The Modern Spirit’s non-joke editorial RE: Martha Billes


The staff at The Modern Spirit (Jack Fisher) support the message and passion of the OPIRG group, Fossil Free Guelph.

While our entire purpose at this site is to make lighthearted jokes about things happening in, on, or around the University of Guelph campus, we felt it was in our best interest to wholeheartedly acknowledge that the motion to divest from the Board of Governors (BoG) was a net-win for everyone.

We’ve written a couple of articles making fun of the university’s decision to not divest.

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And, we would like to point out that the BoG’s lack of acknowledgment of their failure to act when first asked will reflect badly on them if they hesitate again.

We saw you, we see you, and we will remember.

However, they have, to break a trend, done a good thing. They did vote to divest.

Yesterday Martha Billes, the University of Guelph Chancellor, resigned because of this decision.

Martha Billes is a benefactor of extreme nepotism and privlege. She inherited a company, bought out her siblings, and time and time again at board meetings has raised nonsensical arguments against divestment that The Modern Spirit interprets as bought opinions.

Our world – as we have come to know it – is gone. We will not exist in a space comparable to this one in 40 years’ time.

Climate change is our bane. We need to act, and act faster, but we are not.

I – Wombat – tried to write something flippant about Billes’ resignation, but I could only think of the intimidating reality and horror that big business and the “stock market economy” is imposing on all of us.

All of us.

That’s a big idea. An idea I hope you can appreciate.

We do not have to bend to the will of venture capitalists who dream of being billionaires.

We don’t need billionaires in our society.

We need people to survive. We need people to live in a world where their fundamental needs are met and they have access to things like clean water and modern healthcare. Because we can.

We can make that happen. People do not need to starve or be homeless. YOU just have to care, and you have to know that caring means holding leaders and capitalist grifters to account.

It’s not great that Martha Billes is signal boosting to her equivalents that they should not accept this kind of change. It’s up to you and your community to make people like Martha Billes irrelevant and hold truth to power.

The oil and gas industry is bleeding a non-renewable resource dry. They know this. They have always known this, and Martha Billes’ knows this.

Let’s continue the push. Let’s follow the example of Greta Thunberg and acknowledge that each and every one of us can facilitate change.

The Modern Spirit is glad the University of Guelph will pursue divestment.

If you do not understand the impact of institutions divesting from an industry that will drive the climate to destruction, and why it’s a good thing, then we don’t want you here.

Good riddance Martha Billes. Your ideas are not welcome at the University of Guelph. We wish you good health, but we also wish health for the future of the planet, and for that, we need to move forward.



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