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Robin Mathews on Academic Freedom & Tony Hall

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Did public servants in the Albert government and the University of Lethbridge conspire with a hostile foreign government to deprive Professor Anthony Hall of his rights to free speech and academic freedom? Robin Mathews, a retired professor of Canadian Studies and English Literature (and spearhead of the Canadianization campaign) recently wrote:

Dear Vice Dean of Law (and) Professor Adams … and interested others ….

 The question so forcefully put (vice Dean Adams) by your refusal to reply to my direct and simple questions about the nature of your task in the matter of the Anthony Hall case at the University of Lethbridge (2016-2018) should, I believe, be presented as publicly as it can be:       

To begin: your salary is paid by (in fact) the taxpayers of the Province of Alberta and  (to a lesser extent) the taxpayers of Canada. You were invited to preside over a Committee of ?Investigation? by members of the Administration of the University of Lethbridge … all of whose salaries are paid for by the taxpayers of the Province of Alberta and (to a lesser extent) the taxpayers of Canada. You were, I believe, paid for your duties involving your work for members of the Administration of the University of Lethbridge: the payment being made, in fact, by the taxpayers of Alberta and (to a lesser extent) the taxpayers of Canada. (The federal government of Canada involves itself in the support of Canadian universities in a number of ways … by means of taxes it gains from the people of Canada.)       

Your statement to me that you consider any such work you do (publicly, by public invitation, to fulfill a public end, paid for with public monies,or etc.) as confidential … can only be read as an insult … and, perhaps, as a warning that you see yourself as working within a select and elite group, using monies gained from the taxpayers of Canada to pursue ends that you have no intention of discussing with anyone outside the select and elite group.  If so, that is deeply regrettable.  I may be wrong in the preceding statements … and if I am, you will have to provide the information necessary to correct my mistake.       

As you must know … the whole conflagration that arose around the person of Professor Anthony Hall arose from a viciously anti-Semitic cartoon placed on his Facebook Page (unknown to him) when he was out of the country (Summer 2016). The number of readers of his Facebook Page, we may imagine, was quite limited.  But almost within hours, it seems, what might be called Israel government-connected Canadian persons and organizations were not only informed but were making themselves heard in protest to persons in the University of Lethbridge administration and even, apparently, to the Lethbridge Police.  (In fact, I believe one or other of those entities contacted the Lethbridge Police the day before the incident, revealing, if that is true, a telepathic/psychic power that must be admired.)      

From that very strangeposting arose the conflagration to which I refer: accusing Professor Anthony Hall of anti-Semitic activities and statements. The appearance of the viciously anti-Semitic cartoon on Anthony Hall’s Facebook Page was never investigated by you … or by any authority at the University of Lethbridge. I will admit to you that I believe the anti-Semitic cartoon was placed on Professor Anthony Hall’s Facebook Page by people wishing to fake evidence that could be used against him to make the anti-Semitic accusations to which I refer.  And, I believe, that before you heard any accusations of anti-Semitism against Professor Anthony Hall you were absolutely duty-bound to put into action or to insist steps be taken to put into action every attempt possible to find who posted the anti-Semitic cartoon on his Facebook Page in order to entrap him.  (Professor Hall had suggested in broadcast – as have many others – that the government of Israel may have been involved in the collapse of the Trade Towers in New York on September 11, 2001. How much that suggestion by him precipitated the ‘placed’ anti-Semitic Cartoon on his Facebook Page … and then the escalating charges of Anti-Semitism … must be left to the judgement of the reader.)      

But there is not the slightest doubt in my mind that you had an obligation to attempt to find who placed the viciously anti-Semitic cartoon on his Facebook Page, especially because it was used as the prelude to other complaints against him (some of which surfaced in the Committee of Investigation (?) which you chaired.)  And … indeed … allegations of anti-Semitism that surfaced in your Committee may have been a part of a programme that began with the Facebook Page Fraud.  Though perhaps not the reality of what occurred … an impartial observer might conclude that the complaint against Professor Hall of anti-Semitism was a second step after the planting of the vicious anti-Semitic cartoon. (In fact, I understand that  the first time ‘the complaint’ was made to the Dean of Arts and Sciences at  Lethbridge University it was rejected as baseless … just as the first time a complaint against Professor Hall was made to Alberta Human Rights by (I believe) the Lethbridge University Board of Governors, it, too, was rejected as baseless.  And … it, too … was polished up and intended for re-presentation. (I don’t know if re-presentation was proceeded with.  But an objective and unbiased observer might conclude that an intense process was undertaken to involve Professor Hall in anti-Semitic charges…somehow, someway, somewhere….)     

Perhaps it is useful to look at the general political atmosphere before your Committee went to work (in 2018).  Coming into power for the first time a few years earlier, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau effected a rather strange – apparently not “official” – vote of some kind in the House of Commons in Ottawa. It was a vote to reject what is known as BDS.  That is a movement apparently begun by Palestinians asking others to Boycott (goods of), to Divest (investments in …) and to Sanction (with various measures) the State of Israel as a way to discourage it from (what some insist is) its policy to exterminate the Palestinians.  Mr. Trudeau wished to gain … and did gain a vote overwhelmingly rejecting support of BDS (with, I believe, NDP support).  The leader of the other major Party in Canada. Stephen Harper, around the time, went to visit Israel and, there, he fell into the  favour of the president of Israel as if they were children of the same birth mother. In the Green Party … the history is a little messier.  In the absence of leader, Elizabeth May, a body of the Greens adopted BDS as the policy of the Green Party. Ms. May went into a state like shock, threatened to resign leadership, met with fellow members, withdrew support for BDS … and tried to work out some face-saving statements of policy…. Plainly, the government of Israel exerted … and perhaps continues to exert … extraordinary influence in governments and political parties of Canada.  Indeed, the (then) NDP premier of Alberta, Rachel Notley – with a member of one of the Israel government-connected Canadian organizations by her side – excoriated and attacked Professor Anthony Hall as someone not fitting to teach the young of the Province of Alberta … [thereby, allegedly, she influenced any present or future Inquiry into Professor Hall’s ideas and activities] – a display of intemperance by the premier which was (I believe) as shocking as it was unbecoming….   

I first asked you what you were tasked with as head of the Committee struck in the Anthony Hall matter; and I asked you how the other two members of the Committee were chosen.  You refusedto give me any information ….  That is the reason I wonder/and wondered if you consider/considered yourself a member of an Unaccountable Elite in Alberta…. I still wonder if that is the case … and I believe the people to whom I am sending this message will have the same number of questions and uncertainties that I have….


Robin Mathews

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