Statement by Rick Mehta Regarding His Dismissal from Acadia University

The Ontario Civil Liberties Association supports Professor Rick Mehta to be fully reinstated to his tenured professorship at Acadia University.

This is Professor Mehta’s full statement regarding his August 31, 2018 dismissal:

LINK-PDF-File

Statement by Rick Mehta Regarding His Dismissal from Acadia University

SUMMARY

On August 31, 2018, President Peter Ricketts fired me from my position of Associate Professor of Psychology at Acadia University. In the letter that he gave me at my dismissal hearing, he stated that he was firing me on the basis of issues that “were wide ranging and include failure to fufill [my] academic responsibilities, unprofessional conduct, breach of privacy, and harassment and intimidation of students and other members of the University community.”

President Ricketts’ letter of dismissal states only broad categories of misconduct instead of providing any specific examples of misconduct on my part. The university hid behind vague accusations and opaque investigations, while refusing to spell out their concerns – which were based on filtered complaints. I believe that their stealth charges were pretexts to get rid of me at any cost. The real reason for my dismissal has to do with a culture war that is taking place in universities all over Canada and much of the Western world.

Since the 1990s, the political composition of academia has shifted dramatically to the left. At this time, the political composition of academics is skewed so that the left side of the political spectrum is far overrepresented relative to the right side; in other words, there is a lack of political diversity in modern academia. One consequence of having large groups of people thinking in a similar fashion is that it creates ideal conditions for extreme positions to take root. A second consequence is that it creates ideal conditions in which one group becomes dominant and does not tolerate voices of dissent.

At this time, many universities in Canada (Acadia included) are changing their mission to that of pursuing social justice instead of searching for universal truths. Social justice is focussed on an uncompromising commitment to equity, diversity, and inclusion. In my role as a free speech advocate, I have challenged many of the views that are dominant at Acadia. Rather than refute me, my detractors have instead stated that they are opposed to the manner in which I have expressed my arguments, that I have created a climate of fear on campus and/or social media, and that I have harassed and intimidated those with whom I disagree. In addition, my attempts to defend myself against these accusations have been framed as behaviours that are unethical or immoral.

In the sections that follow, I will first provide background information about myself so that readers can get an idea of how dedicated I am to maximizing students’ academic success. I will then explain the events that led me to become a free speech advocate, the events that led to the MacKay and Hooper Reports that form the basis for dismissing me, and the final events that preceded my precipitous dismissal. I will then end with my closing thoughts as I look to the future in this fight that has national implications for academic freedom in Canada.

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OCLA supports opponents of Ontario’s vague and unfair planning law

chestnut sandwhich house

The Ontario Civil Liberties Association (OCLA) sides with Ottawa residents who are challenging the constitutionality of the so-called “minor variance” bylaw-variance provision of Ontario’s Planning Act.

Dr. Hadi Salmasian’s constitutional challenge of section 45(1) of the Planning Act, his challenge of the jurisdiction of the Local Planning Appeal Tribunal (LPAT), and his opposition against a large multi-unit building development near his home will be heard on October 3, at 10 AM, at City Hall, Keefer Room, 110 Laurier Ave. W., Cartier Square, Ottawa, ON K2P 2L7. (LPAT File No. PL180613)

Dr. Salmasian will argue that Ontario’s bylaw-variance provision (s. 45(1) of the Planning Act) is unconstitutional for violation of the doctrine of vagueness and for violation of the Charter right of equal protection and benefit from the law.

Ontario is the only province in Canada whose bylaw-variance provision in its planning act sets a jurisdictional threshold as “minor variance”, without defining “minor” and without providing the established criteria of undue harm from compliance with the bylaw and absence of injury to neighbouring properties.

As a result, the known market and political forces have free reign. The variance provision has become a committee and tribunal planning instrument in-effect without democratic oversight, and the impacts on established neighbourhoods are devastating, in Ottawa at least.

Even the fact that the subject property of the urban lot is on a former industrial landfill (in Old Ottawa East, Ward 17), with “widespread presence” of toxic heavy metals and cancer-causing polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), was not enough for the Committee of Adjustment to consider and to follow the law (Provincial Policy Statement directives ss. 3.2.1, 3.2.2 and 4.8.3(1)) by not approving the applications until after the required studies are proven to be accomplished.

OCLA has provided legal research and litigation logistic support to the self-represented appellant Dr. Salmasian.

Key submissions of the appellant to the LPAT include:

  • Notice of Constitutional Question, dated June 5, 2018 (PDF)
  • Factual and legal submissions, dated August 31, 2018 (PDF)
  • Book of Tabs for the legal submissions, dated September 6, 2018 (PDF)
  • Book of Authorities, dated September 3, 2018 (PDF)

Both OCLA and Dr. Salmasian are available to answer questions. Please initiate contact by email.

Hadi Salmasian, PhD, appellant
h_salmasian@yahoo.com

Denis Rancourt, PhD, Researcher, OCLA:
denis.rancourt@gmail.com

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OCLA letter to Hon. Caroline Mulroney, Attorney General of Ontario

The OCLA has sent a letter asking incoming Attorney General of Ontario Caroline Mulroney not to consent to prosecution under the censorship provisions of Canada’s Criminal Code, and to retract the Attorney General’s consent for ongoing prosecutions initiated with the consent of her predecessor.

The letter can be read here, and is embedded below:

Update: 2018-08-16 – Response from Attorney General Mulroney

Update: 2018-09-05 – OCLA’s reply to the Attorney General’s response

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Interview on The Evan Soloman Show

OCLA Executive Director Joseph Hickey was interviewed on The Evan Soloman Show yesterday, about the OCLA’s July 16, 2018 letter to the Ministers of Justice and Foreign Affairs of Canada re: Imprisonment of Canadian Monika Schaefer in Germany for a video expressing a view about the Nazi holocaust.

The interview is here: http://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/2018-07-17-EvanSolomanShow-interview.mp3

The call-in segment following the interview is here: http://ocla.ca/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/2018-07-17-EvanSolomanShow-callers.mp3

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OCLA letter re: Imprisonment of Canadian Monika Schaefer in Germany for a video expressing a view about the Nazi holocaust

The OCLA sent a letter today to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Canada and the Minister of Justice of Canada asking for their intervention in the case of Monika Schaefer.

A link to the letter is here, or the letter can be read below.

Update: 2018-07-23 – Response from Brian Szware, Director, Consular Case Management, Consular Operations Bureau, Global Affairs Canada

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