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Students oppose honorary degree for Public Safety Minister Vic Toews

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University of Winnipeg valedictorian Erin Larson gave Canada's public safety minister a piece of her mind at today's autumn convocation.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 17/10/2010 (4488 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

University of Winnipeg valedictorian Erin Larson gave Canada’s public safety minister a piece of her mind at today’s autumn convocation.

She told Vic Toews, who received an honorary degree from U of W, that she was “not proud” to share the stage with him.

Larson, the top student at the university, said the school had lost its intergrity by awarding Toews an honorary law degree.

JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Vic Toews listens during the ceremony at U of W on Sunday.

Toews sat quietly a few feet from Larson, looking at his program.

Earlier, about 50 students protested outside the university, holding neatly printed signs denouncing Toews’ degree.

“He stands for everything a university shouldn’t,” said organizer Rob McGregor.

The students say Toews has opposed gay rights, is behind a needless law-and-order crackdown that will result in millions spent on prisons and he called Tamil refugees terrorists.

The students, who are lined up against the building, say those views are at odds with the U of W’s inclusive reputation.

joe.bryksa.freepress.mb.ca University of Winnipeg valedictorian Erin Larson said she was "not proud" to share the stage with Vic Toews.

“(Toews’) policies are in direct opposition to the notions of compassion, justice, acceptance, inclusiveness, human rights and equality,” said Brittany Thiessen. “As a university which values these notions, I along with many others, believe that honouring this man is unacceptable.”

Toews graduated from U of W in 1973 with a bachelor’s degree in history before becoming a lawyer and subsequently going into politics.

JOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA University of Winnipeg president Lloyd Axworthy bestows honorary degree on Vic Toews.
History

Updated on Sunday, October 17, 2010 1:43 PM CDT: About 50 students holding neatly-printed signs are standing quietly outside the University of Winnipeg's Duckworth Centre this hour, protesting the record of Public Safety Minister Vic Toews. "He stands for everything a university shouldn't," said organizer Rob McGregor. The students are upset the Univeristy is honouring Toews with an honourary degree at this afternoon's convocation. They say Toews has opposed gay rights, is behind a needless law-and-order crackdown that will result in millions spent on prisons and called Tamil refugees terrorists. The students, who are lined up politely against the building, say those views are at odds with the U of W's inclusive reputation.

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