Rancourt wanted U of O pedagogically improved and more democratic. He also advocated effectively on environmental concerns, professional ethics, lobbying, media influence, and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In response, university officials silenced him by banishment.
In addition, Freedom of Information (FOI) documents showed he was victimized by intense illegal surveillance. A student spy and professional reporters were enlisted to produce transcripts of his academic and professional talks at other universities to use against him.
Most likely, it was the first time a university used a student to spy on a professor and like-minded students in violation of Canadian and international law.
“Dr. Waleed AlGhaithy (Neurosurgery Residency Program, University of Ottawa), Dr. Khalid Aba-Alkhail (Cardiac Surgery Residency Program) and Dr. Manal Al-Saigh (same) have filed a joint action against the University of Ottawa and several of its officials.”
In spring 2011, plaintiffs held a press conference announcing a Human Rights Complaint against U of O. Attorneys Douglas Christie and Barbara Kulaszka represent them.
Their November 2011 lawsuit detailed charges explicitly and extensively. For example, plaintiff Khalid Aba-Alkhail AlGhaithy asked for $25 million in damages for wrongful dismissal and violation of his freedom of expression under Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, as well as Section 15(1), pertaining to issues of equality, right to equal protection, as well as benefits without discrimination.
Other charges included conspiracy to injure, public office malfeasance, defamation, intimidation, breach of fiduciary duty, negligence, breach of contract, U of O liability for negligence and breach of contract, vicarious liability, and violations of the 1990 Human Rights Code.
Plaintiffs also said defendants treated them “in a high-handed and oppressive manner. The conduct of the University and the individual defendants described herein constitute such wanton and reckless disregard of their professional duties, their contractual obligation as well as their Charter obligations, and (have) caused such devastating harm that an award of punitive and aggravated damages is warranted.”
Damages plaintiffs suffered include loss of income, reputation, mental distress and suffering (including depression and anxiety), loss of future employment as surgeons, and loss of time and opportunity to pursue other medical specialties.
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