Sunday, July 08, 2007

It's only arm's length if your arms are really really short

And universities' hands appear to be growing straight out of their shoulders.

Item 1: Hired education
From The Vancouver Sun (link via Bread and Roses):

John Reynolds, Harper's buddy and former campaign advisor, says
"he gave his blessing when the University of B.C. asked him if it would suffer negative ramifications by hiring Liberal MP Stephen Owen as its vice-president.

"The university phoned me a couple of months ago, said they were thinking about
him, would that be a problem?" Reynolds told The Vancouver Sun.

UBC has been one of Canada's largest recipients of federal grants."

Item 2: The best education that DND money can pay for.
From The Calgary Herald :
"David Bercuson, director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies, said Harper would surely extend the mission if his government wasn't "on the ropes on so many issues."
"If he had his majority, the question would be moot. He would extend the mission," Bercuson said."

Yeah, well we all knew that already and Calgary NeoCon David Bercuson's war-mongering is a veritable staple of Canadian journalism :
Bercuson in the G&M : "Afghanistan is the basic foundation of [Harper's] entire effort to rebuild Canada's influence in the world."

but what is this Centre for Military and Strategic Studies he hails from?
It's a department at the University of Calgary, one of 12 in universities across Canada, that is funded by the Department of National Defence via their Security and Defence Forum.

From Embassy Mag :
"According to the Department of National Defence, over 600 people, including 183 faculty members, are employed in these centres across Canada. In 2005-2006, scholars from these centres churned out 600 publications, including articles, books, and chapters. In this same period, the centres received funding worth $1,255,000. As of October 2006, DND approved a 25 per cent increase in funding. In the next five years, the funding will shoot up to $1,650,000, a 32 per cent increase.

The centres have to apply to a body appointed by the minister of defence in order to receive funding from the SDF. Centres can receive between $80,000 to 100,000 in funds. The SDF will spend $2.5 million on grants to the centres this year. In addition, the SDF also awards scholarships for graduate and post-graduate studies and also offers special grants to individuals and institutions to finance academic projects and conferences.

The research topics must focus on the following: Terrorism, weapons of mass destruction, failed or failing states, regional flashpoints, Canadian Forces transformation, the defence of Canada, the Canadian Forces' international role, the 3D approach and Canada-United States defence regulations.

Steve Staples, Rideau Institute, says that while it is not uncommon for government to fund academic programs in institutions, SDF centres have to toe "a particular view" that subscribes to larger spending on the military:

"Most of the hawkish academic viewpoints that you see in the media are part of this Security and Defence Forum group," he says. "Many of these spokespeople in charge of these institutions were in favour of invading Iraq, missile defence and large increases in defence spending."
"It's not about scholarly journals, peer reviewed articles that they have written–it's really about appearing in the mainstream media. What you tend to get as a general trend, is a steady stream of hawkish opinion from academics that are all linked together through Department of National Defence funding," says Mr. Staples.

Incidentally, when quoted in the G&M, Natty Post, and other print media, David Bercuson is usually introduced as "director of the Centre for Military and Strategic Studies at the University of Calgary and director of programs for the Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute."

The Canadian Defence and Foreign Affairs Institute is a Calgary-based non-profit research/lobby group. Donors include General Dynamics, the world's fifth largest defence contractor, and the Canadian Council of Chief Executives.

So we have one university vetting its hiring choices via Harper's henchman, and another 12 running departments funded by the DND. Their armies have disappeared right up their sleevies.

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