dimanche, avril 29, 2007



I shall cite here the three examples of where a complaint has emanated from a colleague or a retired colleague rather than from maintenance personnel. Page 13 of the Summary reads: 'Probably during 1989 or 1990, Professor O'Driscoll appeared on the side-walk outside the Principal's Office and spat vehemently at the window. The Principal and his assistant were inside and were disturbed by the violence of this symbolic act.'

Source of complaint: the former retired Principal and assistant.

Response: One never knows when one will have an attack of catarrh, but it is clear from the vivid description above that I had one on St. Mary Street sometime 'during 1989 or 1990'.

Like the retired former Principal & his assistant, I remember neither the day nor the season when the attack occurred.

Whether I would expectorate in the direction of the Principal & his assistant's window or away from it would depend on the direction of the wind and the direction from which I was coming. To spit away from the window may have run the risk of hitting a car: if the incident occurred in spring or summer or early autumn, the window of the car might possibly have been open. No, that definitely would have been worse. The former Principal and his assistant's window was almost invariably closed and was separated from the sidewalk by a garden over which no human being could possibly expectorate and hit the window.

The reader should note the language that the formulators of the Report use to describe this trivial incident. The Principal and his assistance were 'disturbed by the violence of this symbolic act'. Does the act of the first sentence justify the language of the second? I should also say that I have known both the Principal and his assistant for almost thirty years.

The reader will note that the retired Principal (Dunphy) figures in at least four complaints and he looms behind the scenes in others. Indeed, it appears as if it was he who began collecting these minor misdemeanours in 1986 when my trouble with him started over the quality of the Celtic studies program that the College would offer: perhaps, he thought, they 'might' add up to something some day, as indeed they have.

For twenty years - between 1966 and 1986 - I had laboured to awaken in Canada a consciousness of the culture of one of the main founding peoples of the country - the Scottish and the Irish. In 1967, when I began, it was almost like starting from scratch, but with the help of an annual series of public festivals involving the leading academics and artists in the western world, and which attracted some 35,000 members of the public onto the U of T campus, I succeeded in my design.

Few University programmes have received accolades from several Prime Ministers, but Celtic Studies has. In 1978 the Premier of Ontario, William G. Davis, articulated the ameliorating political as well as the artistic quality I had achieved. His statement was widely reported in the media:

We in the Government of Ontario are pleased and grateful that you have chosen our Province as the site for a symposium of such magnitude and importance. You bring honour to our University and enrich the cultural and educational lives of our citizens.

Today, we in Canada are facing one of the most critical times in the
history of our country and there are those amongst us who seek to divide us by dwelling upon our historical and cultural differences. As the leader of a Government dedicated to the unity of this country, may l express my personal gratitude to you for formulating and organizing a symposium which identifies and highlights one of this country's unifying factors.

Many people are unaware that French Canada, through its historical
connection with Brittany, has deep Celtic roots. Therefore, it is factual to say that the Celts were the main founding peoples of Canada and as pioneers of indomitable spirit played a dominant role in the settlement of this land through the challenging and difficult years of a new nation being forged. The Celtic contribution to our literature, life, art, politics and Confederation itself, has been the single most important influence on our Canadian culture and has bequeathed to all our people a rich, rewarding and beloved heritage.
In 1983 the Prime Minister of Canada wrote to me as follows:
I am pleased to hear that, in these times of budgetary constraint, your
innovative approach to scholarly exchanges is bearing fruit, enriching our students' knowledge and appreciation of one of the formative influences on Canadian culture and history.

Then, in 1985, came the following accolade from Prime Minister Garret Fitzgerald in Ireland:

I would like to congratulate you ... for your remarkable project on the Irish settlement of Canada: Orange and Green.... The contribution of the Irish in Canada to their country of adoption is a source of immense pride to all the people of Ireland, both North and South, of both the Orange and Green traditions. Your initiative is a great gesture of reconciliation and an example to all of us in Ireland.
With the encouragement of Premier Davis, President Ham, and President John Kelly, I entered into negotiations with the Government of Ireland and was successful in securing from Universities in Southern and Northern Ireland a sequence of senior academics who came to Canada between 1980 and 1986 to test student interest here in Celtic Studies (their salaries were paid by their home universities; what we had in essence, therefore, was a relatively poor country subsidizing the higher education of a better-off country).

Meantime, Father John Kelly and I raised from private resources sufficient funds for two appointments (Dr. Ann Dooley and Ms. Mairin Nic Dhiarmada). I myself had - up to 1986 - raised an additional $1.4 million, and President Ham gave us a commitment in principle that the University would consolidate the Programme with an appointment in History/Archaeology should sufficient interest in Celtic Studies be demonstrated.

Meantime, I was doing fairly well with securing the appointment. On 4 March 1986 President Connell wrote to me as follows: 'I should add that the new Memorandum of Agreement provides an avenue for proposals to make new appointments. . . . The starting point, then, is not with me or the Minister, but with either Principal Dunphy or President McConica.'

The next letter that I present is most curious: it seems as if former Principal Dunphy did not even approach the University to secure the appointment that would consolidate the Programme that I had spent so long in pioneering. The letter (dated 5 May 1986) is from the Dean of Arts and Science, Robin Armstrong, to J. E. Foley, then Vice-President and Provost:

There has been no approach to my office from St. Michael's College regarding an appointment for the Celtic Studies programme. Therefore, there will certainly be no request for the appointment for July 1, 1987.
Meantime, on 22 April 1986, Dunphy fired me as Director of the Programme, citing as his reason that my alienation of officials 'has undercut my [i.e. his] plans for additional university funding for Celtic Studies.' l had, as I stated above, raised $1.4 million for the Programme; at that point Mr. Dunphy had not raised one single, solitary dime. Nor, to my knowledge, did he raise anything since. The Programme could, with a graduate dimension, have been a glittering gem in the North American academic cluster: it is not. It struggles on but chiefly with the teaching of part-time and graduate students.

During this whole period of transition in the Celtic Studies Programme, I did not make a move (send a letter, even make a telephone call, etc.) without checking with two people: Reverend John M. Kelly who was Director of Alumni and President of the St. Michael's College Foundation, and Professor Lorna Reynolds of the National University of Ireland who was spending the year at the University of Toronto.

The retribution - or revenge - was even more vicious in Father Kelly's case in 1986 than mine in 1993-4. In early January '86 he was told by President James McConica to - literally - pack his bags to be transferred after 50 years in the College to a small house in Northern Ontario.

Never before in the 130-year history of the College had a retired priest been treated in this way. Kelly speculated to me on 31 January 1986 - the day he was escorted away from the College by the new Director of Alumni - that there may have been some connection between the sudden order to move and the campaign that I was waging in the University on behalf of Celtic Studies. 'Don't underestimate their venom, Bob, and don't underestimate their power,' he said to me after naming the four ring leaders in the College.

A day or two later, I launched a national campaign that Kelly be provided, like all his predecessors, with an office and a bedroom in the College. A major story was published in the Toronto Globe and Mail on Monday, 10 February 1986. Two days after the story appeared, an M15 agent from Britain who was known to me - Mr. Nicholas Dutton - with a Canadian companion from Kingston, Ontario, came to my office and relayed the following information which I published in my Nato and the Warsaw Pact Are One:
(Kelly and Christ)
Said 'Yes' to both sides.
'Yes, sir, No, Sir,
Three bags full, Sir.. .
Stoppress while I wait:
'The man
who gave the order
to kill John Kelly
was not a priest,
Bishop, cardinal, or pope.
But a lay catholic here in T O.
'We have documentary evidence
that he is running guns
to Northern IRELAND'- M15.

'We thought he was running them
to the other side' -


The agent actually said: 'The man who gave the order to move John Kelly...'but since Kelly was dead eight months after the move, the substitution, Professor Reynolds and I felt, was justified. Kelly was not in good health, but let us say his life might have been prolonged if he had not been subjected to this physical and psychological harassment.
Why all this 'tatatarara' about a little programme in Celtic Studies? The interest (shall we say 'movement'?) was growing stronger and stronger all the time and with its consciousness of tradition, love of family and the land, it was certainly antithetical to the gathering numinous clouds of an approaching new order for the world.

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