nothing of their service to Monsanto (ownership of seeds) and other of the biotech corporations, the GMO’s and biotech pharmaceuticals.)

We citizens are paying for the research 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 what the public wants.

The public has made a clear statement through the Perrins’ Report in September that we do not want nuclear.  We want to transition to a path that is truly clean, green and based on renewable energy sources.

In spite of the Perrins’ Report on the public consultations this past summer (the people of Saskatchewan say “no” to nuclear) and this new round of “Standing Committee” meetings on Energy, the nuclear ship has set sail at the University.  They are established at the University, how do we get them un-established?

If we don’t, the research

  • to develop the “small” reactors for tar sands production, and
  • for radioactive waste disposal

is going to move straight ahead.  The Cdn Nuclear Studies Centre at the U of S  has been in operation for more than a year.  They are on their way.

The oil and gas (tar sands) people and the nuclear industry need the money to flow to the Universities in Saskatchewan. It’s an end-run around the public interest. Makes it look as though the Government is not funding and is not taking a position that will get them booted out of power. They are the discrete pimps for the industry, wittingly or unwittingly – – if only because they do not step back and re-assess the situation.

The Federal money Brad Wall applied for at the end of July 2009, for research on “small” reactor technology at the University of Saskatchewan, will be decided in November.

We need to determine what interests are represented by the 4 people on the panel that will make the decision as to where the Federal money for nuclear will go.   http://www.reuters.com/article/pressRelease/idUS147689+19-Jun-2009+MW20090619

Between the Administration at the University, the Government and the two Industries, the players are in place to carry the ball – at the University.

It is no surprise that the mandate of the Cdn Nuclear Studies Centre at the U of S includes radioactive waste disposal.

The Nuclear Waste Management Organization met in Saskatoon in mid-September, in a meeting closed to the public. We know that the industry has targeted Saskatchewan as a place to dump the radioactive waste.  We know that the industry has no place to get rid of the radioactive spent fuel bundles from the more than a hundred nuclear reactors in the U.S. that have been accumulating for decades. Not to mention a site for disposal of all the other radioactive waste there and in Canada.

Richard Florizone, Vice-President of Finance, University of Saskatchewan, did not disclose that the Canadian Nuclear Studies Centre was already up and running in his statements to the public consultation process.  He lied about acid rain. His video-taped presentation for the Saskatchewan public contained misleading and half-truths.  (see itme #4 below)

= = = = = = = = = = =


The theme of my verbal presentation was that the economics of resource depletion dictate that we transition to renewable energy sources.  We don’t have a choice, unless we want collapse of the economy.

The economy is built upon non-renewable energy sources.  If we don’t transition off them, we’ll hit the wall hard when the depletion is complete (I used the cod fishery example).

Nuclear electricity in Saskatchewan is for 2 things:  tar sands production and export to the U.S.

It will only accelerate the depletion of already-dwindling supplies of fossil fuels (tar sands) and water (hydro-electricity) in the U.S. The U.S. resource-depletion problem will be transferred to Canada.  (It already is with tar sands and water.)

I emphasized that the Nuclear Studies Centre at the University of Saskatchewan has been in operation for more than a year.  The public consultations therefore lacked integrity:  we were providing input on something that has already been decided.

The university is serving the interests of the industry and not the public interest.

The Committee asked their standard question about what I’d do regarding the implementation of renewables.  I responded by saying that it is only through research and experimentation that we will find out how to make the transition to renewables.

It is the role of the University in our society to serve that research and learning function.  Instead the University is studying nuclear power production and radioactive waste disposal.

During the questions I was able to bring in the acid rain that is destroying northern Saskatchewan, thanks to the tar sands.

When the resource depletion is complete the oil and gas companies will pick up and leave, exactly as they have done everywhere else in the world.  We will be left with a destroyed environment, just like the tar sands in Alberta.  People will not be able to support themselves.

The following might make it seem as though the exchange was heated.  It wasn’t.  I feel a little sorry for the SaskParty (Conservative) guys.  They are the back-benchers.  They aren’t bad people.

The Sask Party MLA Randy Weekes denied the relationship between expanding electricity needs in the province and tar sands production.  I said that the Petroleum Technology Research Center at the University of Regina is working on the large electrical diodes that will be used and that will require vast amounts of electricity.

When asked about how we in Saskatchewan are viewed by the rest of Canada and the world, I said we are looked upon with pity. (I should have said loathing.)

The rest of the world is moving ahead.  We are pursuing a path (nuclear & tar sands) that not only will make us offensive to the rest of the world in terms of GHG emissions and climate change.  But also, we will be pitied because we will have impoverished our environment which in turn will impoverish us, eventually.  You cannot have prosperity in an impoverished environment.

The Sask Party MLA Randy Weekes denied that a decision has been made on nuclear power.  I responded with the information about the Cdn Nuclear Studies Centre that has been in operation for more than a year.  If there has been no decision, then why is their mandate both nuclear power production and radioactive waste storage?

It was my impression that the Sask Party MLA’s might not have known that the Centre is already up and running.

I was able to get in a word about the Canada-U.S. Western Energy Corridor. It is further evidence that the decision has been made,  in spite of their assertions that it hasn’t.

And so on.

When the Committee broke after my presentation, a committee member told me that his Father’s life was saved in the 1950s by nuclear medicine.

He said that I (Sandra) don’t favour nuclear studies at the University but without it, his Father would have been dead.  I mentioned that the issue we are grappling with is about energy and not medicine and suggested that, regardless, we are moving to less harmful ways of treating disease.

God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change.  The courage to change the things I can and the wisdom to know the difference.  There are a number of men on the committee who are simply tuned in to the nuclear frequency.

It is possible (ha!) that some of them privately dismissed what I had to say about resource depletion – they don’t believe it, or don’t want to.

The good thing is that the meetings are recorded and we can file our information. Leave no doubt that we will tread a green path and not a scorched one (as Winona LaDuke describes it).

The deadline for submissions is Oct 16th.  Details in another email.

= = = = = = = = = = = = =


An economy is based upon a resource. The people who gain ownership of the resource make very large profits (think oil and gas, potash, etc. – public resources that corporations have been given a right to develop or exploit).

The profits are enlarged by crying that the royalties are too high (they’ll take their business to another jurisdiction – ha!). Direct the money to the corporate coffer and out of  the public purse.

And simultaneously, transfer costs to the public purse by crying about too much “government regulation”.  Which is simply a way of transferring all of the environmental and health costs of their operations to us to pay for, through taxation.  Another form of “bail-out” or transfer of wealth from the public to the large transnational corps.

We are repeatedly told that the new economy is a “knowledge economy”.  It is not surprising that the corporations are taking over the universities.

Starting with the work on GMOs I repeatedly run into professors, students and staff at the University who are not free to speak their minds.  Honest discourse has been replaced by subservience to corporate agendas.

I would like to collectively give us a big shake.  If you cannot speak freely at the University, what comes next? … maybe the young people among us do not know the poem “First they came . . . “. I appended it as a reminder, item #6.

I observed the loss of integrity again, repeatedly, through the Uranium Partnership Development (UDP or “NUKE”) Panel struck by the Government of Saskatchewan and chaired by Richard Florizone, Vice-President of Finance of the University of Saskatchewan.

More than 2,000 citizens heard the lie from Florizone that the acid rain problem in Canada has been solved.

The public meetings were about nuclear reactors.  Why was Florizone even mentioning acid rain?

Understand the relationship between the tar sands (acid rain production) and “small” nuclear reactors which are to be developed under the “Uranium Development Partnership”.  (Actually, the “small” reactors have already been developed in the U.S., in Japan and elsewhere.  Whatever is done in Saskatchewan will build on that. The University is a vehicle through which to get the “small” reactors up and running.)

Huge amounts of electricity are needed for the large electrical diodes that will heat the far underground to get the tar to the point where it will flow.  It is projected to take more than 3 years of 24-hour heating just to get the first tar on the Saskatchewan side of the border flowing.

Imagine the vast quantities of electricity (heat) needed by the tar sands producers.

The increase in acid rain from tar sands processing continues , and will continue, unabated.  Since it was first identified that some areas  of northern Saskatchewan (downwind) are already past critical load limits (CCME Report, 2003) there has only been EXPANSION of the tar sands.  The Government is sitting on the updates on how bad the acid rain problem now is.

It is very convenient for the industry to have the Vice-President of the University tell us all that the acid rain problem in Canada is no longer a problem because we are so smart we fixed it.  It’s about the use of lies (propaganda)to remove obstacles. to tar sands expansion.

Further, Florizone led the public to believe that we were being consulted about the whole uranium/nuclear question, including whether or not there would be a nuclear studies centre of excellence at the U of S.

While he was doing that, he had to know that the Canadian Centre of Nuclear Studies at the University was already  established.  In the “On Campus News”, July 17, 2009 the Vice-President of Research, Karen Chad was interviewed.  She said that the Centre has been in operation for more than a year.  (Link no longer valid http://www.usask.ca/communications/ocn/09-july-17/2.php.)  The decision had been made and implemented.

The mandate of the Canadian Centre of Nuclear Studies at the U of S includes research into “power production” and radioactive waste disposal (“safe storage” as she calls it).

Call a spade a spade.  Richard Florizone is not the kind of role model acceptable at the University.  We pay his salary so that our children have a centre of learning, where people search for truth.  They should not be taught that lies and deception are just part of the way we do business.

We are being sold out by people in Government who are facilitating the transfer of ownership of the University to the transnational corporations.

The rumbling started a while back.  Howard Woodhouse has now given us a vehicle (his book “Selling Out: Academic Freedom and the Corporate Market”) – the train is moving out of the station.  I invite you to jump on board.  Good times are a-comin’!  We are well on our way to taking back what is ours.  It may take a while but we’ll do it.

= = = = = = = = = = = =


The pattern is always the same.  Resources – Fish, Crops, Animals, and now Knowledge.

With the cod fishery:  what you had was concentration into fewer and fewer hands, and then into corporate-ownership.  Even big fishermen can’t afford refrigerated factory trawler ships.  They killed a renewable resource that once made it possible for local people to provide for themselves.

The public money “invested” in the depleting resource (cod) ended up benefitting very few people, a characteristic of the “public-private-partnerships” (Big Business – Big Government collaborations) that we now recognize.

The fight is still on to stop and reverse the takeover of the food supply.  I’ll send out an email about the documentary movie I recently saw at the Broadway Theatre, “Food, Inc.”.   It would be excellent if everyone could see it.  It reminds me of our never-ending fight over GMO Wheat.

Here is another characteristic I have noticed:  relatively weak people who are manipulable are moved into strategic positions in the University, in Government, and in the bureaucracy.  Often they are people who go back-and-forth between those 3 institutions and carry their connections with them.   More Money and rubbing shoulders with people who are perceived to be influential are sufficient to give a person who is basically insecure the illusion that they have power and importance.  They are not, in the words of Einstein, people “who see with their own eyes and feel with their own heart.”

If you look at the characteristics of the corporate takeover of the food supply, you can see PRECISELY the same process now underway at the University in relation to our energy sources and knowledge base.

I have explained in other emails:  control of the knowledge base is a critical component of a fascist and militaristic state.

These developments are dangerous and we need to succeed in putting a stop to them.

Lordy – how is it that we got born into this particular time in history and in this place?!  Do we rise to the occasion or not?  And what are the consequences if we don’t?

I can see why people choose to be ignorant!   The line from the song by Canadian Neil Young written in response to the National Guard gunning down students who were protesting the Viet Nam War at Kent State University in Ohio, “How can you run if you know?”.   It’s easier if you use the “Don’t know” model!

= = = = = = = = = = == = = = =


NOTE:  we are perverse!  When we are threatened our natural reaction is to clam up.  That is EXACTLY what we should NOT do.  You are vulnerable if people do not know your situation.  You isolate yourself by not speaking.

Choose who you will speak to.  People have an innate desire to be helpful, to be useful.  If you speak to the right people, you begin to create a mass.  A mass is needed.  If the threat is real, the mass will form to give you support.

Thank-you to Howard for speaking up and drawing attention to the need for the citizen-owners of the University to rally behind him to take back our resource.   Mount the steeds!

First they came for the university professors, and I did not speak out – because I was not a university professor.  (Ha!  I just added my own line.)  The rest is real:

First they came for the communists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a communist;
Then they came for the socialists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a socialist;
Then they came for the trade unionists, and I did not speak out—because I was not a trade unionist;
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—because I was not a Jew;
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak out for me.

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>