As the war in Ukraine continues, the response in Montreal has varied, from the heartfelt to the unconventional. One city councillor has been blasting the Ukrainian national anthem from across the street from the Russian consulate. Three local rabbis travelled to Poland to help refugees. There have been fundraisers, demonstrations, and donation drives.
This crisis has brought out the best instincts of many. Unfortunately, it seems to have brought out the problematic views of others.
A student at the Université de Montréal has created a petition calling on the school's administrators to "reprimand, suspend, or dismiss" Michael Jabara Carley. Carley, a professor in the university's history department, has been vocally pro-Putin since the recent invasion of Ukraine and has been accused of spreading anti-Ukrainian propaganda.
The petition, which was posted on Change.org by Katerina Sviderskaya on March 23, details Radio-Canada's original reporting of Carley's tweets. Carley reportedly said that the Russian invaders were fighting "fascists" in Ukraine, and that "the evacuation of civilians" was being blocked by "the Azov regiment, the fascists."
Carley reportedly tweeted that, "the horror of fascism in Ukraine is becoming more and more evident," and "Donbass and Mariupol are being cleansed of Ukrainian Nazis."
We say he "reportedly" tweeted all this, because it looks like Carley's Twitter account has since been deleted. MTL Blog asked Carley for a response to these allegations but we didn't hear back before publication.
In the meantime, his students are not having it. The petition, which serves as an open letter to school administrators, states that this isn't the first time Carley has expressed pro-Putin sentiments.
"In all of these Twitter posts since February 24, 2022, and even before, Mr. Carley supports a distinctly pro-Putin stance, based on anti-Ukrainian propaganda rhetoric," the petition says in French.
"In particular, he uses terms characteristic of the Kremlin's disinformation discourse, such as 'fascists,' 'neo-Nazis,' shares pro-Russian media publications (Sputnik, RT), Russian official institutions, (Russian Embassy in Canada, Ministry of Defense of Russia) while promoting hate speech and war."
The petition currently has 492 signatures.