CBC jumps into the sandbox

You know that there’s something wrong with your line of thinking when you tread in territory where even the Canadian Federation of Students won’t go.

The radical left wing activists at the Ryerson Student Union (RSU) were to table a motion at the annual congress of the Canadian Federation of Students (CFS), which the CFS voted to not even consider. That, of course, won’t stop the RSU from their mission.

Consider this event, posted on the RSU website:

ACADEMIC BOYCOTT & ACADEMIC FREEDOM

A Ryerson Community Forum

Wednesday November 28th 2007 @ 6pm

Ted Rogers School of Management, Rm 1-067 (1st Floor) 575 Bay Street @ Dundas “Student-led university academic boycott movements were deployed trans-nationally in resistance to South African apartheid. Today, in response to a statement against academic boycotts, issued by President Sheldon Levy, the debate continues in the contemporary context about the Middle east.

This forum will explore the role of academic boycotts as a tool of resistance and their relationship to academic freedom.

The panel will include:
* Salim Valley South African anti-apartheid activist
* Alan Sears Ryerson Sociology Professor
* Stuart Murray Ryerson English Professor
* John Caruana Ryerson Philosophy Professor

Moderated by SUHANA MEHARCHAND Award-Winning CBC News Anchor

This is a historic debate, seating will be limited, come early.

This event is brought to you by: RSU & Ryerson University Presidents’ Office”

Name: Heather Kere, Vice-President of Education Phone Number: 416.979.5255 ext. 2318 Email Address: vp.education@rsuonline.ca

Let’s summarize:

  • According to the student representatives at Ryerson, Israel is an apartheid state, much like South Africa used to be.

    Heather Kere, vice-president education of the Ryerson Students’ Union, is calling on the Canadian Federation of Students – Canada’s largest student lobby group – to “research the feasibility of a boycott, divestment and sanctions campaign” against the “Apartheid State” of Israel.

  • Given this, a discussion/debate will be had as to the effectiveness of academic boycotts as a tool against Israel.
  • The premise, according to this group, is clear: Israel is an “apartheid state”. The finer points of a solution are what is under consideration.
  • Suhana Meharchand, a CBC News Anchor is, in effect, validating the RSU’s premise by moderating a debate about academic boycott as a tool for “resistance”

Questions

  • Is CBC an impartial news organization when it comes to reporting on Middle-Eastern affairs? How it labels terrorism?

  • News anchors should not endorse political views (and Meharchand is by validating a debate based on a premise that is itself debatable (if not absurd), but is instead accepted as fact by the RSU and as the basis of subsequent debates, including this one!). News anchors aren’t even allowed to endorse toothpaste, why is Meharchand endorsing a debate involving these radical views?
  • Is there something wrong with the corporate and philosophical culture at CBC that this sort of thing is considered acceptable?
  • As a Canadian, you are a stakeholder of the CBC. Is this what you’ve come to expect from representatives of an organization that claims to represent you?

UPDATE: It’s worse. Not at all apparent from the event’s press release on the RSU website, is that the “debate” on academic boycott as a tool for “resistance” is co-sponsored by the Ryerson Faculty Association and the University itself. I fear that these groups, and the involvement of a reporter from CBC will add an air of legitimacy to a discussion which would be deemed indefensible outside of the loopy arena of student politics.

My friends in the Jewish community forwarded a particularly troubling account of “debate” on the campus at York University. From an article titled “Jewish York Students Flee From Mob” in the Jewish Tribune:

York University saw the worst antisemitic display ever on that campus last week, said Ben Feferman, senior campus coordinator for the Canadian region of Hasbara Fellowships, an Israel advocacy organization spearheaded by Aish Hatorah.

The Betar-supported Campus Coalition of Zionists (CCZ), together with Hasbarah, manned a table in Vari Hall, with permission from the university, with pamphlets and brochures about the danger emanating from Iran.

However, the situation became very difficult for the students who participated. They were vastly outnumbered by pro-Arab students who surrounded them, and eventually the pro-Israel activists fled. As they left, there was cheering by the pro-Arab mob.

According to Feferman, “I’ve never seen anything like this at York. We weren’t even discussing the issues anymore. It was pure Jew hatred. That’s what
it’s come to.”

In fact, Feferman noticed an acquaintance there and said hello, but received no acknowledgement.

She emailed him later that day to apologize, explaining that she didn’t want everyone to know she was Jewish. To Feferman, this episode is a red light.

“We know there’s a crisis when a student on campus is afraid to reveal she’s Jewish and feels unsafe,” he said.

The following day, Palestinian Media Watch’s Itamar Marcus addressed York students on the daily indoctrination of children living under the Palestinian Authority to hate Jews. “It was absolute chaos,” Hollander declared. “It was impossible to moderate. People would
ask loaded questions. Marcus wasn’t given an opportunity to respond. He refused to get into a screaming match. One girl, raised in Canada, said she herself would gladly become a suicide bomber and would have no qualms raising her daughter to be a shahid.”

A couple of weeks ago, when US-based anti-Israel professor of linguistics Noam Chomsky was scheduled to address York students via satellite, CCZ and Hasbarah joined forces to provide information about what Chomsky stands for. “We wanted to do a protest,”

Feferman said, “but the university administration wouldn’t allow it, saying they didn’t want a lot of noise and they were afraid that signs could be used as weapons.”

The RSU is free to publish their positions labeling Israel as an “apartheid state”, but we are also free to condemn their position. When the Faculty Association, the University and a CBC reporter get involved to foster debate on the issue, they are legitimizing the RSU’s indefensible position. By labeling Israel as an apartheid state, in effect, the RSU is arguing that Israel is illegitimate under international law.

Contrast this with the academic freedom afforded to those that defend Israel’s right to exist and the rights of activists that wish to educate people that anti-semitism is still a problem.

Facebook statistics

Everybody and their brother knows about Facebook these days. Whether finding old high school classmates, building one’s professional network, or sharing photos among friends, Facebook has many uses to millions of users. There’s a new feature on the website for advertisers that allows the ad buyer the ability of progressively narrowing down a target audience by selecting and excluding demographic data. The side benefit of this is that we can parse Facebook’s user data and get a better understanding of its audience and reach.

Here are the top countries represented on Facebook (users):
1. United States 19,951,900
2. Canada 7,361,720
3. United Kingdom 6,407,580
4. Australia 1,498,320
5. South Africa 605,820
6. France 429,540
7. Norway 891,480
8. Sweden 827,940
9. Mexico 393,940
10. Egypt 376,480
11. Columbia 359,220
12. Turkey 327,760
13. India 287,500
14. Germany 259,760
15. New Zealand 208,000
16. United Arab Emirates 188,600
17. Singapore 180,660
18. Spain 178,900
19. Lebanon 163,720
20. Ireland 131,660
21. Italy 121,000
22. Saudi Arabia 115,980
23. Pakistan 115,240
24. Netherlands 109,840
25. Switzerland 99,600
26. Malaysia 98,060
27. Japan 95,340
28. Israel 94,180
29. China 83,640
30. South Korea 51,080
31. Dominican Republic 33,060

In Canada, the male/female breakdown is:
2,507,620 male
3,431,280 female

The top cities in Canada are:
1,326,280 Toronto
549,600 Montreal
346,020 Vancouver
317,700 Halifax
275,820 Ottawa
186,620 Winnipeg
432,060 Calgary
365,120 Edmonton

In Canada, the political breakdown is:
618,240 Liberal
236,540 Moderate
281,840 Conservative

The male/female breakdown of these figures are (m/f)
282,220/291,300 Liberal
126,360/94,480 Moderate
158,020/104,460 Conservative

As one goes through college/university in Canada, does one become more or less Liberal or Conservative?
Conservative:
Freshmen 3,420
Sophomores 4,300
Juniors 4,440
Seniors 4,760

conservativesovertime.jpg
Click to enlarge

Liberal:
9,740 Fresmen
13,160 Sophomores
14,500 Juniors
16,840 Seniors

liberalsovertime.jpg

Note the slopes on both graphs. The Conservative graph has a slope of y=416x meaning that as each year goes by, with all else being equal, we can infer that the university experience produces 416 more Conservatives each year of school. Likewise, the slope of the Liberal graph is y=2264x meaning that if our assumptions are the same, we can infer that the university experience produces 2264 more Liberals per year of the undergraduate experience. It would be beneficial to measure the data over four years, but we can hypothesize from this data that universities are having the effect of producing Liberals over Conservatives at 4:1 per year.

(Note that these figures are taken for individuals at the current time, a changing trend is only inferred. All we know for sure is there are more partisans/idelogues in both camps in later years of undergraduate.)

Let’s take a look at how politics breaks down at each Canadian university
University Liberal/Moderate/Conservative
Acadia 360/80/60

acadia-graph.jpg
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Bishop’s 180/40/60

bishops-graph.jpg
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Brock 1,040/320/420

brock-graph.jpg
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Carleton 2,340/740/800

carleton-graph.jpg
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Concordia 1,060/240/120

concordia-graph.jpg
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Dalhousie 1,280/260/280

dalhousie-graph.jpg
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Lakehead 360/120/120

lakehead-graph.jpg
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Laurentian 440/100/100

laurentian-graph.jpg
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McGill 3,360/720/300

mcgill-graph.jpg
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McMaster 2,000/660/760

mcmaster-graph.jpg
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Mount Allison 440/60/60

mounta-graph.jpg
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Nipissing 220/80/80

nipissing-graph.jpg
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Queen’s University 2,220/500/600

queensu-graph.jpg
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Royal Military College 60/60/180

rmc-graph.jpg
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Ryerson 2,020/560/360

ryerson-graph.jpg
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St. Francis Xavier 480/100/180

stfx-graph.jpg
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Simon Fraser University 1,400/440/340

sfu-graph.jpg
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Trent 800/160/180

trent-graph.jpg
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University of Alberta 2,340/900/1,340

ualberta-graph.jpg
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University of British Columbia 3,120/920/620

ubc-graph.jpg
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University of Calgary 1,220/540/840

ucalgary-graph.jpg
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University of Guelph 2,060/460/500

uguelph-graph.jpg
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University of Lethbridge 480/200/440

ulethbridge-graph.jpg
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University of New Brunswick 800/180/220

unb-graph.jpg
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University of Ottawa 2,440/640/620

uottawa-graph.jpg
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U Regina 220/40/80

uregina-graph.jpg
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University of Saskatchewan 620/200/380

usask-graph.jpg
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University of Sherbrooke 80/100/20* (* fewer than 20)

usherbrooke-graph.jpg
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University of Toronto 5,560/1,740/1,140

uoft-graph.jpg
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University of Victoria 1,300/400/280

uvic-graph.jpg
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University of Waterloo 2,380/840/680

waterloo-graph.jpg
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University of Western Ontario 2,820/760/980

uwo-graph.jpg
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University of Windsor 1,140/280/340

uwindsor-graph.jpg
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Wilfrid Laurier University 1,540/420/480

wlu-graph.jpg
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York University 3,520/980/700

york-graph.jpg
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As for the ratio of Liberal students:Conservative students?
Here are the top five (the most Liberal schools in the country by this measure):
McGill 11.2:1
Concordia 8.8:1
Mount Allison 7.3:1
Acadia 6:1
Ryerson 5.6:1

And the bottom five (the most Conservative schools in the country by this measure):
Royal Military College 0.33:1
University of Lethbridge 1.1:1
University of Calgary 1.5:1
University of Saskatchewan 1.6:1
University of Alberta 1.7:1

A bit more about the methodology:
This data was taken from this Facebook page on October 17th, 2007. All data is self-declared by individuals with Facebook profiles.

UPDATE: It appears that Facebook has disabled the feature.