Doug Goss to remain U of A chairman, despite pro-Tory remarks

Doug Goss will remain chairman of the University of Alberta board of governors in spite of a news conference last week where he and four other CEOs urged Edmontonians not to vote for the NDP.

RAW: U of A chairman Doug Goss

7 years ago
Duration 4:12
Doug Goss responds to criticism about his pre-election anti-NDP message

Doug Goss will remain chairman of the University of Alberta board of governors, in spite of  a news conference last week where he and four other CEOs urged Edmontonians not to vote for the NDP.

Dick Wilson, vice chairman of the board of governors, said keeping Goss was in the best interests of the university, especially since Indira Samarasekera will leave the president's office at the end of June. 

"This board firmly believes that our board chair is best to serve and support the presidential transition, particularly at this critical time," Wilson said. "And we want to ensure stability at this important time"

The news conference, held on May 1 — four days before the provincial election —  set off a storm of backlash on social media. 

Goss, Melcor Developments chairman Tim Melton, Clark Builders CEO Paul Verhesen, Keller Construction CEO John Cameron and NPO Zero CEO Ashif Mawji complained that a rise in corporate taxes would lead to job losses. Mawji even suggested companies would stop making donations to charities and the Stollery Childrens Hospital if the NDP were elected.

All five men are PC party donors.

Following the meeting Friday, Goss pledged to work with the government of premier-designate Rachel Notley. He said he regrets speaking out last week. 

"You kinda go, geez, that maybe didn't come out quite the way it should have," he said, adding that he has always been open about his political leanings. 

"As a private citizen, I'm entitled to those opinions ... in no way, shape or form did I represent the University of Alberta."

But the university's academic staff association wants Notley's government to remove Goss from the board.

The board chairman must keep the best interests of the university foremost at all times, and should "stay above, and not weigh into, election campaigns," Kevin Kane, president of the Association of Academic Staff at the University of Alberta, wrote in a letter to Notley on Friday.

"His actions have resulted in our complete loss of confidence in him as a member of the board," Kane wrote. "We request that the Alberta government rescind his appointment to the board, whether as chair or member, effectively immediately." 

Nursing professor Donna Wilson said she was surprised that Goss did not step down voluntarily, or that the board didn't request his resignation. She rejects his excuse that he's entitled to express his opinions. 

"Trying to maintain that his personal views have no relevance here," she said. "They should not have ever been spoken in public."

Wilson has since learned that the integrity officer has no jurisdiction over Goss. Wilson intends to pursue the complaint with Rachel Notley after she is sworn in as premier 

Wilson ran for the Liberals in the provincial election, and lost in Edmonton Riverview to NDP candidate  Lori Sigurdson. 


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