Volume 92, Issue 55

Wednesday, January 6, 1999



Free Suzuki

Small route

Not quite a political platform

Not quite a political platform

Re: A recipe for what ails society, Dec. 8

To the Editor:

I went to listen to David Suzuki Dec. 7 and I found his speech very humorous and interesting. One thing struck me though. Suzuki mentioned Buy Nothing Day and how "they're having a hell of a time getting anyone to do it."

Interestingly, the same University Students' Council that helped organize the visit of Suzuki is also refusing to let Oxfam organize Buy Nothing Day in the University Community Centre with weak arguments that they would rather defend the interests of consumption than those of free speech. Ian Armour, the USC president, says that Suzuki, "made a good point and that we have to start at the grassroots level." Why not start with his own organization?

Not only do they show reluctance to let Oxfam organize their manifestation against consumerism and over-consumption, they also apply censorship when not letting a Western socialist club get started up. Is it coincidence or is it discrimination against groups that are not favourable to certain interests? Is the USC into politics?

When VP-finance Dave Small says, "there is an advantage to working with the corporate world rather than the government," I think he's making a political statement. The USC should not be used as a political platform where you can choose who should speak and which views should be presented. In that case you are not politically neutral. Western, being an educational institution, has a responsibility to encourage different views and opinions as long as they are not sexist or racist. It's called pluralism and it is one of the pillars of liberal democracy.

As UNESCO (a UN organization) ranks Canadian universities No. 1 in the world and Canada is being promoted as the great defender of human rights. Thus, it is even more important for Canadian students to have the opportunity to see alternatives to the present paths of society, whether they are being presented by a professor or the students themselves.

In many other countries there are political parties on the campus that can decide on the budget and vote on the student council's policies. If not, the council should be apolitical and let everybody express their opinion whether it is in favour of commercialism or not.

Shahin Eghraghi
Political Science III

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Copyright The Gazette 1999