Connect with us
[bsa_pro_ad_space id=12]

National

Canadians should be concerned democracy is under threat in Hungary: Ignatieff

Published

on

If you like this, share it!




  • The political machinations that have recently forced an American university to cease operations in Hungary should serve as a warning about the growing global threat of authoritarian regimes, current school president and former Liberal leader Michael Ignatieff said Monday.

    Ignatieff said that the Central European University, a graduate institution founded by billionaire George Soros in 1991, has been “forced out” of the country by the current far-right government of Victor Orban, who has joined other like-minded politicians in blaming the U.S. philanthropist for Europe’s migrant crisis.

    The university, which serves about 1,400 international students, has decided to move its U.S.-accredited degree programs from Hungary to neighbouring Austria next September after meeting with ongoing resistance from the Orban regime, said Ignatieff, the school’s president and rector since 2016. 

    Ignatieff, who spent a turbulent three-year tenure as leader of Canada’s federal opposition between 2008 and 2011, said the fate of CEU should serve as a warning sign to all democratic countries including Canada.

    “This is a regime that…has gone after the courts, it’s gone after the press, it’s changed the constitution, it’s gerrymandered the political system,” Ignatieff said in a telephone interview. “There’s a clear direction to what it’s doing, and the attack on the university is just another stage in that process. I think Canadians should be concerned that democracy is under threat in Hungary.”

    Ignatieff said fears for CEU’s future in Hungary emerged last year during Orban’s re-election campaign in which the four-time prime minister frequently levied attacks at the Hungarian-born Soros.

    Orban’s government has conducted massive billboard and media campaigns against Soros blaming him for Europe’s migrant crisis, a charge that Soros denies. In June, the parliament approved the “Stop Soros” law, which allows criminal penalties of up to a year in prison for those convicted of aiding asylum-seekers.

    The pro-democracy philanthropist has also been criticized by U.S. President Donald Trump and vilified by right-wing conspiracy theorists.

    Ignatieff said the Orban government imposed a host of new requirements for the university to meet in order to keep operating as an international graduate school in Budapest.

    One new rule, for instance, required CEU to prove it had a campus in place in the U.S. Ignatieff said the school established educational programs with New York’s Bard College to comply with the rule.

    But he said the Orban government would not accept CEU’s moves and ultimately refused to sign an agreement necessary to let it continue as a U.S.-accredited institution in Budapest.

    Ignatieff noted a certain irony in the situation given CEU’s origins as an anti-communist university.

    “This is an institution founded to assist the society transition out of single-party rule. We’re being driven out of Hungary by a government that is consolidating single-party rule,” he said. “This is a story about what happened to the transition from communism. It didn’t go in the direction that anybody expected.”   

    Hungary’s fight with CEU is widely seen as part of a more comprehensive crackdown on academic freedom, including tighter budgetary and research controls over Hungarian universities. In October, for example, the government eliminated gender study programs at public universities.

    Ignatieff said Hungary is not the only country to see many democratic rights swept away by the current regime, saying authoritarian governments in other European countries, including Poland, point to an alarming global trend.

    It’s one he said Canadians should monitor with caution.

    “Canadians take their democracy for granted, but they shouldn’t,” he said. “Democracy is not secure, and it’s not secure in this part of Europe. In the 21st century no place is very far away, and what starts in one place can easily spread to many places.”

    Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland called Monday’s announcement “a terrible loss.”

    “This forced move is a blow to academic freedom, which is a fundamental right, and all the more troubling given that Hungary is a NATO and EU member state,” she said.

    Incoming students in CEU’s masters and doctoral programs will start studying at the Vienna campus in the 2019-2020 academic year, while students already enrolled may remain in Budapest to complete their degrees.

    — with files from the Associated Press

    Michelle McQuigge, The Associated Press




    If you like this, share it!

    National

    New psychiatric assessment ordered for alleged Fredericton shooter

    Published

    on

    If you like this, share it!




  • FREDERICTON — A Fredericton man accused of murdering four people in an August shooting spree has been ordered to undergo a 60-day psychiatric assessment.

    It will determine if Matthew Raymond can be found criminally responsible for the crimes he has been accused of.

    He is charged with four counts of first-degree murder in the deaths of Fredericton police constables Sara Burns and Robb Costello, and civilians Donnie Robichaud and Bobbie Lee Wright.

    Raymond was previously found fit to stand trial after a shorter assessment. Details of the arguments seeking the assessments are under a publication ban

    Defence lawyer Alison Menard said Tuesday the longer assessment is to assess the mental state of an accused at the time of an alleged offence.

    “Did they suffer from a mental disorder which would exempt them from responsibility?” she said outside court.

    “In certain circumstances, people who suffer from a mental disorder can be found not criminally responsible because they are lacking the intent element of the offence because of the mental disorder.”

    The case returns to court on Feb. 8, 2019.

    Raymond is alleged to have fired from his apartment window with a long gun, killing the two civilians as they loaded a car for a trip on Aug. 10, and the two police officers as they responded to the scene.

    Raymond has previously told a judge there is evidence that would allow him to be “exonerated” immediately because of temporary insanity.

    As he has in previous court appearances, Raymond stood in court Tuesday, and complained to the judge about the jail-issued orange jumpsuit and orange sweatshirt he was wearing.

    “I should be in casual clothes. I’m not supposed to be in orange at all,” he said.

    Raymond was also upset over documents he took from a file folder and waved in the air.

    “It concerns these documents I should not have in my possession. There are photographs and evidence. Only the court should have these documents,” he said.

    The documents concerning the investigation are under a publication ban, but Raymond said guards where he’s being held are able to see them.

    He said a guard came into his cell in the middle of the night and was looking at the documents.

    “There’s no (expletive) way someone should be in my (expletive) cell in the middle of the night looking at my (expletive),” he said.

    Former friends and acquaintances of Raymond have offered varying memories of the accused murderer, ranging from a boy who retreated into video games, a pleasant supermarket co-worker and an increasingly isolated loner in recent years.

    Some business owners have described Raymond, who is in his late 40s, as becoming reclusive and occasionally unpleasant in the year before the alleged shootings.

    Kevin Bissett, The Canadian Press




    If you like this, share it!
    Continue Reading

    National

    Longtime NDP MP Robinson considers new run in Burnaby riding

    Published

    on

    If you like this, share it!




  • OTTAWA — Former New Democrat stalwart Svend Robinson says he’s strongly considering a return to federal politics.

    Robinson says that these are challenging times for the party and if he decides to run in Burnaby North—Seymour, he hopes it helps the candidate in the next riding over — NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh.

    Robinson, 66, represented the Vancouver-area riding of Burnaby for 25 years and until 2004, when he admitted he stole a diamond ring from an auction, said he was under too much strain, and left politics.

    Since then he’s spent his time in Switzerland working with the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, and after retiring last year, Robinson and his partner moved to Cyprus.

    Despite insisting that he hasn’t definitely made up his mind, Robinson says over the phone from Cyprus that he spent a month door-knocking in the riding this fall and sent a letter to residents saying that he is seriously considering a run.

    He says a number of experienced members of the NDP caucus are not standing for re-election and that’s where he could make a contribution.

    The Canadian Press



    If you like this, share it!
    Continue Reading

    december, 2018

    wed21nov - 21decAll DayAlberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum - Deck the Hall 31 Days of Giving-31 Days of giving(All Day) Event Organized By: Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum

    sat15dec10:00 am- 4:00 pmParkland Garden Centre Craft and Market Sale10:00 am - 4:00 pm

    sat15dec12:00 pm- 6:00 pmArtisan Market Sale for Nuit Blanche Winter CarnivalArtisan Market12:00 pm - 6:00 pm

    sat22dec10:00 am- 4:00 pmParkland Garden Centre Craft and Market Sale10:00 am - 4:00 pm

    mon31dec - 1jandec 317:00 pmjan 1- 2:00 amBlack & White ballRed Deer\'s Party of the Year!7:00 pm - (january 1) 2:00 am

    mon31dec - 1jandec 317:00 pmjan 1- 1:00 amOne Eleven Grill New Year's Eve with Claude Godin and his Groove EnsembleCall 403.347-2111 to reserve for New Year7:00 pm - (january 1) 1:00 am

    Trending

    X