For Immediate Release
May 24, 2023
Citing the “alarming precedent” set, members of the NL NDP Caucus will votes against a PC Private Members’ resolution urging government to change the Memorial University Act and enforce the singing of the “Ode to Newfoundland” and the “Ode to Labrador” at Memorial University Convocation ceremonies.
“While recognizing the emotional attachment many have to the anthems, and acknowledging the disappointment often felt when traditions evolve, we feel there are many more issues at Memorial University that the House of Assembly could have addressed in its last week of sitting before the summer break,” NDP Leader Jim Dinn said today.
“In the last couple of months, we have spent time at student protests and on MUNFA picket lines. Students and faculty shared many concerns with us; none related to singing the Ode(s) at convocation ceremonies.
“Furthermore, we are fundamentally opposed to the alarming precedent this sets. If a future government – or opposition party – seizes on another news story about a university decision they don’t agree with, supporting this resolution says it is okay to compel MUN to bend the knee to the government of the day.
“I would note that this is a two-part PMR which also advocated including the ‘Ode to Labrador’ in the Provincial Anthem Act. We would certainly support an appropriate multi-lingual version of that ode being included in legislation, but as the greater intent of the PMR is to compel Memorial University to follow what government dictates, we are compelled to vote against the PC resolution.
“I have always been taught and believed that those who fought and died in the two world wars and other conflicts did so to preserve our freedom. That freedom includes whether or not whether or not an independent Memorial chooses to sing the ‘Ode to Newfoundland’ at its convocations. I do not agree with their decision and think it was ill-advised, but I do not think it appropriate that government consider legislation to force it to do so in this case.”
For further information, contact Eddy St. Coeur, Director of Communications, NDP Caucus at 729-2137 (o), or firstname.lastname@example.org