Breaking News: academic institutions and Canadian media continue to confuse Canadians over the Clayton H. Riddell Graduate Program in Political Management donor agreement at Carleton University.

Less than 24 hours ago, I pointed out the inconsistency and confusing manner in which Carleton is dealing with the Clayton H. Riddell affair. It almost seems as if they’re deliberately confusing.

Though, it’s not as if the press is helping. The Canadian Press has been issuing statements and “facts” that contradict what Carleton is saying in other places, and most recently, CBC adds further to this confusion and clusterfuck.

A five-person steering committee — dominated by the patron’s appointees and headed by Preston Manning — no longer approves key hiring and curriculum decisions, but is asked to provide “timely and strategic advice.”
The new agreement also requires the committee to operate in accordance with the university’s policies, procedures and practices.

It didn’t before? I’m not sure if anyone has contested this point. Otherwise as Carleton has said elsewhere, there was no problem, with any of it, to begin with! We’re just clarifying! Big misunderstanding!

I’m proposing that both Carleton is trying to mislead, and that our media is a bit too lazy to make that misinformation go away. Carleton Unversity obviously is interested in making themselves look good, so they have a motive for misleading. So, let’s look at this new agreement and see what actually changed.

I don’t have the whole new agreement, but according to Carleton’s press release, it’s clause 14 that has been amended – which they posted online (took them less than a year this time). So here’s what I’m going to do for you, unlike all the other sources so far – I’m going to post the original clause in the first agreement, then the amended clause. Then I’m going to bring up a couple key points, and then you can think about it.

GGPM = Graduate Program in Political Management. RFCF = Riddell Foundation and Manning. CU = Carleton University.

 Amended Clause

So, indeed, there was a change. (d), removed the explicit mention of being involved in the hiring process. But just think about what (d) still entails for a second, it still gives the Manning camp a foot in the door, and the power to veto the budget (three out of five members are designated to the donors choice) – the budget, by the way, that goes to pay the staff. They approve the budget, imagine if they don’t approve the budget… then Carleton has to accommodate them until they do… or nothing happens. Another point, unless they’ve changed this, in the original agreement section 5 made it clear that the donations from Riddell would be on an annual basis and if the program deviated from the “goals” then the funding could be stopped at any moment by Riddell (meaning, funding could be stopped at any moment by Riddell and Friends). So in addition to a veto over the budget with the Steering Committee, the Riddell Foundation can still sway things with the fact the money flows from him – and can stop at his whim. This “change” seems to be more symbolic than anything else. The ball, as they say, is in their court. And the court is typically those with the million dollar estates.

The only way to be satisfied with this if you think that’s there’s no malicious, or self-serving intent, from Riddell or Manning. You have to trust them completely that they won’t, in any way, take advantage of their clear dominance. Considering they’ve already stacked the program with patronage appointments of neoconservatives, and those with past associations with the Reform Party and Preston Manning and Stephen Harper, it’s not exactly a good foundation for trust.

And, indeed, if Carleton is telling the truth, nothing has changed, really. So the fact they could stack all those Reform remnants neocons and theocons, they’ll be able to continue doing that. The staff remains the exact same, according to Carleton, so there doesn’t seem to be change at all. Satisfied? 

Hopefully this alleviated some confusion that our media and academic institutions would prefer to inflict upon Canadians everywhere.