Tory bias alleged at MRU
Alumni mag featured Redford right before election called
Mount Royal University has been accused of “sucking up to the Premier” in the days leading up to the election by featuring Premier Alison Redford on the cover of their alumni magazine, Reflections.
Phil Elder, professor emeritus of environmental and planning law at the University of Calgary, wrote a blog for The Calgary Herald in which he called the magazine a blatant display of election favouritism.
“I think it shows a very deep misunderstanding around what should happen with public institutions and the government,” Elder told The Reflector.
“It’s quite inappropriate for a public institution to show, deliberately or not, preferential treatment to a government party just as an election is coming on. I was quite shocked about that.”
Randy Paquette, the director of alumni and community relations and the editor of Reflections, said there was absolutely no intention of influencing voters or favouring the Progressive Conservative party by featuring Redford in the alumni magazine.
The article describes Redford in glowing terms, using a list of adjectives: “Smart. Articulate. Passionate. Energized. Confident. Open. Decisive.”
Paquette said this particular issue has an international theme and the article was written to relate to that by focusing on the premier’s achievements on the international stage. Redford was an arts student at Mount Royal in the ’80s.
Paquette did not expect the article and cover to be perceived as currying favour with Redford’s party, he said, so the allegations of impropriety took him aback.
“My reaction was a bit surprised because the intention was really to celebrate the achievements of an alum and share that with the alumni community,” Paquette said.
He added that, because Reflections is on a six-month production cycle, the decision to feature Redford was made months ago and the coincidence of the magazine coming out around the same time as a potential election wasn’t on his mind.
Elder said if it’s true that Mount Royal University was not purposefully favouring the PC party, he sees the magazine as being indicative of “the moral blindness that creeps into a one-party state.”
A complaint has been filed with Elections Alberta over the issue. Elder said he was glad the complaint was filed, though it was done without his knowledge or instigation.
Elections Alberta is looking in to the matter, according to a CBC report.