Nipissing University plans to confer an honourary Doctor of Letters on the former Ontario premier Mike Harris on June 11. This has some First Nations upset.
“You don’t reward a person who was directly responsible for so much economic hardship and divisiveness in this province. Our organization is right now working with the current government on 100 recommendations from a judicial inquiry whose job it was to contribute to changing the relationship that existed between the Harris government and First Nations – a hostile relationship that led to the death of Dudley George at Ipperwash on Sept. 6, 1995,” said Anishinabek Nation Grand Council Chief Patrick Madhabee. “That is what Mike Harris will always be remembered for.”
National Chief Shawn Atleo was also named by Nipissing University as a recipient of an honourary education doctorate, but it has been reported that he will decline because of Mike Harris’s involvement.
Chief Marianna Couchie of Nipissing First Nation released a statement saying that her community would be withdrawing funding support for the new university Learning Library because of Mike Harris’s connection.
Patrick Madahbee says that Mike Harris does not deserve any honourary treatment, in the view of First Nations citizens in this province.