Saturday, June 19, 2010

Meet Claude Haridge

One of the guys arrested in the Ottawa RBC fire bombing, 50 year old Claude Haridge of Sittsville, Ontario, has a fairly extensive Internet presence. Here's how they arrested him:

Crazy day today at work. This guy Claude Haridge works for the company I work for. When he got to work today a full tactical squad with automatic rifles and shotguns arrested him in the parking lot, I guess they had followed him from his house.

As it turns out, Haridge is an Electro-Mechanical Engineer for Terrapoint Canada Inc .

Here's him demanding justice for Mohamed Harkat.

And here he is singing the praises of an "activism course", entitled Science and Society, that he took at the University of Ottawa, and which has been mentioned in several MSM articles on the topic.

And here's a long .pdf relating to said activism course--a defense of it and Denis Rancourt, its teacher--which ran into trouble over various issues (see below), and which the university at one point looked set to discontinue (and may indeed have discontinued). Note several emails from Haridge, and also a letter of support from Sabrina Bowman, Office of Pat Martin, M.P. (Winnipeg Centre) on page 28. A short excerpt:

If you, as university administrators, are interested in helping shape students into critical and independent thinkers, leaders in their local and global communities that push creative and
innovative solutions to global problems, you will not only allow this course to continue, you will give it the resources it requires and work with Professor Rancourt rather than against him. However, if you would like to mould students into a single prototype that does not ask too many questions or "cause too much trouble," by all means, continue fighting against the course.

Note also on page 32 and forward, the accusations of anti-semitism against the professor running the course, Denis Rancourt, which resulted in the professor's filing a notice of grievance, and which may have been behind the move to discontinue.

The course is being taught as "a course where you bring in a person to basically bash George Bush [and] the Jews in Isra‘l; it's not what the course was meant to be,"[ said Alain St-Amant, head of the chemistry department]. According to St-Amant, the course has included "anti-Semitic crap."

Of course, innocent until proven guilty, and all that. But definitely more unneeded trouble for University of Ottawa.

PS. haven't really had time to grind through the .pdf. If anyone finds anything interesting in it that I've missed, please note in the comments.

Update: Here's another of the suspects, Matthew Morgan-Brown, defending the "activism" course. Thanks Otis in comments.


Otis said...

Looks like Matthew Morgan-Brown and Claude Haridge hung out at the same intellectual anti-semitism course. Oh, U of Zero - how you never fail to impress:

agcarroll said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Marky Mark said...

That pdf takes some slogging, but it seems the salient issue about the course was whether it could be characterized as a science course when it was about "activism" complete with a lecture about so called "Jewish fear" and the Palestinian right of return. If you're going to get university credit for science shouldn't you be studying the periodic table or something of that nature?

And people wonder why we're falling behind China and India...

bigcitylib said...

Well, it sounds like it was origonally meant to be about "science and society", which a perfectly legit and IMHo fascinating topic. The question is I guess whether Rancourt pulled it in another direction. If you note the last link, it looks like he's bailing Haridge out.

Marky Mark said...

Reminds me of my Grade 11 Functions class where the teacher took the view that "math was life"--my essay was how math was NOT life, for which he gave me something like 60% and called me a "straight thinker." I blame him for not getting into Harvard...

The pdf makes for really interesting reading but it seems to me so far that the gist of the complaint by the chemistry prof was that in substance it wasn't a science course and that it didn't meet minimum academic standards.

bigcitylib said...

Right, but note that Amant, the guy complaining about the course, is one of the people who approved it in the first place. He's arguing that Rancourt ignored the course desc. and did what he wanted.

Marky Mark said...

OK I missed that-I should probably read the whole pdf first...meanwhile what ever happened with the machete case and where is T-G?

bigcitylib said...

TG I worry about. Nobody's seen him. Gatineau thing is in limbo. No suspects have materialized, and if any do it will have to wait until next shcool year (says Bergamini)when hopefully B. will recgonize the perp again. That's from a source I've read but didn't link to. Maybe I'll write up something brief later and find it. Also heard some rumours about police suspcicious of B. and Co. making stuff up but the source is a bit shaky.

Marky Mark said...

It's very odd-either he went cold turkey or something's up--I hope he's OK as he has been a fixture since 2006 when I first started to read and comment on blogs!

I thought from B's FB page that he graduated this year, but maybe I read it wrong and it was just his student government term that was completed.

bigcitylib said...

Latest on B. is here, though its about a month old.

dupmar said...

I think the University of Ottawa can count itself lucky that it wasn't itself a target of this FEC activist campaign involving firebombs.

Unfortunately, this will provide further grist to the blogging tory campaign to target the University of Ottawa as the center of some anarchist conspiracy against the government of Canada.

From Claude Haridge's FEC website we learn :

"You’ve heard of the activism course at the University of Ottawa… You know: weekly radical speakers, intrinsic motivation, no institutional evaluation, self-directed democratically determined curriculum, open to all, pivotal societal issues…" ...

"Well, guess what?
The university administration is working to close it all down.
Unbelievable eh?"

"They have concluded that free expression and defiant critical analysis of the institution itself are not in line with their marketing strategy or with the interests of the corporate-minded executive… Go figure? "

"This looks like a job for the Freedom of Expression Committee (FEC)!"

and the FEC further argues,

"This course was created by democratic student action and is being threatened by a nearsighted and reactionary university administration."

"It is a unique and empowering course open to all."

"A unique experiment in democratic education - no institutional evaluation - intrinsic motivation based, blending issues, theory, and action - a collective learning experience about the state of the world and how to change it ..."

On the plus side the FEC describes the University of Ottawa administration as "reactionary" and not part of some terrorist collective and it would appear the complaints are directed towards reactionary bureaucrats shutting down some " experiment in democratic education" involving "no institutional evaluation".

This reminds me of the period I spent studying at the University of Heidelberg, back in the mid seventies when I was working with NATO in Europe, several thousand members of the Maoist Kommunistische Bund Westdeutschland had taken over the university campus, kicked out the professors, and started giving their own university courses involving "no institutional evaluation" and thus no credits or recognition.

Now that was a hotbed of radical activism, but it's hardly the current situation at the University of Ottawa, the blogging tory campaign notwithstanding.

dupmar said...

As for the nomenclature of the group, Fight for Freedom Coalition, this makes no sense if we are dealing with an anarchist collective. A coalition represents a form of united front, a pact or agreement towards specific objectives between organizations with differing programs, not a pact between individuals advocating the same programme.

From what I can see "coalition" is overblown rhetoric, this grouping may be more appropriately designated as an anarchist collective who shared a common platform, even if it was not adequately formulated.

dupmar said...

Blogging tory Steve Janke offers the following commentary on Claude Haridge:

"He's an engineer, so he is capable of thinking logically (putting aside the monumental illogic of firebombing a bank and then posting a video about it)".

Yes, damned inconvenient that this one can't be blamed on some Humanities or Social Sciences graduate, between Janke and Chuckercanuck they would have you believe that engineering graduates are bulwarks of rational political thought, immune from extremist political lunacy.

This of course overlooks such unusual specimens as Valery Fabrikant at Concordia, or to a lesser extent such oddball perennial fringe political candidates such as
John Turmel, an electrical engineering graduate from Carleton who campaigns under the title of
"The Engineer".

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