Transcript: Can Sudbury Survive Laurentian's Fallout? | Apr 23, 2021

Jeyan sits in a living room. He's is in his thirties, with short black hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a blue suit, white shirt, and striped blue tie.

A caption on screen reads "Can Sudbury survive Laurentian's cuts?"

Jeyan says LAYOFFS AND PROGRAM CLOSURES AT LAURENTIAN UNIVERSITY ANNOUNCED LAST WEEK HIT CLOSEST TO HOME IN SUDBURY. NICK DUNNE COVERS THE NORTHEAST FROM THERE, FOR OUR ONTARIO HUBS, AND HE JOINS US NOW.

Nick is in his twenties, clean-shaven, with wavy brown hair. He's wearing a gray suit, gray shirt and burgundy tie.

Jeyan continues WELCOME TO THE SHOW.

Nick says THANKS FOR HAVING ME, JEYAN.

Jeyan says NICK, YOU'VE BEEN FOLLOWING THE TROUBLES OF LAURENTIAN FOR A WHILE. OVERALL, WHAT'S YOUR IMPRESSION OF HOW SUDBURY IS HANDLING THE NEWS NOW THAT TANGIBLE CUTS HAVE BEEN MADE.

The caption changes to "Nick Dunne. Northeastern Ontario Hub Journalist."

Nick says YEAH, IT'S A GREAT QUESTION, JEYAN. THE CUTS HAVE BEEN VERY DIFFICULT, ESPECIALLY ON THE LAURENTIAN COMMUNITY. I DON'T THINK I'VE SPOKEN TO A FACULTY MEMBER OR A STUDENT WHO HASN'T BEEN IN TEARS THROUGH THIS PROCESS. YOU KNOW, THE UNCERTAINTY IN FEBRUARY, LEADING UP TO NOW, WHICH IS EXAM TIME, TO FIGURE OUT WHETHER OR NOT THEIR PROGRAM HAD BEEN CUT. AS FAR AS THE LARGER COMMUNITY, IT'S BEEN VERY DIFFICULT. LAURENTIAN PLAYS A PRETTY LARGE ECONOMIC ROLE IN THE COMMUNITY. AND IN TERMS OF SUDBURY'S GREATER KIND OF STORY, I KNOW ANY TIME I GO OUT AND TALK TO PEOPLE ABOUT SUDBURY, THEY TALK ABOUT THE RE-GREENING EFFORTS HERE THAT WERE DONE IN THE '70s AND HOW KEY LAURENTIAN WAS TO THAT PROCESS, YOU KNOW. YOU CAN LOOK AT PICTURES OF SUDBURY 20, 40 YEARS AGO, AND IT'S JUST RUBBLE AND DUST AND THERE'S A LOT OF ACID RAIN HERE. IT WAS LAURENTIAN'S ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCE PROGRAM PARTNERED WITH LOCAL LEADERSHIP THAT REALLY TURNED THINGS AROUND, YOU KNOW. AND EVEN THE SNOW LAB. A NEUTRINO LAB. LAURENTIAN'S PHYSICS PROGRAMS HAVE BEEN CUT AND THEY'RE NO LONGER PART OF THE RESEARCH THAT GOES ON THERE. IT'S A WORLD RENOWNED LAB THAT STEPHEN HAWKING HAS VISITED. IT'S BEEN A BIG LOSS FOR THE COMMUNITY SO FAR.

Jeyan says LET'S TALK ABOUT THE ECONOMIC FALLOUT. WHAT DOES THIS EXACTLY MEAN IN TERMS OF DOLLARS AND CENTS TO THE CITY?

Nick says YEAH. SO, YOU KNOW, THERE'S BEEN LOCAL ECONOMISTS WHO HAVE TALKED ABOUT THIS. THE SUDBURY STAR PUT OUT AN ARTICLE ESTIMATING IT AT AROUND 100 MILLION DOLLARS. TO BREAK THAT DOWN, I SPOKE WITH THE PRESIDENT OF THE NORTHERN POLICY INSTITUTE, CHARLES SIRTWELL. WITH 110 FACULTY GONE WITH A SALARY OF ABOUT 150,000 dollars A YEAR, YOU'RE LOOKING AT 50 MILLION DOLLARS OF SALARY CUT RIGHT THERE OFF THE BAT. YOU KNOW, THE 5 percent PAY CUT TO THE REMAINING FACULTY IS ANOTHER AT LEAST 2 MILLION DOLLARS. YOU THINK ABOUT STUDENTS WHO MIGHT NOT BE GOING TO LAURENTIAN ANYMORE, FEWER STUDENTS DUE TO FEWER PROGRAMS. SO THAT'S A LOT OF SPENDING POWER IN BARS, RESTAURANTS, NIGHT CLUBS, CULTURAL CENTRES. THEN THE OTHER THING YOU HAVE TO CONSIDER ARE SPOUSES OF FACULTY. SO THEY'RE CONTRIBUTING WITH JOBS TO THE LOCAL ECONOMY. IF THOSE PROFESSORS, FACULTY, STAFF HAVE TO LEAVE TO FIND ANOTHER JOB ELSEWHERE, THAT'S MORE MONEY. SO YOU'RE LOOKING AT AT LEAST 20 MILLION DOLLARS RIGHT THERE. THEN THERE ARE THE BUSINESSES THAT PROVIDE SERVICES TO SUDBURY, EVERYTHING FROM FOOD SERVICES, OFFICE SUPPLIES, YOU KNOW, YOUR ELECTRICIANS, PLUMBERS, YOU KNOW, EVERYTHING THERE. WE DON'T KNOW WHAT THE CUTS ARE THERE YET, BUT THAT WILL HAVE AN IMPACT. AND THEN YOU THINK ABOUT, WITH ALL THAT SALARY GONE, THAT TRICKLES DOWN INTO BUSINESSES, GROCERY STORES, RESTAURANTS, ET CETERA, WHO THEN HAVE TO MAKE THEIR OWN CUTS POTENTIALLY TO STAFF. AND YOU REALLY SEE HOW THAT 20 MILLION DOLLARS CASCADES SIGNIFICANTLY. AND, AGAIN, YOU KNOW, THEY'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT 100 MILLION DOLLARS TO 100 MILLION DOLLARS. IT'S BIGGER THAN THE LAYOFFS AT LEAST.

Jeyan says THE UNIVERSITY OBVIOUSLY SERVES A LARGE POPULATION, NOT JUST THE CITY OF GREATER SUDBURY, BUT THE LARGER REGION. DO WE HAVE AN IDEA OF THE POTENTIAL REPERCUSSIONS FOR THE REGION AT LARGE?

Nick says YEAH. SO, I MEAN, IT'S TOUGH TO SAY. I MEAN, REALLY, THE LARGER REGION DOES RELY ON SUDBURY AS AN ECONOMIC ENGINE THAT KIND OF FEEDS THESE OTHER COMMUNITIES. PEOPLE RELY ON, YOU KNOW, SHOPPING HERE. IT'S HARD TO SAY THE EXACT IMPACTS, BUT, YOU KNOW, THIS PLACE IS REALLY THE CENTRE FOR THE NORTHEAST AND ARGUABLY NORTHERN ONTARIO. SO IT CERTAINLY WILL HAVE AN IMPACT. AND THE SCHOOL REALLY HAD A LARGE DOMESTIC BASE IN NORTHERN ONTARIO. SO THOSE ARE A LOT OF STUDENTS WHO MIGHT HAVE TO GO SIGNIFICANTLY FURTHER AWAY FOR THEIR EDUCATION, AND RETAINING YOUTH IS A SIGNIFICANT PRIORITY FOR ALL LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT IN NORTHERN ONTARIO, JUST KEEPING THINGS ECONOMICALLY GOING AND KEEPING THE POPULATION YOUNG AND WORKING.

Jeyan says I WANT TO PULL A CLIP FROM THIS PAST MONDAY. SÉBASTIEN LALONDE, A CHAIRPERSON OF THE CANADIAN FEDERATION OF STUDENTS IN ONTARIO, HAD THIS TO SAY ON OUR SHOW THIS WEEK.

A clip plays on screen with the caption "April 19, 2021. Sébastien Lalonde."
In the clip, Sebastien speaks on screen. He's in his twenties, clean-shaven, with wavy brown hair.

He says LAURENTIAN UNIVERSITY WAS ONE OF THE PLACES WHERE YOU COULD GET A FULLY FRANCOPHONE POSTSECONDARY EDUCATION, AND YET AS WE'VE SEEN, THAT AND INDIGENOUS STUDIES AND INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE PROGRAMS ARE THE VERY FIRST THINGS TO BE CUT WHEN WE'RE SEEING FINANCIAL CUTBACKS. AND THAT IS IS A DIRECT ATTACK ON THE FRANCOPHONE COMMUNITY, ON THE INDIGENOUS COMMUNITIES, AND ESPECIALLY FOR THE TRICULTURAL, NOT ONLY UNIVERSITY, BUT THE TRICULTURAL COMMUNITY IN SUDBURY.

The clip ends.

Jeyan says THAT WAS ON MONDAY WITH NAM KIWANUKA. SEBASTIEN LALONDE MENTIONED THE TRICULTURAL MANDATE THERE. DO YOU THINK LAURENTIAN HAS PUT THAT AT RISK?

Nick says WELL, YOU KNOW, MORE THAN HALF OF THE PROGRAMS IN FRENCH WERE CUT, BUT THERE ARE 24 PROGRAMS THAT REMAIN TO BE TAUGHT IN FRENCH. AS FAR AS THE INDIGENOUS STUDIES PROGRAM, THEY'RE GOING TO BE REPLACING IT, IT SEEMS, WITH WHAT THEY CALL A PROGRAM ROOTED IN INDIGENOUS PERSPECTIVES OR, AT THE VERY LEAST, USING COURSES FROM THEIR FACULTY OF ARTS TO KIND OF SUPPLEMENT THAT WITH SOME LEVEL OF, YOU KNOW, INDIGENOUS EDUCATION. HOWEVER, YOU KNOW, I THINK FACULTY AND STUDENTS IN BOTH OF THOSE... IN ALL THOSE PROGRAMS WILL TELL YOU THAT, YOU KNOW, THOSE LEVELS OF CUTS REALLY DO NOT LIVE UP TO THAT TRICULTURAL AND BILINGUAL MANDATE. SO, I MEAN, THEY'RE THERE, BUT AS FAR AS, YOU KNOW, THE STRENGTH OF THOSE PROGRAMS, IT'S REALLY HARD TO SAY. AT THE VERY LEAST THEY'VE BEEN HAMPERED BY THAT MANDATE.

Jeyan says YOU SPOKE TO ONE PROFESSOR WHO IS FEELING CONFUSED BY THE STATE OF THESE PROGRAMS. CAN YOU EXPLAIN THE CONFUSION THERE?

Nick says YEAH. SO THE INDIGENOUS STUDIES PROGRAM IS IN A VERY STRANGE PREDICAMENT. IT IS A PROGRAM THAT BELONGS TO THE UNIVERSITY OF SUDBURY, ONE OF LAURENTIAN'S FEDERATED INSTITUTIONS. HOWEVER, THOSE STUDENTS GET A LAURENTIAN DEGREE AS PART OF THE FEDERATED AGREEMENT. SO IN THIS WHOLE RESTRUCTURING PROCESS, LAURENTIAN IS TERMINATING ITS AGREEMENTS WITH ALL THE FEDERATED UNIVERSITIES, OR AT LEAST IT'S TRYING TO, AND THIS LEAVES THE INDIGENOUS STUDIES PROGRAM IN LIMBO, EFFECTIVELY. SO RIGHT NOW ON AN INTERIM BASIS, THE LAURENTIAN UNIVERSITY WILL BE OFFERING SIX COURSES FROM THE INDIGENOUS STUDIES PROGRAM TAUGHT BY SESSIONAL INSTRUCTORS. NOTE THAT THAT'S NOT FACULTY. BUT THEN THEY WILL BE OFFERING A PROGRAM IN INDIGENOUS RELATIONS... OR PERSPECTIVES, RATHER. SO THIS LEAVES THE UNIVERSITY OF SUDBURY'S INDIGENOUS STUDIES PROGRAM REALLY IN A STATE OF UNCERTAINTY. I SPOKE WITH A PROFESSOR WHO SAID IN A UNION MEETING TO EXPECT A NOTICE OF TERMINATION BY MAY 1ST. BUT THERE HAVE BEEN REALLY NO OFFICIAL ANNOUNCEMENTS ON THIS YET, AND I THINK WHILE FACULTY ARE EXPECTING THE WORST HERE, THE DUST HAS YET TO SETTLE ON THE FUTURE OF THIS PROGRAM AND WHAT THE UNIVERSITY OF SUDBURY PLANS FOR IT.

Jeyan says I WANT TO PICK UP ACTUALLY ON STUDENTS. YOU HAD A CHANCE TO SPEAK TO SOME STUDENTS, THERE WERE PROTESTS ABOUT CUTS TO PROGRAMS, PARTICULARLY THE MIDWIFERY PROGRAM.

The caption changes to "Nick Dunne, @NickFDunne."

Nick says THEY ARE DEVASTATED. JUST REALLY, REALLY REELING FROM THIS NOW. AGAIN, THE FUTURE OF THESE PROGRAMS ARE SO HARD TO SAY. WELL, SOME OF THEM HAVE BEEN CUT, EVIDENTLY. BUT STUDENTS, YOU KNOW, DON'T QUITE KNOW WHERE THEY'RE GOING TO GO. I MEAN, THE UNIVERSITY IS GOING TO BE OFFERING THEM ELECTIVES, ONLINE COURSES, PERHAPS LETTERS OF PERMISSION TO TAKE COURSES AT OTHER INSTITUTIONS TO COMPLETE THEIR DEGREE. BUT, YOU KNOW, ESPECIALLY IF YOU'RE EARLY ON IN YOUR DEGREE, YOU KNOW, YOU MIGHT NOT BE ABLE TO COBBLE TOGETHER A DEGREE WITH THE CREDITS THAT YOU HAVE. SO TRANSFERALS ARE A VERY REAL POSSIBILITY FOR THE INSTITUTION. PERHAPS ONLY A CERTAIN NUMBER OF YOUR COURSES WILL COUNT. THIS IS HOURS OF WORK AND THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS THAT COULD BE LOST EFFECTIVELY TO THESE STUDENTS WHO HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY THE CUTS DIRECTLY. AND ON TOP OF THIS, AGAIN, THIS HAS BEEN GOING ON WHILE STUDENTS ARE DOING THEIR EXAMS RIGHT NOW. SO THEY'RE FRETTING ABOUT EXAMS. THEY DON'T KNOW WHERE THEY'RE GOING TO BE IN THE FALL. IT'S VERY DIFFICULT FOR A LOT OF STUDENTS AND, AGAIN, LOTS OF TEARS, LOTS OF DISMAY AND, YOU KNOW, PEOPLE THINKING ABOUT LEAVING LAURENTIAN. I'VE HEARD THAT A NUMBER OF TIMES.

Jeyan says NICK, I HAVE ABOUT 30 SECONDS LEFT. I DO WANT TO ASK YOU. YOU LIVE IN SUDBURY, YOU REPORT ON NORTHEASTERN ONTARIO. DO YOU HAVE ANY PERSONAL FEELINGS ABOUT WHAT'S HAPPENED THERE OVER THE LAST FEW WEEKS?

Nick says THIS IS A MAJOR, MAJOR DEVASTATION BUT THIS ISN'T THE FIRST TIME THAT THIS HAS HAPPENED TO SUDBURY. YOU JUST HAVE TO LOOK AT INCO AND FALCONBRIDGE IN THE '80s, SIGNIFICANT CUTS THERE THAT REALLY DEVASTATED THE COMMUNITY BUT ON THE FLIPSIDE OF THAT, SUDBURY'S HAD TWO OF THE LONGEST LABOUR STRIKES IN CANADIAN HISTORY. FIRST WITH INCO, AND THEN IN 2010 WITH VALE. SO THIS IS A COMMUNITY THAT DOESN'T GO DOWN WITHOUT A FIGHT. RIGHT NOW, THINGS ARE LOOKING REALLY TOUGH. WE DON'T KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN WITH THE CCAA AND HOW THEY'RE GOING TO PICK UP THE PIECES OF THIS AFTERWARDS BUT THEY'RE GOING TO BE FIGHTING. THERE'S HOPE YET.

The caption changes to "Producer: Carla Lucchetta, @carrletta."

Jeyan says A STORY THAT WE WILL CONTINUE TO FOLLOW, NICK. I WANT TO THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING THE SHOW AND WE WILL SEE YOU AGAIN NEXT TIME.

An animated slate reads "Ontario Hubs. Ontario Hubs are made possible by The Barry and Laurie Green Family Charitable Trust and Goldie Feldman."

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