Clarification and Apology to Dr. Frances Widdowson and Mount Royal University
In a recent article about the attempt by those opposed to our work in Caledonia to use a defamatory petition to try to intimidate staff at Mount Royal University into revoking the participation of myself and Gary McHale at the 2010 ‘New Directions in Aboriginal Policy‘ forum organized by Dr. Frances Widdowson I included a quote which could give readers the mistaken impression that the university had taken steps to give in to this intimidation or that it might be inclined to do so and/or had a history of not protecting academic freedom.
While Dr. Widdowson certainly was concerned about the attempts to influence her peers and administration with defamatory material about Mr. McHale and me, she has NEVER expressed any suggestion to me that the university had indicated that it was going to accede to this or any other pressure.
I want to make clear that I took a remark by Dr. Widdowson out of context, and that during our communications she has repeatedly and favourably commented that Mount Royal University has protected her academic freedom. This was my error, and not hers.
I would like to apologize to Dr. Widdowson and to Mount Royal University for any embarassment my article may have caused by even one reader questioning the integrity of the university’s commitment to academic freedom. The article in question has been rewritten to remove the quote.
I would also like to express my very sincere gratitude to both Dr. Widdowson and Mount Royal University for opening this forum to Mr. McHale and I as voices of people with none, an opportunity that could only be made possible with an institution of the highest integrity and foresight. I hope Mount Royal and Dr. Widdowson will believe that the very last thing I would have wanted to do is to cause them any embarassment.
Mark Vandermaas, Founder
Caledonia Victims Project