Academic freedom: real progress

When a government keeps a promise, it should be applauded.

The Legault government had promised a bill to protect free speech in universitiesand he just dropped it off.

“Censorship has no place in our classrooms,” said Minister McCann.

Obvious, you say? Not if you are in the middle.


The bill defines academic freedom as the “right of any person to exercise freely and without doctrinal, ideological or moral constraint an activity by which he contributes, in his field of activity, to the accomplishment of the mission of such an educational institution.

The aim here is therefore to protect both the freedom of expression of teachers and that of students.

It also provides concrete mechanisms to ensure that all of this is not just empty talk.

It is indeed disturbing to see the arbitrariness and improvisation with which the cases already covered by the media were treated.

Panicked, concerned about their image, university directors bought peace by generally agreeing with those who shouted the loudest.

Is the bill improveable? Everything still is, but the starting point is excellent.

The rectors will obviously express their reservations. The only government intervention that finds favor in their eyes is funding.

The bill would not have been necessary if they behaved less like business leaders, less like public relations people, even like activists for various causes, and more like guardians of the historic mission of universities. : the production and transmission of knowledge.

However, this historic mission, by definition, implies the freedom of research in compliance with recognized ethical and scientific criteria, and the freedom to discuss everything, including what may be disturbing.

If it is true that Quebec universities have not yet experienced the frightening excesses seen at the University of Ottawa and in the United States, and if it is true that McGill and Concordia are, for the moment, more affected than others by draconian wokism, I see all the more reason to act now rather than in the middle of the storm.

Obviously, we are not asking this bill to solve all the serious problems affecting the university community.

He can do nothing against this scandalous federal policy which formally excludes white men from certain competitions.

He can do nothing against this infiltration of entire departments by militants disguised as professors who hire boyfriends who think like them.

He can do nothing against those fanatics who glorify ethnic diversity but abhor intellectual diversity and call anyone who does not think like them a racist.

But let’s take what can be taken as we go.


We also hope that Minister McCann’s decision to leave politics does not disrupt the legislative progress of the bill.

It absolutely must be adopted before the October 3 elections.

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