To the Courts

Kahama started to negotiate with the Miners’ Committee, chosen by the miners in a Tanzanian government-supervised election and affiliated with regional and national small-scale miners’ organizations.

In one meeting, a village elder expressed his frustration: “How come KMCL [Kahama] has asked us to vacate? We will not leave, even if the police are called to disperse us. We will kill and be killed, so that the government realizes that this is our right.”

Kahama was worried.

“If we can assume that this village chairman represents people’s views, then we can say that this is somewhat a feeling of a good percentage of [the village of] Kakola,” a company employee reported in a memo on March 26.

The troubles at Bulyanhulu immediately attracted the attention of the highest levels of power in Tanzania. Regional politicians, bureaucrats, even the president and prime minister of Tanzania talked about the eviction of the miners with the Canadian High Commission and top officials from Kahama and Sutton Resources.

By mid-June, the Miners’ Committee was ready to deal. They would accept $5.6 million US in compensation for the mines. They pleaded that they did not want to become “refugees in our own country.” Kahama declared that compensation was the government’s problem. Four days later, they sued the Miners’ Committee.

Late that summer, both sides travelled to Tabora to make their presentations to the High Court.

They then waited for a ruling from presiding High Court Justice Mchome.


They weren’t the only ones waiting. Sutton’s chairman, millionaire James Sinclair, was also growing concerned about the string of setbacks. As the husband of Sutton’s largest single investor—with 18 per cent of the shares owned by his wife—Sinclair had a big interest in the outcome of the case.

But it was about more than just money. From the start of his career, Sinclair has had a deep interest in the gold industry and in Africa. He has written several books on the gold market and mining; he was friends with the president of Tanzania. He also ran Service Assistance International, a charity operating in Tanzania, which is now run by his daughter, Marlene. Sinclair, a devotee of Indian guru Shri Sathya Sai Baba, places high value on personal virtue and morality. He is the model of a capitalist idealist.

Sinclair saw Sutton’s stock price steadily decline. His opinion—as later revealed in documents filed with the BC Securities Commission—was that Sutton was in over its head and needed to partner with a company with African experience.


The Canadian government’s High Commissioner to Tanzania had confidence in the Tanzanian courts. In a September memo to Sutton president Michael Kenyon, she counselled him to trust the courts, noting that Tanzania “does have an independent judiciary.”

On September 29, Justice Mchome proved her correct.

“When this case was filed, I thought it a simple case of the defendants [the small-scale miners] being sued for contravening the Mining Act and tampering with the plaintiff’s [Kahama’s] rights under the Act,” he stated in the ruling. “But when the Written Statement of Defence and Counter Claim was filed, I discovered that this suit was more than that.”

Major issues were at stake.

“I found no provision made for compensation and/or resettlement of the indigenous people,” he ruled. In his view, the issue was one of “constitutional basic rights and duties,” and needed to be referred to a special three-judge panel under the Basic Rights and Duties Enforcement Act of 1994.

In what is perhaps the most consequential part of this story, that panel did not meet in 1995. Nor did it meet in 1996, when the evictions occurred. In fact, to this day it has neither been constituted nor ruled on the matter.

But at the time, the ruling did halt plans to remove the miners. There was also an election going on. It was now a constitutional matter—and the stakes were rising. By October 1995, drilling at Bulyanhulu produced a new, higher reserve estimate of 2.49 million ounces of gold underground, worth more than $750 million.

Click here to read The Investor Rebellion

Folk you to hell

You’d be surprised to hear the folk sound of 28-year-old U of T student/political activist Sarah Marlowe.

With song titles like “Blood on Your Hands” and “Capitalism Kills,” one would expect hardcore, angry-white-man rock, with lots of shouting and shit gettin’ smashed.

While she croons about her political worries on her first album, Marlowe is also pursuing a Master’s degree in social work.

She has always been interested in music, and has taken classical music studies here at the university.

Though she listens to alterna-rock bands like Radiohead, she insists her only real influences are jazz and a compulsion to speak out on political issues. This explains the light sound of the album, such a change from the hardcore sounds of most politically inclined musicians.

Marlowe wants to celebrate the strides that have been taken against capitalism and globalization, and to inspire listeners to continue the fight, reminiscent of the sixties and seventies, when the youth of North America was less apathetic towards culture and politics.

Sure, they were about sex and drugs more than anything else, but they were about something, and they celebrated it in their music.

Admittedly, when I mentioned this to Sarah, she was hesitant to say she feels a resurgence like that of the hippie movement.

While that is criticized today as a middle-class revolution, this new movement is more legitimate. It is made up largely of university students, and as all U of T students most assuredly know, students don’t have money.

Nonetheless, I insist that Sarah Marlowe’s musical style is that of a modern Janis Joplin, a bluesy folk sound—though I concede that no one will ever match Janis’ famous gravel voice.

And Marlowe wouldn’t try.

She has her own manner.

She must, because her music is an emotional experience.

According to Marlowe, it is a way of expressing that which can’t be expressed in words—like the horror that comes from the total neglect of human rights, or the recklessness that stems from greed.

Most importantly, Marlowe’s music expresses the exaltation she feels at seeing that these things need not be.

In her words, “It is my hope that the album reflects the growing anti-capitalist movement that says another world is possible, and together we can create it.”

On that note, Marlowe began to preach about the necessity of involvement in politics that she stresses on the album.

Handing me information about the Kananaskis Summit in Alberta, organized for this June, and the Toronto Day of Action for Peace and Global Justice on April 27, Sarah Marlowe assured me the events are worth it.

Though she has very little time, she has taken on all she can in the field of political activism, to the extent that rallies have become her only form of entertainment and relaxation.

And she’s glad about it. As she says, “To see a shift in the ideas of the world is inspiring. It makes you want to get out there, and keep fighting.”

After talking to Sarah, it was clear to me that it is not just the music on her album that is important. It is the spirit behind that music.

And if you can relate to that, I would recommend grabbing her album at Theatre Books, or at least visiting www.worldtowin.org to find out more about this new world Sarah Marlowe foresees.

The Salton Sea

A man sits alone in a dingy room ablaze with fire, calmly playing the trumpet and reflecting on the tragic life about to end. He introduces himself to the audience and immediately makes it clear that he knows little about himself beyond his name, which itself often changes. Rather than simply tell his story, he asks his listeners to allow him to describe the events leading up to this last scene and decide for themselves what kind of a person he really is. “Am I Judas…” he asks, “…or Hamlet? You decide.” In an eerie charge to the audience, he not only asks, but begs us to make a judgment call about his character – something that he himself cannot do.

This is the opening scene of Castle Rock Entertainment’s new film “The Salton Sea”, starring Val Kilmer as the tortured Danny Parker/Tom Van Allen, a man in search of answers to help him deal with a tragic past and uncertain future. Directed by DJ Caruso and boasting a supporting cast that includes Vincent D’Onofrio, Peter Sarsgaard, and Deborah Kara Unger, “The Salton Sea” is basically an intense and powerful character study. It chronicles the journey of a man who loses everything when his wife (Chandra West) is murdered in a freak accident on a trip they took to the Salton Sea in California. The memory of this single experience is with him every day as he simultaneously tries to deal with her loss and create some kind of existence without her. He eventually becomes a crystal methamphetamine addict, partying for days on end and surrounded by a group of loyal but pitiful friends.

While this plot description may be reminiscent of your average disillusioned protagonist who ends up finding solace in drugs and alcohol, “The Salton Sea” is anything but a “typical” movie. A 700-word article can hardly do the complexity of the story justice, and so I’m not even going to try. There are twists and turns around every corner, keeping the audience on its toes, wondering what exactly is going on in the mind of Danny Parker. The film’s caption reads “If you’re looking for the truth, you’ve come to the wrong place”. How appropriate. Ten minutes into the movie leaves you guessing as to what the reality of this character is and wondering if you are in fact ever going to find out.

Val Kilmer and DJ Caruso were recently in Toronto promoting “The Salton Sea”. I had a chance to speak with both of them about the movie and its production. “I wanted to make a film that was a filmmaker’s film as opposed to a studio film,” says DJ. “It was just such a challenging screenplay and I thought finally, a film that I feel I can put some of myself into, not just a film where I would be executing someone else’s vision but executing my vision.”

Although he loved the script right off the bat, Val admits to being a little nervous about the potential for failure because of the immense complexity of the film. He says, “I was a little concerned about the broadness and disparity of styles coming together…it almost never works. I don’t want to slam anybody, but for example, in “Fifth Element”, the director says of himself that he took on too much, there was too much going on to get on with the story…and this could’ve just as easily not worked because it’s too much. But it ended up being just nicely balanced.”

If anything, “The Salton Sea” could be described as an in-depth character study. When asked how they themselves would describe the character of Danny Parker/Tom Van Allen, DJ responded, “In my estimation, it’s a character who’s asking the audience to tell him who he is. That makes him even more complex because he himself has no idea. He’s gotten so lost, things have gotten so convoluded, and when he ultimately does what he thinks is the right thing, that still doesn’t provide the answer. Along this journey you hope he discovers who he is, but he doesn’t know…which is what makes it interesting.”

“The Salton Sea” is, bottom line, an incredible movie. Poetic and mournful from start to finish, it also is able to intersperse humour in the midst of tragedy. The audience is given no choice but to become deeply involved with its character’s lives. As Val says, Danny is faced with “the most important questions we can ask ourselves or live through”.

Why the title? The Salton Sea is a historical body of water located in the Imperial Valley (Southern California). Not a very well-known area, it is described as having “an eerie stillness” to it. The title, therefore is completely poetic. DJ explains, “It served as a metaphor for our character…like his life it once was beautiful and now it has become tragic.”

“The Salton Sea” opens April 26, but only on limited release (Toronto, New York and Los Angeles). More widespread release to follow at a later date.

Insomnia

Imagine a place where the sun never goes down…it’s 3 am and yet light still seeps in through the windows, penetrating every corner. There is no escape from this perpetual daylight, making sleep almost impossible. This is the situation facing Will Dormer (Al Pacino), a veteran cop sent to the far reaches of Alaska with his partner Hap (Martin Donovan) to solve the murder of a young girl. As frustrating as the never-ending sun is for Dormer, it only serves as a metaphor for the turmoil going on inside his mind. Trying to come to terms with Hap’s accidental death in a shootout with the prime suspect, Dormer is forced to deal with feelings of insecurity as to his own thoughts and motives. When approached by the suspect, a little-known writer by the name of Walter Finch (Robin Williams), Dormer is tossed into a confusing web of guilt and anger. Through extreme mental manipulation, Finch is able to cause Dormer to question both himself and his ability to function as a good cop. The effects are aggravated by Dormer’s inability to sleep and slowly his mind begins to unravel.

Also starring Hilary Swank as an eager young cop, Insomnia is an incredible film that takes a close look at the subconscious meanings of actions and the effect they have on their actors. Add to three Academy Award-winning actors the unique talent of a director such as Christopher Nolan (Memento), and you have a mesmerizing film that completely envelopes the attention of its audience. Not only do you watch Dormer unravel – through consistent attention to even the smallest detail, Nolan ensures you are along for the ride.

If you’ve ever seen a Christopher Nolan film, you know exactly what I’m talking about. His are thinking films – you’re never just there to be entertained but to think about what you’re watching. He involves his audience to the last, clearly wanting to make the movie-going experience a memorable one. Insomnia is no exception. Recently in Toronto promoting the film, Nolan described his intentions: “It’s about defining characters’ motivations, how you’d define the different characters as good and bad…those are the kinds of questions I wanted to leave in the minds of the audience. I look for a story that the audience is going to be interested in beyond the two hours that they sit there and watch the film for.”

Describing the genre of Insomnia, Nolan says, “I would describe it as a psychological thriller. I think that the reason I always use that term is because it embraces both the idea of the thriller and the idea of the character study…it makes clear to the people you’re selling it to that while it is going to be a thriller and therefore have a narrative that includes the elements you need to make a thriller, it’s going to be focused on the internal processes of the different characters; the thoughts, the motivations and so forth…that’s going to form the basis for a lot of drama.

Admittedly, the first time I saw a preview for Insomnia my gut reaction was to question the casting. Al Pacino as a good guy and Robin Williams as a crazed killer? Whose idea was that? Curious as to the thinking behind such atypical choices, I asked Nolan about the casting process and if he were at all apprehensive about it. “Actually, I was excited about it,” he stated. “The story becomes entirely about the balance between two characters and the push and pull between them. Al had been cast already, and the idea of Robin was really exciting. No one took issue with it; everybody got it and how it could work.

“But I think maybe they had in mind – and this would’ve caused me some trepidation – a simple kind of inversion of his common persona, creating some kind of manic, psycho guy. But Robin didn’t see it that way…he saw what I saw in the character, which is the fear of a completely normal, completely unnoticeable person. Robin’s never played anyone unexceptional, but that’s what he does here. That was really the whole point of the character…we’re constantly reminded in life that they are unexceptional people who commit murder, but you never see it in films for some reason. Robin came prepared to play the guy completely straight, a guy you wouldn’t pay any attention to if you were sitting next to him on the bus. That way you very gradually come to a rather chilling understanding about what’s going on behind his eyes.”

While his characters may be unexceptional, Christopher Nolan is anything but. His ambition to convey a message to the audience and leave them with something to think about is clear and should be applauded, especially at a time when most directors are solely concerned with churning out big blockbusters that have little essence behind them. Through his unique approach to moviemaking and the exceptional talent of his cast and crew, Nolan is able to create a film that makes you think and simultaneously be entertained…a feat that I believe is actually worthy of $13.50.

The buzz on Manitoba

While Toronto has become comfortably ensconced in the annals of electronic music, who knew that Dundas, Ontario was about to become the next big thing in cutting-edge, organic electronica? When composer/DJ Manitoba (aka Dan Snaith) quietly released his first EP, which included a track named after his hometown, in 2000, he put the tiny hamlet on the electro map in a big way. His ensuing album on the UK’s upstart Leaf label, Start Breaking My Heart, topped critics’ year-end lists and catapulted the unassuming 22-year-old former U of T math student to international success.

The surprise success of Manitoba’s melodic, accessible take on electronic music meant that Snaith went from being a complete unknown to moving to London recently in order to take advantage of all the opportunities being thrown his way. Not only is he in demand for live DJ sets all over the globe, he continues to pursue his doctorate in mathematics at London’s Imperial College at the same time.

The indefatigable Snaith was in T.O. for a rare hometown gig in February at Gypsy Co-op for the fifth anniversary of early supporter Denise Benson’s weekly Glide party. His brief return home marked a flurry of activity—endless radio interviews and the cover of NOW Magazine made for relentless buzz. But if the unassuming, bespectacled Snaith was at all fazed by the “hail the conquering hero”-style attention, he didn’t let on.

“It’s especially nice to have success here in Canada—that’s been really, really rewarding that things have been going so well here,” he said. “But also it’s crazy to go to Japan and have guys come up to you, and they want you to sign the album and shit like that … It’s pretty surreal.”

Start Breaking My Heart found a home on the well-regarded Leaf label after Kieran Hebden of like-minded Brit outfit Four Tet passed on Manitoba’s music to the folks there.

The album, a tuneful mix of low-key electronic touches underscored by Snaith’s skilful keyboard and guitar melodies, struck a chord with a wider spectrum of listeners than the usual electronic-heads. Influenced by diverse musical interests from hip-hop to electro, Manitoba’s hybrid sound was quickly dubbed “folktronica” by critics, a term Snaith himself eschews.

“‘Folktronica’ is bullshit, some journalist made that shit up,” Snaith declared. “But as far as I’m concerned, I want to do a lot of different things because I have a lot of varying tastes in music. I’d prefer to—I know it’s already a cliché—but to try and avoid, like, describing it as some kind of music or other. It’s sort of like my music ends up being more electronic more by accident, because that’s the kind of equipment I can afford ’cause I’m poor and shit like that, rather than like, me being a really tech-y, electronic kinda nerd or whatever.”

Snaith hopes to release his second full-length later this year, and said it will yet again confound expectations of what electronic music should be.

“Even though I’m making it in exactly the same way I made the first one, it’s going to be less obvious that it’s, like, an electronica album. And it’s going to be more sort of song-based and more influenced by, like, a lot of the indie and rock and psychedelic pop stuff,” Snaith explained. “Just less sort of woozy, sleepy electronica-sounding and more dramatic, decadent, richer-sounding.”

Though he’s been embraced by the electronic music scene, Snaith has been critical of the genre’s inability to think outside the box. His crossover success has proven that electronic music doesn’t have to sound a particular way for music lovers to embrace it.

“I just think it’s a bad idea, being so insular, and being so, ‘Well, we’re electronic musicians and this is what we do’, and everything’s gonna be minimal, or everything’s gonna be, like, deep tech-y house or something,” Snaith declared. “I just think that’s a really boring and restrictive attitude to have.”

As a DJ, Manitoba has long been known to rock a party with sets heavy on hip-hop and old-school electro, but his February Glide visit was the first time he unveiled his current live setup at home.

A mixture of manipulating his own music via laptop and spinning on the decks, it’s a good compromise between the languid headphones feel of the album and his need as a DJ to get the dance floor movin’.

“Obviously I want it to sound like music that I made, but also having a live show demands that you have some kind of energy or something that’s exciting.

“I wouldn’t want to go see Boards of Canada press ‘play’ and reproduce their album exactly, because they really don’t need to be there for that to happen! So definitely, I’ve been trying to get a live show happening that has some sort of energy and is sort of halfway entertaining.”

International success, hometown kudos and famous friends all add up to pretty heady times for the kid from Dundas, Ontario. So perhaps it’s fitting that when asked why on earth he’s called “Manitoba,” his simple reply was: “I’m just keeping it real.”

HOT WAX

The John Scofield Band
Uberjam
Unknown

You’re not supposed to judge a book by its cover, but I admit to judging this album by its psychedelic cover, which features a vaguely Buddha-like naked man strategically holding a guitar to cover anything essential. Think of Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew and then throw in a bunch of noises that sound like they’re coming through a kid’s keyboard synthesizer. If you’re into the jazz-funk-fusion thing, you might like this, as long as you can tolerate the house-inflected beats, not to mention the rapper in “I Brake 4 Monster Booty,” which mix a bit strangely with jazz guitar solos and a funky bass line.

Rating: V
Al Mousseau

Richie Hawtin
DE9 closer to the edit
Plus 8

House music today is too complicated. The taxonomic complexity required to talk the talk to candy-kid-cum-hipsters is beyond the ken of most normal humans, who just hear it all as “thump-thump-thump-thump” with different things happening behind it. Sometimes it sounds like four on the floor at the Copacabana. Sometimes it sounds like four on the floor at Studio 54. And sometimes it sounds like four on the floor in outer space. Plastikman’s new disc is essentially the latter, but with really good interior design. Whatever the hell that makes it—trance, house, deep, funky, minimalist—I neither know nor care. Think of nice, spacious grooves on a NASA-funded expedition that’s decorated like a “wallpaper” photo shoot. This is the way modern music should be.

Rating: VVVVV
Al Mousseau

‘Whatever happened to Lucy Lu?’

A fter more than a year of sequestering herself in a church to avoid deportation, Lucy Lu is once again able to walk outside. The victory has been marred, however, by the war wounds of her battle to stay in Canada. The story is riddled with uncertainties that make it necessary to focus only on the facts concerning her past, victorious present, and undetermined future in order to come out of this tale with any semblance of understanding.

Murder in the Details

On 13 March, 1985, He Zhang Zhao was hacked to death with a meat cleaver in his downtown Toronto walk-up and dragged outside to die in the snow. The Chinese national had been living with his wife, Kuei Kuan Zhao, alias Kue Fuen Zhao, aka Lucy Lu, and his father. After three mistrials, Lu entered a guilty plea for the murder and was given a 10-year sentence. However, Lucy claims the story was “concocted by the lawyer” and she signed only under “a great deal of pressure.” Since she was not a Canadian citizen at the time of her conviction, Canadian law labels her as “unwanted” and stipulates that when her sentence is over, she must be sent back to China.
Lu went to jail with the threat of deportation hanging over her. While in prison, she met a shoe-store owner and his wife who were doing Christian outreach at Lucy’s penitentiary, the Kingston Prison for Women. According to Lu, she found Jesus while incarcerated and formed a deep bond both with Christ and the couple from Kingston. After serving approximately two years, Lu was released and decided to settle in Kingston and build a life for herself. She claims she had nothing to go back to in Toronto, since she has not spoken to her former father-in-law since the trial and does not care to see her friends again. In Kingston, on the other hand, she was able to find a job in the couple’s shoe store, a new life and a new husband who has stood by her through every tribulation of her trial. Then it all crashed down again when she received notice that the long-awaited date of her deportation had arrived, and was scheduled just 30 days after her wedding.

Blessed Sanctuary

Upon receiving her deportation order, Lu naturally tried to fight it. She applied for refugee status, but that failed. Then she appealed on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, but this was also rejected.
After 11 lawyers and many fruitless attempts, Lu and her new husband Darryl Gellner had almost given up.
As a last-ditch attempt to remain in Canada, Lu sought sanctuary in the church where she had remarried and attended services she remained there for over a year. Interestingly, Lu claims that the idea to seek sanctuary in the Calvary Bible Church did not come from her or her husband, but from their spiritual leader, who died before the plan was undertaken. The couple cannot remember the names of any of the others who helped them persuade the church, but are adamant that the members of the church board, along with the greater Kingston community, were “100 per cent behind this.”
Her life in the church was mundane—playing board games, talking to the neighbourhood women and bathing herself in a large basin.
Her husband, meanwhile, took up the crusade and contacted as many influential Ontarians and media sources as he could.
Together with sympathetic public figures who wrote articles, spoke on call-in radio shows and wrote letters, Gellner managed to solicit somewhere between 10,000 and 100,000 letters of support (the exact figures are contested). In conversation, Gellner refers to constructive comments and promises of support from such figures as Peter Milliken, the speaker of the House of Commons, and famed Toronto lawyer Mendel Greene (who were both unavailable for comment on her case).
He also speaks with adoration of “the phenomenal support” from local news reporter Annette Phillips and other writers who rallied to Lucy’s cause, one even comparing her journey to that of Christ in a recent Globe and Mail op-ed.
The Latest Developments

Gellner claims this immense public pressure forced the government to finally back down from the stalemate to which the opposing groups had been reduced. Earlier, Rejean Cantlon, spokesman for the Ministry of Immigration, had articulated his ministry’s official stance, stating that it had to “respect the sanctity of the church” and would wait until Lucy enacted “effective removal from the church on her own.” When asked why it took over five years for Lu to receive her deportation order, Cantlon says “women have different waiting periods than men,” and China was slow in sending her travelling papers. These assertions raise some tricky questions for the government, one of the more pressing being if the ancient law of sanctuary should still be followed in these multicultural and multi-religious times. Now, the government appears to have altered its stance slightly, offering Lu a three-year stay, a change that has coincided with the arrival of the new Immigration Minister, Denis Coderre. Ministry spokesman Cantlon is now referring all queries on Lu to Milliken, who has remained difficult to track down. What is available, however, is written proof, in the actual deportation order, that the government waited until the most intense scrutiny of the media storm had passed before backing down. Gellner says the three-year stay of deportation is the work of Coderre and Lu’s “support in Ottawa.” Gellner also points to the upcoming election and speculates, “The Liberal government was worried about losing Kingston in the next election.” If all this is true, why was Lu given only a temporary reprieve and not a complete pardon? In any case, Darryl and Lucy are ecstatic about her release from the church. They have won this round of what Gellner calls his wife’s “waiting game.” Gellner also says he is restricted by his own morals, as well as the advice of his lawyers, from mentioning what the particular nature of these politics is, since his accusations implicate a sitting judge on the Ontario circuit. Lucy has resumed her job at the shoe store and they have moved into Darryl’s apartment.

The Implications of the Lu Case

Lucy Lu’s fight to stay in Canada continues to provoke controversy and polarize opinions. Her supporters assert that Lu has paid her debt to society and should not be forced to return to a country she claims will try her again for the same crime; others say that if exceptions are made for one woman, claimants in the future may turn to the Lu case as a precedent. This possibility would undermine the vested authority of the laws.
While these are several of the troubling consequences of this case, they in no way cover all of the moral and ethical implications Lu’s plight raises. It is quite possible that even three years from now, we will still be waiting for the real answer to the question, “Whatever happened to Lucy Lu?”

Special thanks to Prof. Joanne Bargman.

Ontario’s educators cheer

With a new premier elected and about to take the helm, members of Ontario’s education community paused to reflect on how Mike Harris had changed learning in Canada’s largest province.

Their overwhelming conclusion? It can’t get much worse.

“Generally, I think, the quality of education has declined,” said Henry Jacek, McMaster University prof and president of the Ontario Confederation of University Faculty Associations (OCUFA).

The most dramatic change in Ontario universities during the Tories’ Common Sense Revolution was the increase in class sizes, Jacek said. He added that larger class sizes decrease interaction between profs and students, and make multiple-choice tests more common than essay-style exams.

Harris resigned as MPP on April 2. His replacement, Ernie Eves, has promised to take a more centrist stance, consulting more with his critics while continuing to cut taxes.

“The public wants more investment in universities,” Jacek said, citing polls commissioned by OCUFA. “The rank-and-file Conservatives disagree with their own party,” he added.

Another faculty association, the Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT), agreed with Jacek’s assessment. CAUT released an almanac of post-secondary education that provides statistics on education from a national perspective.

The numbers show post-secondary education funding dropping by 30 per cent in Ontario from 1992 to 2002.

Saskatchewan showed a 19 per cent increase in spending over the same period.

But despite the cuts, Ontario’s university participation rate remains the third highest in Canada.

“All the provinces were thrown into the same boat” in 1996, said Dave Robinson, CAUT president. That’s when the federal Liberal government cut transfer payments to the provinces in an attempt to balance the budget and eliminate the deficit.

“I think there was a decision in Ontario that governments should spend less on public education and students should spend more,” Robinson added.

“Students were spending significantly more under the Mike Harris regime.”

Joel Duff, the Ontario chair of the Canadian Federation of Students, noted that the provincial Progressive Conservatives “spiked tuition fees in Arts and Science programs” and voted in a “20 per cent across-the-board cut.”

The government defends the Common Sense Revolution record in university funding by saying Ontario took necessary steps to cut a bloated provincial budget, increase health spending to cope with an ageing population, and deal with a massive reduction in the federal transfer fees that pay for education.

The Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities points to the SuperBuild program, which has invested $1.8 billion in 59 projects at colleges and universities across the province—“the single largest capital project in 30 years in the post-secondary sector,” according to the ministry’s business plan.

The plan also notes that tuition increases “in most programs [have been] capped at two per cent per year”—although professional programs have deregulated tuition, which means universities can hike tuition in areas like engineering and medicine to whatever they want.

The ministry also boasts that 21,500 new spaces will be created in computer science and engineering programs through an Access to Opportunities fund.

The ministry has also set targets to increase the number of medical and teaching graduates. The 2001 Ontario budget announced a $293 million increase in operating grants to colleges and universities, an extra $100 million for maintenance and $10 million for research awards.

The province is also moving to base a small percentage of university funding on employer and student satisfaction rates and graduation and employment statistics.

Critics of the Mike Harris legacy in education are cautiously optimistic that incoming premier Ernie Eves may increase post-secondary education spending when he takes over the government.

“Certainly there’s a lot of posturing. He’s been positioning himself as a kinder, gentler politician,” CAUT’s Dave Robinson said. Robinson added that he hopes Eves will follow through on his campaign promise to make sure qualified university students won’t be turned away from postsecondary education because of inability to pay.

“Eves graduated from university, whereas Harris didn’t,” Jacek said. “He has shown an interest in consulting with the experts.”