Uni­ver­sity urged to fire lec­turer who de­nies Ukrainian geno­cide

The Peterborough Examiner - - CANADA & WORLD -

ED­MON­TON — Some Uni­ver­sity of Al­berta stu­dents want the school to fire an as­sis­tant lec­turer who de­nies the Holodomor, the mass geno­cide of Ukrainian peo­ple car­ried out by the for­mer Soviet Union in the early 1930s.

In a Nov. 19 Face­book post, Dou­gal MacDon­ald, a ses­sional in­struc­tor in the depart­ment of ele­men­tary ed­u­ca­tion, called the Holodomor a lie per­pet­u­ated with fake pho­to­graphs and news sto­ries spread by for­mer Nazi col­lab­o­ra­tors.

The uni­ver­sity’s Ukrainian Stu­dent So­ci­ety calls the post hate speech and says it demon­strates that MacDon­ald is not fit to teach.

In an email to CTV News, MacDon­ald says he has re­searched the Holodomor for a num­ber of years and has a right to free speech.

The famine was rec­og­nized in 2008 by Canada and nine other coun­tries as an act of geno­cide per­pet­u­ated by the Sovi­ets un­der Joseph Stalin.

It’s es­ti­mated that up to 10 mil­lion peo­ple died.

“(Prime Min­is­ter) Trudeau’s sup­port for the anti-Com­mu­nist, pro-Nazi Holodomor myth is no ac­ci­dent,” MacDon­ald’s Face­book post read. “The Trudeau gov­ern­ment’s pro­mo­tion of the Holodomor myth is more of its self-serv­ing agenda to at­tempt to re­write his­tory, while falsely claim­ing to sup­port free­dom, democ­racy, hu­man rights and the rule of law.”

Ivanka So­let­sky, a uni­ver­sity stu­dent and Ukrainian Stu­dent So­ci­ety mem­ber, said some­one with those views in a time of po­lit­i­cal in­sta­bil­ity should no longer be able to teach at the uni­ver­sity.

“Stu­dents have a lot of re­spect for their pro­fes­sors ... and typ­i­cally take what they say as truth, be­cause we as­sume that they know what they’re talk­ing about,” she said. “In this case, Mr. MacDon­ald is mak­ing claims against his­tor­i­cal facts rec­og­nized by the gov­ern­ment of Canada for over a decade.”

The Ukrainian Cana­dian Congress and the Jewish Fed­er­a­tion of Ed­mon­ton are also call­ing for his “im­me­di­ate cen­sure and ter­mi­na­tion.”

In his email to CTV, MacDon­ald said what so­ci­ety mem­bers find of­fen­sive is he does not agree with them. “They ar­ro­gantly claim my dis­agree­ment means I am not al­lowed to speak . ... I do not de­bate with those kind of peo­ple.”

Deputy provost Wendy Rodgers said his views do not rep­re­sent those of the uni­ver­sity, but he has a right to share them and no ac­tion would be taken.

MacDon­ald has pre­vi­ously run for the Marx­ist-Lenin­ist Party in Ed­mon­ton-Strath­cona in the last two fed­eral elec­tions.

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