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Is Western Star suppressing debate on Grenfell?

UPDATE: At 4:10 pm on Friday, I received a note from the Publisher of The Western Star, indicating that the letter from Simon Lono actually appeared on Monday, August 20, which is a pretty quick turnaround. I do apologize for that... but I also ask why they didn't acknowledge the correspondence from Simon and myself until now? A prompt reply would have prevented this. -GM

On August 16, the Western Star ran an editorial about the province's decision to create a separate university at Grenfell. It comes as no surprise that the paper supports the decision, given their previous fawning coverage of the premier's pre-election giveaways.

However, Simon Lono, a fellow blogger who is not afraid to play devil's advocate, disagreed with the editorial, particularly the opening statements that "no one will be able to say the issue wasn't well debated."

Lono feels the issue hasn't really been debated at all, and that the whole thing is a fool's errand being rammed through for reasons that are political, not practical. He wrote a letter to the editor saying so, and submitted it about a week ago. The letter was brief, carefully considered and persuasively written.

However, it still hasn't appeared, and Lono has not received acknowledgement of receipt. He posted a blog item about this and included the full text of the letter, which you can read by clicking here.

When I read Lono's post on Tuesday, it struck me as odd that the paper would refuse to print a letter this concise and well written. Surely there was some mistake. I emailed a note to the editor of the Western Star, directing them to Lono's blog item and asking if they would publish his letter and if not, why not?

I still have not received a reply, which would seem to mirror Lono's experience.

Is it possible that the paper is rejecting our overtures because we are just irritating naysayers from St. John's? I certainly hope not. But I won't rush to judgment yet. Perhaps they just haven't had time to respond

If you are interested in the Grenfell issue, there is an excellent commentary on this subject in the latest edition of the Business Post (August 20). Roger Bill, former editor of Current, deconstructs and destroys the premier's decision to create a separate university, comparing it to the Sprung greenhouse fiasco.

Bill writes that the British and Irish consultants who wrote the report keep repeating that the idea is workable. "Yes, of course it is. Almost anything is. Another Conservative premier at the height of his power proved that you can grow cucumbers in Newfoundland. He spent more than $25 million proving it."

It is recommended reading if you can get your hands on a copy.

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  • Gerald
    July 27, 2010 - 14:53

    In creating a new university in Corner Brook, the people of NL and Lab have a chance to do things right by having a centre to cater to the educational needs of the Province and its people where they live. Memorial University of St. John's has lost its way, and has driven our students to other parts of Canada to study and earn their degrees. And once these students have received their degrees from mainland universities, they stay there, and contribute to society there.
    It's time to take a look at the mandate of the University of St. John's, and to what degree this mandate has been achieved. If the University of St. John's is not meeting the educational needs of Newfoundland and Labrador and its people, then we have to re-focus. The rural University of Newfoundland and Labrador could be the vehicle that does this.
    Even with one University and two autonomus campuses, perhaps we can put the administration of both campuses in Corner Brook, or better yet, in Central.