On Campus

It's happened before and it will happen again

Minister of State for Democratic Reform slings mud at student politicians .... once again

The Member of Parliament for Charleswood-St. James-Assiniboia, Stephen Fletcher, recently visited the University of Manitoba in his capacity as Minister of State for Democratic Reform.

There is nothing usual or noteworthy about the visit. Fletcher is a regular speaker at his hometown university and alma mater.

Fletcher is said to have made statements against the University of Manitoba Students’ Union and the campus newspaper The Manitoban. This is not unique nor a surprise, people involved in campus politics at the university know Mr. Fletcher holds a grudge against the two bodies.

What made this visit unique is the coverage it is receiving this weekend in the Winnipeg Free Press.

The Free Press follows up an opinion piece published in The Manitoban written by David Safruk which states:

  • Minister Fletcher, on several occasions, went into rants where he referred to UMSU and the Canadian Federation of Students, my representatives, as a bunch of left-wing crazies, the “loony left,” and “loony tunes.” The minister further went into rants about the free press and independent students’ newspapers referring to the Manitoban as a socialist rag.

It’s worth noting that Fletcher makes no direct denial to the Free Press in response to the piece published in The Manitoban. Nor is this the first time Fletcher has made comments of a similar nature since being elected to Parliament in 2004.

These factors lead me to believe Safruk’s is accurately describing Fletcher’s comments.

Why would a Minister of State make such comments?

Fletcher has never let go of the petty disputes he was involved in during his tenure as president of the University of Manitoba Students’ Union. Fletcher served as president for two terms starting in 1999 and ending in 2001.

Fletcher needs to move on. His days has president of the University of Manitoba Students’ Union are long over. The people running the students union and the student newspaper have no connection to the people Fletcher fought with during his days as president of the students union. In short, he has no reason to continue to squabble about fights that occurred at the beginning of the decade.

This says nothing of the fact that he is an elected Member of Parliament and is expected to maintain a certain level of decorum.

My opinion of his latest behaviour remains much the same as my opinion when he engaged in similar behaviour four years ago. From the Joey Coleman archives: Good to see the Official Opposition’s Health Critic is not too busy (March 17, 2005)

(Yes, for those of you wondering, I’ve been watching too much Battlestar Galactica recently, hence the inspiration for my headline)

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