The valedictorian at the University of Winnipeg’s fall convocation criticized Vic Toews as a “vocal opponent of the expansion of human rights”—with the federal Public Safety minister sitting nearby, eyeing the program for a ceremony that included his acceptance of an honorary degree. Toews is arguably Manitoba’s most powerful federal politician, but his staunch opposition to gay marriage and hardline advocacy of locking up more convicted criminals for longer prison sentences have made him a divisive figure in his home province. The valedictorian, Erin Larson, 22, call the decision to honor him “questionable at best.” Her university’s president, Lloyd Axworthy, the former federal Liberal cabinet minister, was mildly critical of her decision to politicize the moment. As for her fellow graduates, some cheered, others sat on their hands after Larson’s address. Toews slipped up quietly by a side door afterwards, avoiding some quiet and orderly picketers who backed Larson’s stand.