Petition urges B.C. school to rethink naming James Moore its chancellor

‘I have accepted the offer and honour, and I want to work with everyone,’ former MP says

Industry Minister James Moore speaks at a news conference in Toronto on March 6, 2015. The Canadian Space Agency and the Israel Space Agency have joined forces to study two potential space missions, including one to improve maritime safety. Industry Minister James Moore announced Tuesday that two Canadian companies, MacDonald, Dettwiler and Associates Ltd. and COM DEV International Ltd., will be conducting concept studies and that each space firm will receive $300,000 for their work. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn

Industry Minister James Moore speaks at a news conference in Toronto on March 6, 2015. (Frank Gunn, The Canadian Press) 

PRINCE GEORGE, B.C. — Some faculty members are calling on the University of Northern British Columbia to reconsider its decision to name former Conservative cabinet minister James Moore as its next chancellor.

An online petition, posted Friday by an anonymous senator from the Prince George, B.C.-based university, had topped 1,000 signatures by early Tuesday.

“For over a decade Mr. Moore was a Member of Parliament (and held several prominent ministerial positions) in a government that did not celebrate diversity or the free and open exchange of ideas,” the petition says.

“That government chose instead to practise the politics of division and intimidation, and by its actions worked to undermine many of the core values that are pillars of universities in Canada and the world.”

The petition says Moore was part of a government that muzzled federal scientists, failed to address global climate change and rejected an inquiry into missing and murdered indigenous women.

Supporters have signed from as far away as Kenya, Connecticut, Minnesota and Inuvik, while faculty includes associate professor of geography, Brian Menounos, a Canada Research Chair in glacial change.

Moore said Tuesday that many former politicians have taken positions at universities, including former provincial New Democrat Andrew Petter and former federal Liberals Stephen Owen and Lloyd Axworthy.

“I was approached by UNBC and offered the opportunity to become the sixth chancellor of the school,” Moore said in an email.

“I have accepted the offer and honour, and I want to work with everyone in the community to build on the successes of UNBC.”

Moore did not seek re-election in October due to family reasons, but the petition says the 39-year-old was an active campaigner for the Conservatives, suggesting unflagging support for the party.

He received his undergraduate degree from UNBC and became the first alumnus to be named chancellor, with a swearing-in ceremony expected in Prince George next spring.

Looking for more?

Get the Best of Maclean's sent straight to your inbox. Sign up for news, commentary and analysis.