Why Is Situation Widdowson So Compelling?
Thoughts Regarding The Most Consequential Case Of Canadian Cancellation
Introduction - Set Blood Temperature To Boil
I am convinced that the case of Frances Widdowson vs. Mount Royal University is one of the most consequential since the Western world made the infuriating decision to accelerate the oikophobic process of self-inflicted implosion. For reasons listed below, I feel Situation Widdowson is a case which illustrates the absurdity that flourishes under conditions of reified postmodern identity politics. Whatever the outcome will be, I’m banking it will function as a harbinger for the next phase of either extreme woke encroachment, or a new epoch where common sense and objective truth slowly begin to restore the liberalism that for centuries ordered the enlightened West.
Regarding the implications of Situation Widdowson, many Canadians are oblivious to some desperately needed questions. It follows that many are not aware of the ramifications of answers they won’t hear, to questions they don’t know to ask.
Why is this? Because a postmodern condition confuses everything. Those still living in enlightenment rationalism, who for whatever reason have been lucky enough to remain blissfully unaware, or willfully ignorant, to the seismic cultural shifts occurring in our post-George Floyd world, are not understanding the process by which a pervasive anti-western ideology has undemocratically forced its way through the edifice of society into the organs of our institutional infrastructure. An ideology that dismantles what it sees but does not rebuild anything in its place, and only knows how to generate more ideology. That parasitically exists to destroy everything except itself, and (re)produce only itself.
Situation Widdowson demonstrates the extent of this. A loss for Frances would mean handing the enemy a linchpin virtually ensuring final descent into a de-enlightenment de-colonized dystopian future woke Canada. Oh god, please no!
The Important Bits Mined From The Tangle of Situation Widdowson
1) Unfair illiberal cancellation of a tenured professor
For the sake of brevity I will say less on this aspect not least because others have already covered it thoroughly. However, I would like to direct the reader to a website called the Woke Academy that publishes the chronology of “episodes” covering key instances of the illiberal campaign that targeted Frances for cancellation.
An obvious point, but still worth mentioning, is that Frances’ tenure failed to protect her. The implications for the future of tenure in Canada should not be lost on the Canadian public. What is the point of tenure if it is reduced to the insignificance found in hollow platitude?
2) Targeted because of politically incorrect scholarship and for challenging the ideas of woke activists
Not only is Frances’ academic work examining Canadian Indigenous issues considered highly controversial, she is also well known for asking other controversial questions that have an effect on the university, and its core principles like academic freedom.
In 2019 Frances organized a talk on Trans Rights Activism at MRU and invited controversial Canadian in self-imposed exile, the feminist journalist & podcaster, Meagan Murphy. Frances was vocal in criticizing Black Lives Matter on campus (well before the extent of BLM’s corruption was known to the public). And she openly challenged the validity of indigenization of the university on many occasions (Frances edited the book, Indigenizing the University (2021) - which is a collection of essays on indigenization).
Frances is a classic scholar who does what was traditionally expected of those in academia; she asks questions she finds both interesting and necessary to get to the truth, regardless of hurt feelings that may arise from those that wish she would just nod along and accept the many implausible assertions rooted in ideological activism.
3) Scholarship that exposes a vast nation-wide corruption (the Aboriginal Industry)
Is this the real reason she was canceled?
In 2008 Frances Widdowson and Albert Howard published the book Disrobing the Aborignal Industry. And more recently Frances published Separate but Unequal, a book that examines in depth the Final Report of the Royal Commission on Aboriginal Peoples, a key body of academic scholarship meant to guide law makers in their public policy decisions related to Indigenous issues. Both of these books paint a picture of a vastly corrupt “aboriginal industry" that benefits from the continued desperation and dependence of the poorest segment of Canada’s indigenous population.
What is the aboriginal industry? According to Frances, It is made up of players both Indigenous and non-Indigenous. One side is Indigenous only, what Frances refers to as neo tribal elites - these are privileged Indigenous leaders (and their friends and family). The other side consists of both Indigenous and non-Indigenous individuals. It is a bureaucracy of lawyers, consultants, researchers and administrators, but also, the aboriginal industry requires complicity from academics in anthropology, archaeology, history, and any other disciplines that aid the historical revision and cultural exaggeration setting the premises on which countless Indigenous compensation claims are based.
Frances explains that the aboriginal industry is a highly lucrative one. And while it most assuredly has bad actors who know very well how to grease the system, it is a fair consideration that most members of the aboriginal industry, especially those making up the vast bureaucratic and academic infrastructures, are well intended and simply following the spirit of misguided policies that sound good. Many people involved genuinely feel their work and effort is helping the situation that Canada’s Indigenous face. Little do they know that much of their work and effort will actually ensure that Indigenous dependency worsens.
In Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry Frances & Albert use as analogy the well known story from 1837 by Hans Christian Andersen, The Emperor’s New Clothes. In the aboriginal industry there is a lot of virtue signaling and do-gooding, as they believe they are making the equivalent to a beautiful robe fit for a king. So taken with the spell of the activity, the excitement, and the public engagement, that no one bothers to look close enough to realize that the promised thread, of such quality so as not to be seen by the naked eye, has, in its non-existence, only left the elitist emperor naked and shamed. The aboriginal industry spins falsehoods, exaggerates, omits, distorts - whatever is necessary to hide the truth from sight; the Aboriginal Industry mirrors the "thieves" and "scoundrels" of Hans Christian Andersen’s parable, while the Emperor, according to Frances, is “the idea that hunting and gathering/horticultural cultural features are just as developed as those that emerged during The Enlightenment.”
4) Scholarship that exposes the influence of the postmodern turn in Indigenous issues by showing the connection between postmodern ideology and government policy
Covered in my essay The Corruption Of Canada’s Indigenous Victim Industry, postmodernism fused with identity politics, holds a set of assumptions considered unanswerable by ideologues. Postcolonialism is the first manifestation of applied postmodernism. It seeks to revise history in ways that exaggerate the harms related to European colonialism and to blame the present circumstances of Canada’s Indigenous on the “intergenerational trauma” resulting from the colonial project. The cultural relativism of this postmodern condition ensures that whatever yarns are spun by Indigenous advocates will be accepted without question as sacred “knowings.”
From the essay mentioned above:
The Royal Commission has for decades adopted a thoroughly postmodern conception of Indigenous-non-Indigenous issues. Detached from material and historical methods of analysis, this government funded body (that commissions and aggregates research on Canadian Indigenous issues), ensures scholarship conforming to postmodern conceptions is favored and applied in their reports and recommendations to government policy makers. In other words, this body of elites choose myth over materialism. The effects on Canada’s most isolated members of the Indigenous population are immeasurably destructive, even though the causal mechanisms involved remain largely invisible.
Since Situation Widdowson is currently under arbitration, I will hold back my commentary regarding the details of her firing from Mount Royal for now. That she was so disliked among a vocal minority of staff and students created a restrictive environment for Frances which prioritized the so-called safe ideological space for those who held different views, while making it increasingly more difficult for her to function optimally in the way her work required. But Frances never asked for, nor required a “safe space.” Regular space that grown ups occupy was, and is, fine with her.
In the April 2022 edition of the Society For Academic Freedom’s monthly newsletter Frances published a piece titled “Protecting Disputation: What Is to Be Done?” Offering ideas on what can be done at the grassroots level to save Canadian Universities, Frances opines:
“It is important to keep in mind that activists posing as academics make up a small percentage of the faculty. Their numbers seem much larger because of their loudness and ability to form a cohesive faction through zealotry and intimidation. Scholars, on the other hand, are notoriously individualistic and disagree with each other almost as much as they oppose the activists who are destroying the academic character of universities. Many non-activist faculty also are often opportunistic, apathetic, or fearful, which adds to the difficulties.
Organizing faculty, therefore, will not be easy, but I encourage all who value the university as an intellectual space to start to engage in the coalition building that is necessary to save academic institutions. This will require a three-pronged approach – local, national, and international. Nationally, we have SAFS, but this “hub” will need to develop better connections with local and international organizations.” - Frances Widdowson
At this point it is safe to assume that Frances Widdowson is not just a brilliant scholar who asks inconvenient questions, but she is also a formidable foe. The woke advocates at MRU must realize this. I believe they fear Frances because more than any other Canadian scholar, since she sees through the veil of lies and corruption that woke activists (masquerading as academics) have covered the eyes of Canadians with. Frances is in the process of grabbing on to that veil, and with all her strength she is pulling and tugging, with every breath and renewed effort the veil slowly recedes revealing glimpses of what Frances has been studying and exposing for years. Fellow Canadians for the sake of our beloved dominion, let us help this brave soldier rip down this veil and expose the lies that so sully our national reputation.
Frances has so far raised over $20,000 in a crowdfunding campaign. She plans to use the funds to hire both a lawyer and research assistant to oversee the process of her arbitration (scheduled for next year), and to make sure arguments are sound and backed up with evidenced based research. Frances’ intention is to make the work of the lawyer and the research assistant public so as to help others who may find themselves in scenarios similar to Situation Widdowson.
When asked by a Facebook friend why she is hiring a lawyer for a union case under arbitration, Frances answered:
“..to be able to provide advice to make the best legal case possible. I will have both a research assistant and a lawyer providing additional information to improve the arguments that are made at arbitration. These arguments will not just be for my benefit; they will be made public so that they can be used by all professors who are being subjected to the "weapons of 'woke-ness'" - university policies that are designed to curtail academic freedom and freedom of expression.”
You can contribute to Frances’ crowdfunding campaign here.
Francis Widdowson’s determination is helpful to people like myself whose employment is threatened for resisting woke stupidity, deceit, division, injustice, division, and authoritarianism. How did Canada become a country where only one view on indigenous issues is permitted?
I hear JL of ND in your opening.