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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Supporting a friend with mental health issues

AHS: Do you have a friend who just doesn’t seem to be their usual self?

PHOTOS: Ponoka Curling Club hosts Alberta Junior Curling Tour Event

The Ponoka Curling Club hosted its first-ever Alberta Junior Curling Tour Event… Continue reading

Jeffery Kraft of Ponoka remembered for being loving, well-liked

Kraft passed away on Dec. 15, 2019, in Lacombe at 20 years old

Deserving Ponoka student appointed to National Youth Council

Yael Witvoet will now be able to advocate for causes on a national scale

Province investigating death of Samson Cree Nation youth in care

16-year-old found deceased outside in Rocky Mountain House

VIDEO: Music stars pay tribute to Kobe Bryant at Grammys award show

Music artists including Billy Ray Cyrus, Rick Ross and Kirk Franklin paid tribute to Bryant

Pregnant B.C. woman stuck in Wuhan, the epicentre of coronavirus outbreak

Woman is due to give birth in Wuhan, China unless she can get out

Ontario confirms second presumptive coronavirus case in wife of first patient

Both arrived on a China Southern Airlines flight after having been to Wuhan

Canada’s basketball community mourns Kobe Bryant after helicopter crash

Bryant was an 18-time NBA all-star who won five championships

‘Devastated’: Fans, celebrities remember Kobe Bryant after his death

Bryant played all of his 20-year career with the NBA with the Los Angeles Lakers

Kobe Bryant, daughter killed in California helicopter crash

Bryant entered the NBA draft straight out of high school in 1996

Canadian Lunar New Year celebrations dampened by coronavirus worries

But Health Minister Patty Hajdu said today that the risk of infection is low

‘Presumptive case’ of coronavirus in Canada confirmed by Ontario doctors

Man in his 50s felt ill on his return to Canada from Wuhan, China

Most Read