John Tierney (Op-Ed, The Faculty Club,February 25th, 2006, page A29), despite his family connections with academia, falls into the trap of equating the mission of the University with teaching. In reality, the University has two missions: the transmission of knowledge and the creation of knowledge.
In a pluralistic system, different universities put different emphases on the teaching and research roles. That is as it should be. Potential students can then make informed decisions about whether they want a truly memorable undergraduate experience or whether they want to attend a research powerhouse where they may get useful research experience in some of their upper level courses.
And, yes I did teach undergraduate survey courses at Toronto.