Ron MacLean in Edmonton for honorary degree from U of A in midst of Cherry controversy

Long-time sports broadcaster Ron MacLean was in Edmonton on Tuesday to receive an honorary doctor of laws degree from the University of Alberta.

MacLean’s visit to Edmonton comes in the midst of a nation-wide controversy: his Hockey Night in Canada co-host Don Cherry was fired by Sportsnet following comments where Cherry appeared to say newcomers to Canada don’t wear poppies.

MacLean faced criticism for not intervening as his on-air partner made the comments, but made an apology shortly after the incident, saying Cherry’s words were “hurtful and discriminatory.”

This isn’t the first time the University of Alberta has presented a degree to someone embedded in public controversy. Last year, the university presented a honorary doctor of science degree to David Suzuki.

Suzuki — a longtime environmentalist and oilsands critic — attracted a small group of protesters to the June 2018 ceremony, where he also gave a speech.

The degree will be presented to MacLean at 3 p.m. at the Northern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium.

He will be receiving his degree along with 753 undergraduate students and 959 graduate students.

Two other people will be receiving honorary degrees: retired senator and language rights advocate Claudette Tardif will receive an honorary doctor of laws degree, and Edmonton poet laureate Alice Major will receive an honorary doctor of letters degree.

All three recipients will give a keynote address to the graduates.

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