Expert advice in the Trump era

Posted on Monday, February 6, 2017

Errol Mendes, professor at the Faculty of Law

Law professor Errol Mendes urges disseminating evidence-based truths.

By Brandon Gillet

The nuclear scientists who for the past 70 years have illustrated the global security threat level with their Doomsday Clock recently moved the clock’s hands 30 seconds closer to midnight. The board of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists cited new U.S. President Donald Trump’s “lack of openness to expert advice” as one reason they feel the world is less secure than it has been since the 1950s.

The Gazette asked two of uOttawa’s many experts what they think about the early days of the Trump administration, and what students can do to make the world a better and safer place.

Errol Mendes, professor, Faculty of Law (Common Law Section)

I would urge our alumni to combat what has become known as post-truth in all the sectors in which they will be entering, and do their best to disseminate evidence-based truths. They should promote these truths in science, law, economics and social policy — truths that demonstrate that diversity is not a weakness but a strength, and that when differences descend into bigotry, racism, violence and conflict, everyone suffers.

I would urge them to advocate that the progress of humanity must not be held hostage by those whose self-interest, hunger for power and narcissism could push the world to the brink of disaster and worse.

Patti Tamara Lenard, professor at the Faculty of Social Sciences

Social sciences professor Patti Tamara Lenard

Patti Tamara Lenard, professor, Faculty of Social Sciences

President Trump’s executive orders are chilling in the domain of immigration. It is normal to believe that states have the right to make decisions about whom to admit or to exclude. But it is also generally agreed that it is absolutely objectionable to discriminate against people on the basis of their religion, implicitly or explicitly, when they are seeking refuge from war, and this is just what Trump’s recent executive order has done.

Canadian students have a real opportunity to pressure the Trudeau government to make good on its promise to welcome refugees, by asking that it lift the cap on private sponsorships. Students can also form private sponsorship groups and raise the money themselves to offer safe haven for people who will now find gaining refuge in the U.S. difficult or impossible.

Stay tuned as we continue to highlight expertise from our campus community.

For more information:

The Refugee Hub

List of University of Ottawa experts on President Trump's impact on Canada and world

The University of Ottawa announces measures to assist students and academics affected by U.S. travel restrictions

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