We the undersigned urge Canadian universities and colleges not to participate in "Project Hero," a program in which post-secondary institutions waive tuition and course fees for "children of fallen soldiers." Children of deceased members of the Canadian military already have access to benefits through the Children of Deceased Veterans Education Assistance passed in 1953. These benefits cover course fees and tuition as well as a monthly living allowance.
Project Hero is not about aid to the children of deceased soldiers, as their needs are already being met. Rather it is a political effort to justify Canadian participation in the war in Afghanistan and glorify militarism on our campuses. We do not believe our colleges and universities should be participating in this kind of political campaign masked as a student aid program.
We support the effort by University of Regina faculty members to raise the issue of Project Hero on their campus. We are deeply concerned about the response they have met in the form of hate mail, threats and calls for their dismissal. They have every right to raise these issues, and it is essential that free discussion and debate about foreign policy and the role of the military be allowed without vilification and threats of retribution. The University of Regina Administration and the broader community must strongly defend the academic freedom of these faculty members.
The very name of "Project Hero" demonstrates its fundamentally political nature. We believe participation in this project threatens to align our universities and colleges with a particular political message about militarism and the war in Afghanistan. We therefore urge university and college administrators to reject participation in this project.