I’ve mentioned a few times my dislike of protests in this part of the world, in this day and age. Well, this week I felt completely embarrassed by Ottawa and the bullies who kept a guest speaker from the US from speaking .
Of course most sane people know that Ann Coulter spews a lot of rubbish – nasty, stupid, racist stuff. Most of us have no interest in hearing what she has to say and probably wish she would just shut up already.
However, there seem to be other people in this country who do want to hear her speak – whether because they agree with her views or whether they want to go and argue with her. And so, several universities in Canada have invited Ann Coulter to come and talk and a lot of students and other citizens of this country are attending the events.
Please note: she did not sneak into the country and try to organize secret cabals to convert friendly, liberal Canadians to facism. She was invited.
Ottawa didn’t seem to get that. First some patronizing prig (Francois Houle, Vice-President Academic and Provost, University of Ottawa) takes it upon himself to send Ann Coulter a stern letter bringing to her attention Canada’s “freedom of speech” laws which “may differ somewhat from those to which you are accustomed.”
If that’s not embarrassing enough, approximately 2,000 angry, “threatening” protesters showed up before the event and conducted themselves in such a way that Ann Coulter’s appearance had to be cancelled to protect her safety.
These people have not only taken away Ann Coulter’s right to freedom of speech, but more importantly, they’ve also taken away the rights of all the people who wanted to hear her speak.
Protesters claim Ann Coulter doesn’t practice freedom of speech; that she just disseminates messages of hate. Perhaps, but surely that should have been decided after she spoke and by the Human Rights Commission – not by a mob of thugs or by a university provost.
Are we so addle-minded that we’re afraid to allow someone with radical or even distasteful views express them publicly? Are we incapable of doing battle with her on equal terms in the forum that was set up for this purpose? Does freedom of speech in Canada mean saying only kind, polite things that must not, under any circumstance, offend anyone at all?
Ann Coulter has filed a complaint to the Human Rights Commission. It will be interesting to see what happens.