Alberta university students want lecturer who denies Ukrainian famine fired

The famine was recognized in 2008 by Canada and nine other countries as an act of genocide

Some University of Alberta students want the school to fire an assistant lecturer who denies the Holodomor, the mass genocide of Ukrainian people carried out by the former Soviet Union in the early 1930s.

In a Nov. 19 Facebook post, Dougal MacDonald, a sessional instructor in the Department of Elementary Education, called the Holodomor a lie perpetuated with fake photographs and news stories spread by former Nazi collaborators.

The university’s Ukrainian Student Society calls the post hate speech and says it demonstrates that MacDonald is not fit to teach.

In an email to CTV News, MacDonald says he has researched the Holodomor for a number of years and has a right to free speech.

The famine was recognized in 2008 by Canada and nine other countries as an act of genocide perpetuated by the Soviets under Joseph Stalin.

It’s estimated that up to 10 million people died.

“(Prime Minister) Trudeau’s support for the anti-communist, pro-Nazi Holodomor myth is no accident,” MacDonald’s Facebook post read.

“The Trudeau government’s promotion of the Holodomor myth is more of its self-serving agenda to attempt to rewrite history, while falsely claiming to support freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law.”

Ivanka Soletsky, a university student and Ukrainian Student Society member, said someone with those views in a time of political instability should no longer be able to teach at the university.

“Students have a lot of respect for their professors … and typically take what they say as truth because we assume that they know what they’re talking about,” she said.

“In this case, Mr. MacDonald is making claims against historical facts recognized by the government of Canada for over a decade.”

Other organizations, such as the Ukrainian Canadian Congress, are also calling for MacDonald’s “immediate censure and termination.”

In his email to CTV, MacDonald said what society members find offensive is that he does not agree with them.

“They arrogantly claim that my disagreement means I am not allowed to speak … I do not debate with those kind of people.”

The University of Alberta said in a statement that MacDonald’s views do not represent those of the institution, but he has a right to share them.

Deputy provost Wendy Rodgers said the university is “carefully monitoring” but no action would be taken.

MacDonald has previously run for the Marxist-Leninist Party in Edmonton-Strathcona in the last two federal elections.

Correction: In a previous version of this story, the Canadian Press erroneously reported that the Jewish Federation of Edmonton had called for the lecturer’s termination. In fact, the federation had called the lecturer’s stance “dangerous” revisionist history, but did not call for his firing.

The Canadian Press

Just Posted

Sylvan Lake woman charged with fraud over $500,000

Rimbey RCMP launched an investigation in July 2019 with the suspect turning herself in on Aug. 30

PHOTOS: Sylvan Lake gives during annual Charity Check Stop

Sylvan Lake Emergency Services participated in the Charity Check Stop over the weekend

Sylvan Lake Wranglers fall in close game to Coaldale Copperheads

The Wranglers face the Southern Division second place team Sunday night at the NexSource Centre

Sylvan Lake company producing anti-ice beet brine

TD Bobcat Services first began manufacturing the organic brine in Sylvan Lake in 2014

Sylvan Lakers to perform in upcoming “The Nutcracker” ballet

The five dancers will grace the stage during the three day production at Red Deer College Dec. 13-15

China hints at national security trials for 2 Canadians detained for one year

The two Canadians’ detention is largely seen as retaliation for the arrest of a Huawei exec

Teen seriously injured: Police in Lethbridge, Alta., charge 5 people in swarming

Police say a 16-year-old boy made arrangements to meet with a young woman before he was attacked

PODCAST: The Expert welcomes AA Lacombe General Jared Williams

Lacombe resident joined Red Deer Advocate Sports Reporter Byron Hackett and Host Todd Vaughan

No reports yet of Canadians affected by New Zealand volcano eruption, feds say

Missing and injured included tourists from the U.S., China, Australia, Britain and Malaysia

Online ‘direct threats’ lead to cancellation of school dance in Blackfalds

Threats resulted from Grade 4 social studies class discussing energy sector

Blackfalds RCMP warn of poor driving conditions on QEII

Vehicles have been involved in collisions and are in the ditch

MP Blaine Calkins: Alberta left behind in Speech from the Throne

Liberal course does nothing for Alberta economy, crime

Would you leave your baby alone to go to the gym? This Canadian dad did

The man identifies just as a divorced dad with a nine-month-old baby

Most Read