First Published: The Martlet, University of Victoria newspaper, Vol. 12, no. 7, October 5, 1972.
Transcription, Editing and Markup: Paul Saba
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Immediate action must be taken to increase the percentage of Canadian professors in this country’s universities says Gary Perly, chairman of the Canadian Liberation Movement.
Quoting from the March 1972 edition of his organization’s anti-imperialist newspaper, New Canada, Perly outlined the Americanization of universities in today’s Canada to a gathering in the SUB Upper Lounge last Tuesday.
Less than half of the faculty at Canadian universities are Canadian, he said, while forty percent are American and fourteen percent British.
He cited a concentration of foreign teachers in the Humanities, saying a third of all professors in those disciplines are American.
Perly spoke on behalf of the CLM’s campaign to have 85 percent of all Canadian university faculty be Canadian citizens.
“The basis of the campaign’s argument is that Americans and British are trained to think they’re the greatest and to view Canada as a second-rate backwater”, Perly said.
He expressed fears that if measures are not taken to reduce the foreign influence, alien attitudes would dominate Canadians and lead to a lack of national confidence.
Perly referred to students as the “future ideological personnel” of society.
He said the U.S. only permits 25 percent of its university faculty to be foreigners.
Several students listening to Perly argued that quality should override nationality. Perly maintained that while the initial influx of American professors into Canada around 1964-65 was justified to produce qualified Canadians to take over, this has not been accomplished.
He said the system perpetuates itself as American graduate students are brought in by American professors.
Perly also charged that open discrimination is exercised against Canadians in their own country. He said that the UVic Visual Arts Department advertised openings for this year in the U.S. and Great Britain but not in Canada.
Another grievance he mentioned was that salaries of American professors entering Canada are tax free for two years.
Perly said this factor could account for rising tuition fees in Ontario universities this year.
The CLM Chairman failed to mention that the tax agreement is reciprocal – Canadian faculty enjoy the same privilege during two-year appointments in American institutions.
“If the hiring of American profs continues to be justified by their quality, the inferiority of the Canadian is implicit”, he argued.
Students in the audience disagreed with Perly by referring to American professors they knew at UVic.
Several comments were made to the effect that American professors were well informed about Canada and demonstrated Canadian sympathies by living and teaching in this country.
Falling back on statistics, Perly said however sympathetic they may be, more than 90 percent of Americans teaching here did not wish to become Canadian citizens.
Criticism of Perly was made in the remark of a listener who quoted Mark Twain, saying, “Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel”.
Perly replied that he found the strongest support for the 85 percent quota among the working classes, who recognize that Americans “in their typically imperialistic fashion” are making Canadians into replicas of themselves.