Monthly Archives: March 2014

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Open for business, connected to military contractors, purposefully opaque

All placards Today, Principal Suzanne Fortier laid out her plans for her tenure at McGill in a talk titled “Open, Connected, Purposeful: McGill and the Next Five Years.” Demilitarize McGill and supporters showed up to tell the principal that McGill’s future will not see military research go unchallenged.

Speech banner and placardsFortier recently told the McGill Daily, “I don’t think there’s any problem in doing research for the Department of National Defence”, adding that she thought McGill’s military research was being conducted in an open and above-board fashion, and dismissing concerns about the heavy redaction of documents obtained through Access to Information requests.

Throughout her career, Fortier has pushed for increasing collaborations between universities and industry, such as those that put McGill resources to work in service of defence contractors Bombardier and Lockheed Martin as well as American and Canadian militaries. In supporting these collaborations, Fortier has made clear that her vision for McGill includes an investment in the continuation of armed conflict — which serves as both market and testing ground for the weapons technology developed at McGill — and a commitment to protecting those relationships at the expense of transparency to students or members of the public requesting information.

Despite the rhetoric of transparency and accountability, Fortier’s neoliberal, profit-driven agenda is fundamentally no different than that of her predecessor, Heather Munroe-Blum. Let’s show her that our resistance is as strong as ever!

Standing up to military research

By the McGill Daily Editorial Board, published March 24, 2014

On March 14, Demilitarize McGill, a campus group that works to oppose military research at the university, led a blockade of the Aerospace Mechatronics Laboratory in the MacDonald Engineering building. Despite the blockade being peaceful, McGill called the police, invoking the controversial Operating Procedures Regarding Protests and Occupations on McGill University (the ‘protest protocol’), which states that any obstruction of work at the University is not allowed. The blockade was organized in response to access to information requests revealing that researchers at the Laboratory received over $500,000 in contracts from the Defence Research and Development Centre – an agency of the Department of National Defence – to develop research linked to drones. While researchers at the Laboratory argue that the research has potential applications outside of military use, the fact that some of these applications cause harm is enough to give cause for student opposition.

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University releases heavily redacted ATI requests

By Emma Noradounkian, published March 24, 2014 in the McGill Daily

As part of its ongoing fight for access to information (ATI) requests from McGill concerning the University’s military research, Demilitarize McGill, a campus group that aims to end military research at McGill, has recently released selections from its ATI requests to the University. The group aims to make all such documents public in the upcoming weeks.

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Montreal police break up drone research blockade

NEWS_Demil-Demo_Tamim-Sujat_WEBIn a sign of growing opposition to military research on campus, over twenty people participated Friday morning in a blockade of the Aerospace Mechatronics Lab, the site of ongoing drone research funded by the Canadian military. The action lasted for close to four hours.

At approximately 11:00am, McGill Dean of Students André Costopoulos called the Service de Police de la Ville de Montréal (SPVM) onto campus to break up the demonstration. At about 11:30am, four officers entered the Macdonald Engineering Building and approached the blockade. They seized a banner reading “End Drone Research,” indicating they would use force to break up the blockade. All the blockaders were able to leave the building safely, and there were no arrests.

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Documents shed light on campus drone research

By Nicolas Quiazua and Laurent Bastien Corbeil, published March 13, 2014 in the McGill Daily

Research at McGill is helping the Canadian military develop drone software for use in combat operations, according to documents obtained through the Access to Information (ATI) Act. Since 2011, the University has received more than $1 million in defence contracts from the Department of National Defence.

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by Bliss Drive Review