Fire Andrew Potter as head of the Institute for the Study of Canada.

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Andrew Potter was appointed as director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada in August 2016, eight months ago (reference). Today, March 21 2017, he published an article in Maclean's magazine degrading Quebec society titled "How a snowstorm exposed Quebec’s real problem: social malaise" (Original article). In just a few hours this article generated a massive response from Quebecers and Canadians outraged by the prejudiced opinions and casual use of anecdotal evidence and cherry picking survey data. Premier Philip Couillard commented on the article: "It aims to paint a negative portrait of Quebec, based on prejudices." (CBC source) Mr. Potter himself issued an apology for his commentary on facebook only hours after it was published. But, in Potter's role as director of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, an apology is not enough.

We call on Principal Suzanne Fortier and the McGill Board of Governers to acknowledge that an institute with the mission of promoting understanding of Canada's pluralistic society and values cannot have a director who demonstrates prejudiced opinions and sloppy academic rigour in his approach to public dialogue and commentary. A new director who's first major public contribution can only be described as an attack can never fully recover from the blemish of this incident. The public attention that this incident has received will ultimately tarnish the reputation of the institute unless further action is taken.

We call on you to terminate the appointment of Andrew Potter as director of McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, and use this event as an opportunity to re-evaluate and renew the policies and mission of the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada.

Mission statement of McGil Institute for the Study of Canada (source):

  • promote a better understanding of Canada through the study of our heritage;
  • develop a clearer understanding of Canada's social, political and economic future;
  • identify and explore the benefits that a pluralistic society offers;
  • support the study of Canada across the country and internationally. 

 



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