Posted on October 23, 2009 by Tia Lalani

Professors Jeremy Mouat and Harry Prest will be presenting Canadian examples of dissent on October 26, 2009 as part of the academic theme.

By Robin Galenza

U of A, Augustana Campus professors Jeremy Mouat and Harry Prest will be presenting Canadian examples of dissent to audiences on October 26th. Both professors are next in line to examine this year’s school theme of dissent.

Prest will be speaking about F.R. Scott, an important and well-known Canadian poet and intellect. F.R. Scott was an influential figure in a variety of aspects including poetry and politics. It is even rumored that Trudeau’s vision for Canada came from F.R. Scott himself.

“What I want to do is establish F.R. Scott’s credentials as a lifelong dissenter,” Prest explains. “Scott often felt compelled and called upon to speak out about the injustices he saw.”

F.R. Scott is credited with many dissenting ideas and actions over the span of his lifetime. However, F.R. Scott’s most controversial dissent was his support for the War Measures Act in response to the October Crisis in 1970. Prest will explore the contradictions this support created with Scott’s earlier comments and work in his lecture.

Prest believes it is important for everyone to explore Canadian history. “In some ways learning about our recent history is crucial to be a citizen of the country and the future. I find many know very little about the most recent past.”

Luckily, both lectures will give students and staff an opportunity to learn more about powerful moments in Canadian history.

“I think one of the central tenants of a liberal education is the ability and the need to detach oneself from conventional thinking and to be trained and prepared to take up dissent where needed,” Prest adds.

Mouat mirrors his colleague’s sentiments, “I hope they [students] become more dissenting. I hope they show an interest in learning more about the topic and have greater tolerance to dissenting views”

Mouat will be speaking about Alberta’s political history. His lecture will examine the differences between the past and present politics of the West. Alberta has created more political parties in its history than anywhere else in the country, Mouat explains, as he tries to discuss why this is.

“It’s trying to figure out two things. Why the working people in Alberta were more willing to strike and to join more radical political parties a century ago? And why we have become the opposite,” he questions. “Why were we such great dissenters, and why have we stopped becoming dissenters?”

Mouat and Prest both want to delve deeper into these topics during their lecture on Monday, October 26. The lectures will go from 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m. in room C014, the basement of the Classroom building. All are welcome to come listen, engage and ask questions.

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