Coulter at UOttawa: song of the predictables

by Colby Cosh

A crowd of columnists, tweeters, talking heads, and bloggers is already preparing to bore you with cynical proclamations that the Ann Coulter fiasco at the University of Ottawa was a “victory” for Coulter, that it was precisely the “martyrdom” she was looking for, and that it was “exactly what she wanted.” I would ask them to consider one question that is usually overlooked even by defenders of freedom of speech: what about the students’ right to hear Ann Coulter, or any other obnoxious political performance artist whose views they might like to entertain? Did they win too? Did they get exactly what they wanted? If we rebranded freedom to speech as the freedom to hear, as Robin Hanson has proposed, would the real nature of the harm be clearer?

When conservative students connect the dots and figure out that they too can assemble mobs and pull fire alarms—heaven forbid that there should ever be two sides to such undignified situationist power contests; the worst people are guaranteed to win no matter what—will we all greet that development with a dismissive sigh? (Would the Nazi metaphors stay locked in the drawer for very long?) One is tempted to compile a list of upcoming Canadian campus events featuring leftist speakers who have ever expressed a view objectionable to somebody or other. There must surely be about fifty of these a week, even if you don’t count ordinary scheduled classes. Ann Coulter’s safety is yours and mine. To which I feel I can only add: “Duh”.




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Coulter at UOttawa: song of the predictables

    • He probably picked it up from Frederick Schauer, if anybody.

  1. "Ann Coulter's safety is yours and mine."

    Yeah, like George Galloway's right to enter Canada is yours and mine.

  2. Cosh, the two aren't mutually exclusive.

    • Obviously not, but in free speech controversies, the absolutists often give themselves the hardest part of the assignment–defending the demagogue or the fringe nutjob or the Klansman, rather than the right of the audience to receive and evaluate information (or indeed even just to know what some kooks are thinking and saying). In this case there's going to be a lot of useless debate over whether Coulter is on this side or that side of some ethical line that hasn't even been explicitly drawn.

      • aren't occurrences like this one part of the process of drawing that ever evolving line?

      • "the absolutists often give themselves the hardest part of the assignment–defending the demagogue or the fringe nutjob or the Klansman, rather than the right of the audience to receive and evaluate information (or indeed even just to know what some kooks are thinking and saying)."

        I always thought this was the point, that the principle of the freedom of expression applies when it's easy to defend, of course, but especially when it's difficult.
        That said, as has been acknowledged before, the freedom of expression doesn't give anyone a free pass to say whatever they want without getting answered back. Allowing for the possibility that Coulter's potential audience has the right to hear her speak, where, temporally, would this fit in with all the other freedom of expression going on? Should the protesters have held their tongues until after Ms. Coulter had been heard by her audience before they said anything?
        Wasn't it the police who pulled the plug? Wouldn't it have been the police, then, who prevented Ms. Coulter from speaking, therefore violating her audience's right to hear? Maybe someone should rein them in; it seems more and more of our rights are curbed every day in pursuit of a sense of security that is proving rather illusory.
        In any case, was it a severe violation? Ms. Coulter's body of work is quite available; do we have reason to believe that this speech would have contained material that differed substantially from that? So many questions, only one way to find out for sure: either she or someone from that audience needs to lawyer up.

  3. The University of Ottawa has the right to deny the opportunity to speak to anybody it pleases. It's not the State.

    • So there's no problem then, is what you're saying?

      • No, just that there's no need to get all righteous about it. The fire-alarm puller broke the law against public mischief. End of story. Don't like it? Try holding another event. Or get mentally somewhat tougher. Or both.

    • The UofO was willing to hold the event until the mob of jerks made it impossible, Jack.

      And your concert blurb? Duh. Wrong story. The story is fans, including you, appear at a scheduled Blue Rodeo concert, and some schmuck who never got over the lack of respect shown to Corey Hart and Luba phones in a bomb threat, forcing everyone to evacuate. That is criminal conduct interfering with your right to hear.

        • Yeah. They keep trying to let it go, but someone pipes up that the best is yet to come. It's just the storm before the calm, Colby. The storm before the calm…

          OK, so now you know when this can-con radio listener went to high school…

    • But the issue is not "the University has no right to schedule speakers as it pleases" so much as "people pulling fire alarms and trying to shut down a speech because they disagree with the speaker are hysterical loons". non?

      Although I'm all for any sort of law that forces Blue Rodeo to play at my whim.

    • It wasn't the university that stopped it, it was a bunch of students sabotaging the event and threatening violence. There was a huge crowd of people to see her. There was a group of 20-30 students sabotaging the event, while there were hundreds of people waiting for the event to start, many of them also students. Just like at any event, whether a sporting event or a concert, an unruly mob should be handled by the police, otherwise we risk a descent into barbarism.

    • You don't have to listen to her, you could stay away! Wait until someone tries to stop your free speech!!! Ann is not a hate monger, she likes to push buttons and says what many are afraid to say.

  4. Too bad the event was cancelled. Whoever pulled the fire alarm should be charged with mischief and assessed costs. Let the students hear and hope they learn that what Coulter offers is not wit and not "satire" but nasty nonsense.

    • The cops that eventually arrived did nothing to try to find the culprit, or to find a way to allow the event to proceed. They did nothing but clear people away from the doors, all they wanted was for the event to end so they could hop back in their cars and move on.

      • So not only are the universities, the media, and a minority of looney students lefty liberals, but the police forces as well?
        Well, they do support the long gun registry, so perhaps you're not entirely paranoid.

      • i have read in other accounts scf that one male individual was led out of the building by the cops.

      • Typical of the Ontario police, no?
        Cave in to protestors.

        • In defence of the OPP in Ottawa, I've been at protests where violent counter-protesters showed up. In both cases the OPP did a superb job protecting us, risking themselves in the process.

          Go easy. The police in this case would have been taking orders; they're not going to press matters against students on their own campus unless the university specifically tells them to or unless outright violence is in the offing.

  5. U. of Ottawa and Canada itself needs to grow up. And those including security forces who cancelled the Ottawa meeting simply have made Canada yet more of a laughing stock. One is embarassed.

    • You shouldn't be, you are an 'ex' …

  6. Freedom to speak and freedom to hear: cool. There is also a freedom to ignore. And a freedom to rebut. But no right whatsoever to conduct oneself the way these jackasses did tonight.

    • Instant modification for clarity: Protesters are more than welcome to voice their displeasure, disagreement, and even disappointment that WindBag Coulter has a podium. But any who threatened violence, and specifically the moron who yelled "fire" in the crowded theatre almost literally deserves jail.

        • Nope. I wasn't there. And so far I have not heard of any smashed windows, or rocks thrown, etc. Hence the "any" word. If I had any evidence of violence or threats of same, the word choice should have been "those." And I hastily added my follow-up because the first post alone might have suggested that I was speaking against the crowd's right to protest. And I am not against their (and your, and my) right to protest. That's how you deal with speech you abhor. You denounce and debate with more speech.

        • Well, after reading Colby's next post, I now have a wee little bit of evidence, but it is a statement by Coulter herself, citing her bodyguard citing Ottawa police that threats were posted on Facebook. I would prefer to wait for better confirmation than just from the centre of the controversy herself, who may have a little much to gain from still more evidence of victimization.

      • Jail seems like a lot for pulling a fire alarm. But I wasn't sure Rahim Jaffer got off too easily either.

        • In a crowded building, yelling "Fire!" (or pulling the alarm) could induce a stampeding panic that kills and maims. If the loser is caught and if (big if) judged competent to stand trial, anything less than jail would be too easy.

          As for reckless disregard for one's fellow humans because one wants to speed around in a vehicle with your faculties impaired, I would sleep better if such a creep would share the cell with the alarm-puller. But that's me. YMMV.

    • Unfortunately, Coulter has the right to be a jackass 24/7.

      • And YOU can believe, affirm and promote what floats YOUR boat thanks to that very same right. Feel free to remove th "un" up there.

  7. " ….. usually overlooked even by defenders of freedom of speech: what about the students' right to hear Ann Coulter …. "

    The problem is liberals and their embrace of invincible ignorance. Many liberals are incapable of listening to opposing views and do everything they can to shut down debate. And it is so heartening to see Canada has its own little version of Red Guards, universities should be so proud of the intolerance they are breeding.

    • Being intolerant of intolerance is a good thing… otherwise tolerance can't exist in the first place

      • Obviously the phrase intolerant of intolerance makes no sense. It's not tolerance of the people you like that makes you a tolerant person. It's tolerance of the people you don't like. And the reason you don't like them is often that they don't like you.

        • I can not like someone and still respect them as a person. The reason I think Ann Coulter shouldn't be tolerated is separate from whether or not I like her (I really don't). For instance, I really dislike Stephen Harper, but I still respect him as a person and don't think he should have his speech limited.

          • LOL, no just his powers limited!

    • "The problem is liberals and their embrace of invincible ignorance. Many liberals are incapable of listening to opposing views and do everything they can to shut down debate. "

      Got that everybody? 20-30 protesters = all liberals everywhere. Is this a sweeping generalization based on a ridiculously small crowd of unidentified people? No sir, these were all liberals revealing their true selves.

      And when Grandpa Jolyon says it, you can take that to the bank.

      • 20-30 protesters were the protagonists. Then there was also the fact that university security, the cops, and nobody else did not want to bother lifting a finger to allow the event to proceed. The university proctor was spurred on the 20-30 students by sending Coulter a warning.

        • No. It's "one guy pulling the fire alarm" equals "liberals and their embrace of invincible ignorance."

          Happily, s_c_f seems to know the identity, motive and political proclivity of the guy who pulled the alarm. You'll be sharing that info with the police, one would hope?

    • And this only applies to liberals, does it? The Conservative government wouldn't even allow into G. Galloway into the country, for pete's sake.

      • *crickets*

        • I though it was the Canada Border Services Agency who would not let him in. Of course Kenny didn't overturn it either. Which I think he could of.

      • G.Galloway, by his own admission(Isaw him admit this in a debate with Hitchens), funded Hamas, a terrorist group.

        If this isn't too "zionist" for you: http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=156863

        It was a civil servant, who determined Galloway not be allowed in the country.

        If you have any evidence of government tinkering here, please provide it.

      • G.Galloway, by his own admission(Isaw him admit this in a debate with Hitchens), funded Hamas, a terrorist group.

        If this isn't too "zionist" for you: http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=156863

        It was a civil servant, who determined Galloway not be allowed in the country.

        If you have any evidence of government tinkering here, please provide it.

  8. Coulter was in danger from a false fire alarm and a demo outside? Poor shrinking violet. How many times have you been present for a false fire alarm and waited five minutes or so for someone to turn it off?

    I don't buy this "security" nonsense for a moment. I suspect she pulled the plug herself–she'll coast on this for years to come.

    Sorry to sound cynical. But she was never in any danger, going by all the reports I've read and msgs. I've received. Something smells here. Do abti-Coulter demonstrators not have the right to freedom of expression too?

    • C'mon, Dawg. EVERYONE in a crowded venue is in danger from a false fire alarm.

      And you need more than suspicion of your preposterous idea that she pulled the alarm herslef. You need evidence.

    • Your comment makes no sense since this is apparently something that has never happened before. She's already hugely successful, she doesn't need to pull a stunt. She never has before. The cops were asking people to clear out of the building. I don't see how you can blame her for listening to the cops.

      • I wonder about the cops & would like to hear more about the basis for their decision. Is anyone going to be able to shut down any event by pulling a fire alarm?

    • Thanks for keeping us posted on what you suspect, always fascinating stuff.

    • I suspect it was you who pulled the plug Mr.Jedras.

      It's just as plausible, as what you just suggested.

      From what I understand, the U of O is the one who cancelled.

      I will look at any evidence to the contrary, with an open mind.

    • Sorry about that… Mr. Baglow.

      Somtimes all lefties look a little similar to me… but that doesn't make me a racist.

  9. I went to the event. Could not even get in the door despite the fact that I heard the auditorium was only 2/3 full. There was a line to get in 3 blocks long. People waited outside to get in from 7 to 8:30 and eventually realized that the event was canceled. It was very disappointing.

  10. Will you be liveblogging the Calgary gig?

    • I'll be there. I'm not a Coulter fan. Before all this insanity, I had no desire to attend. Now, I see it as a "can't miss" event. Hopefully, I'll be able to get in.

      • Sometimes it is very hard to tell when you're joking and when you're not. But that is all part of the fun, I guess. In this case my wager is on joking, of course.

  11. The university of Ottawa has the gall to refer to themselves as – "Canada's university". With the recent threats made by Mr. Houle, and the absolute contemptible actions of their students, they are now Canada's embarrassment.

    what ever happened to the supposed Canadian character of tolerance? Disgusting, whether you agree with Ann's viewpoints, or not.

    • In what way did Mr. Houle threaten Ms. Coulter?

    • Read the letter again, and you'll find no actual threats. Just a poorly thought out "behave yourself" letter by a university provost being overly catty.

      • Where in the world does he get off telling ideological opponents what they can and can't say in Canada? It was insulting and demeaning. Is this what academia is producing these days? Unbelievable.

        • 'Is this what academia is producing these days?'
          Yes, and then their students go on to become journalists.

        • He didn't tell her what she could and couldn't say, he suggested that she familiarize herself with Canadian laws which differ from those in the US. Now you can't really read tone into an email. It might have been written as an FYI (though doubtful), but even if it was intended to suggest that she might want to censor herself, she was in no way obligated to do so. It isn't like he told her that her speak had to be pre-approved, nor did he publicly say she needed to censor herself (she is the one that made the email public). So any accusation that the email was partly responsible for the protestors (not that @Nuktubian made that accusation but others have) would put the blame on Ann for releasing the email in the first place. What I am curious about is the event was actually shut down. Yes there were protestors and yes someone pulled the fire alarm but that really doesn't sound like a reason to stop a political event (especially 45 minutes after the alarm is pulled). Isn't there almost always protestors at political speaches. Why cancel this one? Does anyone know?

      • I always mention the criminal code when 'welcoming' someone to the country for the first time. Don't you?

        • The new citizenship guide does!

          • … and no-one denies that it's intended as a warning against importing barbaric practices to Canada.

    • uhm, how does laying out the differences in American and Canadian laws pertaining to the freedom of expression constitute a threat exactly?

      • Can we please dispense with the ridiculous conceit that Houle's "welcome to Canada" missive was just a friendly FYI? Call it a warning or call it a threat, it amounts to the same thing.

        • if a warning, threat or the provision of information all amount to "the same thing" why do we use different words to describe them?

          that anyone considers that letter to be a threat shows solely they have, fortunately, received the genuine item.

          that anyone cannot read through Coulter's bogus hate crime claim as a means of establishing a self-fulfilling prophecy (step 1: make bogus claim that one was a victim of a hate crime; step 2: pursue hat crimes remedy while suggesting that if the hate crime tribunal does not remedy the situation to one's satisfaction that lack of remedy is evidence that protections only apply to the left; step 3: have bogus claim tossed as a bogus claim; step 4: hysterically trumpet decision as evidence of self-fulfilling prophecy) is sad in that it makes clear an inability to think critically.

          • "if a warning, threat or the provision of information all amount to "the same thing" why do we use different words to describe them?"

            The 'provision of information" is certainly not the same thing. The difference between a threat and a warning, it seems to me, is the degree of specificity. A warning is "don't do that, you could get hurt," a threat is "don't do that or I'm going to hurt you." So there's room to debate between warning & threat, but there's no question that Houle was pre-emptively cautioning Coulter.

            As for Coulter's "hate crime" rubbish, it's not even worth genuine contempt. It is, as you say, pure idiocy.

          • building of your distinctions, I think you are correct that diff between a threat and warning is the ability of the individual delivering the message to carry out the 'danger/sanction'. in this case Houle did not have any srs recourse to lay criminal charges and hence his letter is not a threat but perhaps a warning in that he was "preemptively cautioning" her in the sense of notifying her of a potential danger – which i fail to see as egregious.

            I am glad we agree her counter claim is rubbish. that said i think what she is doing is worthy of contempt because it is a dishonest attempt to further erode our societal institutions. you and I might agree that our human rights institutions require serious reconsideration and revision and we could have a great debate as to the nature of the problems and potential fixes, and I would welcome that. but I fully resist this kind of underhanded approach to legitimization.

  12. One of the craziest ironies is that the event would likely have went off without a hitch anywhere else in the city except at a university. But at the university the students could assemble a mob outside their residence door and kill the event. Universities are the worst place these days for different opinions to be heard and for people to speak without threat of violence.

  13. 1. There are no young conservatives… (okay there are *some*. But they're all conservative party staffers.), or at least not enough to cause a riot.

    2. If the issue was just that Ann Coulter is controversial, I would agree with Cosh; not letting her express herself would be a pity. But Coulter is a hate-mongerer who often just makes stuff up. I'm not too fussed when someone who shows a complete lack of respect for others, is disrespected.

    • If she is a hate-monger; what are the university organisers of Israel apartheid week? Nazi's? Anti-Semites perhaps?

      • If someone talked about Jewish people and Israel the way Coulter talks about Muslims, the Conservatives and B'nai Brith would LOSE their minds and try and censor them immediately…. the government might even ban them entry to the country. 'Israeli Aparteid week' while inflammatory, and probably counter-productive, is not discriminatory towards a group; it's criticism of a state's policy. I guess you could make the argument that the only reason people are picking on Israel's human rights record is because they're anti-semites. While this is possible, it is not necessarily so; people can criticize Israel about human rights because they disagree with Israel's policy. Criticizing Israel isn't itself racist, although it's possible that criticism could be motivated by racism.

    • She is not a hate-monger. The only people who say that are the ones who've never read her books or listened to her speak.

  14. One might argue there exist meaningful parallels between the Coulter tour and the aborted Galloway visit a year ago this month: both can be seen as extremist; both have repeatedly made what many would consider racist and bigoted statements; Galloway is claimed to have defended and/or funded terrorism and Coulter appears to recommend that states engage in it against Muslims; and both seem to relish the attention generated by their extreme pronouncements.

    In Galloway's case, it was our government attacking our "right to hear". This evening, it appears the dirty work was done by the mob — or at least the mob handed Coulter a reason to bolt.

    • Galloway was not stopped because of what he said. He was stopped because he funded Hamas, a listed terrorist organization. Coulter does not fund anyone. She just writes books and does television appearances, and promotes conservatism.

      • "He was stopped because he funded Hamas"

        He disputes that. Until actual proof is offered to back up your statement, your claim is inaccurate.

        "I have not now, nor have I ever been a supporter of Hamas," Galloway told CTV's Power Play by phone from New Jersey on Tuesday. "If I had a vote in the Palestinian elections it would not go to Hamas
        http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20

        • http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=156863

          The money quote: "ZOA officials said Galloway visited Gaza in March, when he donated 100 vehicles and some $1.4 million. "We are giving them to the elected government of Palestine," Galloway reportedly said at the time."

          Hope that not too zionist to count as evidence.
          I heard Galloway admit as much, in his debate with hitchens.
          Right from the mouth of the cat.

      • "He was stopped because he funded Hamas"

        He disputes that. Until actual proof is offered to back up your statement, your claim is inaccurate.

        "I have not now, nor have I ever been a supporter of Hamas," Galloway told CTV's Power Play by phone from New Jersey on Tuesday. "If I had a vote in the Palestinian elections it would not go to Hamas
        http://toronto.ctv.ca/servlet/an/local/CTVNews/20

      • "She just writes books and does television appearances, and promotes conservatism…."

        …and racist hatred. Hey scf, do you endorse her assertion that Muslims should be forbidden from flying?

  15. Without for a moment supporting the people who shut down this event, I have to address: "One is tempted to compile a list of upcoming Canadian campus events featuring leftist speakers who have ever expressed a view objectionable to somebody or other. There must surely be about fifty of these a week, even if you don't count ordinary scheduled classes."

    Indeed. So Colby, can you point to a few "leftist" speakers who have appeared in Canada in the last few years who have spouted the kind of raw, racist hatred that Coulter spews on a near-daily basis? If there's fifty a week, this should be a quick exercise.

    Again, without supporting anyone who would interfere with her right to spew her bile, or her supporters to lap it up, you do recognize the difference between controversial or unpopular opinions and sheer hatemongering agitprop, right?

    • agree with TJ that the quoted segment seems rather juvenile, no? well at least certainly tired. yes yes we know, every university class is left wing indoctrination….

      honestly, Macleans you think that kind of triviality is a good way to invest the money I spend procuring the magazine?

      • See, now you used the word "procure" and that brings to mind the thought that it may have been a Freudian slip in relation to the reason for such editorial content.

        And now, I have a cigar to smoke.

    • "So Colby, can you point to a few "leftist" speakers who have appeared in Canada in the last few years who have spouted the kind of raw, racist hatred that Coulter spews on a near-daily basis? If there's fifty a week, this should be a quick exercise."

      *crickets*

  16. I would ask them to consider one question that is usually overlooked even by defenders of freedom of speech: Does freedom of speech mean that you get to speak anywhere you like even at an organized event in another country? I have some excellent notes drawn up and I demand a lecture hall at Harvard!

    • She did not demand to speak there. That was the venue that was organized for her. People invited her to speak there. Nobody was using the auditorium for any other reason, and hundreds of students and others wanted to see and hear her. You don't seem to realize – the protesters don't own the campus.

    • No, it doesn't. But if a student group at Harvard invites you and rents a hall, then you get speak. Wow, this is profound! Thanks for leading me through this Socratic dialogue!

      • You're quite welcome. There will be more exciting dialogues when the John D fan club presents John D live at Harvard.

  17. Leftist don't debate. They're "correct" and as such are entitled to shut down debate.

    The greatest policy issue of our time – the apportionment/restriction of energy based on claims of AGW: to question it is to attract the label "denier."

    As much as question the applicability of multiculturalism as a policy and you'll get the "racist" label.

    Dare publicly condemn radical Islam that preaches death and violence, and your an "Islamophobe"

    All methods to shut down debate. The totalitarian leanings running through the modern left today is frightening.

    • Did she condemn radical Islam or all Muslims. Why does a 17 yr. old canadian muslim student deserve to be belittled in her own country as she was in coulter's speech the previous night.

      • Indeed, it was sad watching the 48 year old Coulter make that awful camel comment towards that 17 yr. old Canadian Muslim girl.

      • Why did Coulter deserve to be belittled? Coulter held the event. The student decided to attend and attempted to discredit Coulter. And how on earth do you make the assumption that you are belittled when people disagree with you? That's arrogance.

      • She was applauded like a hero by the intolerant leftists in the audience, wasn't she? Hardly a victim. Coulter only had the courage to pour cold water on their celebration party. That was her crime.

    • I actually agree to a couple of your points, but you can't ascribe this trait of not listening to othger opinions as 'leftist' alone. Intolerant radicals and bigots exist at both ends of the spectrum – and *certainly* exists amongst right wingers and conservatives.

      • Really. Maybe you can point to us examples of conservatives trying to shout, scream, and bully opponents into silence. It's a tactic primarily used by the left, especially on campus. Remember that group at York that wanted to ban people from speaking against abortion, or that wanted to send speech cops into the lecture halls? Or how about that old lady terrorized by supporters of gay marriage in California?

        The modern left hates to be challenged. It's why they hate Harper, Coulter, or anyone else who threatens their agenda.

    • Indeed. It's amazing that, after all those years of a lefty majority government, you're not forced to wear a hijab and speak finnish while eating jerk pork. Being as how the whole totalitarian thing works. Right?

      Thanks for posting, by the way. You've provided my evening smile.

  18. I'm watching you biff… closely.

  19. There's one big problem with Mr. Cosh's analysis. Conservatives simply don't do this kind of thing. They're just not in the habit of yelling at, screaming, and bullying those that dare to disagree with them. In fact, my experience has been that conservatives don't fight back. When those like Coulter do, the left loses it. For example, why else would that university official send her that threatening letter about speaking her mind? This is what the left does. They can spread hatred about others, others aren't allowed to stand up and disagree.

    • Yeah, I agree, I don't think Naomi Klein has had her events sabotaged.

  20. Are you seriously suggesting that the alarm was a coincidence?

    Here's another fact for you. The firemen came and left. The event was cancelled a further 30 minutes later. The alarm was not the reason it was cancelled, it was just one of many tactics employed to sabotage the event.

    • I don't think it was a coincidence. But i also can't say, with any certainty, who did it and what their motives were. Political statement? Prank? Drunken yahoo?

      Also, meant to type and reply to "Jolyon" in regards to the identity crack. my apologies.

      • Frankly, it's almost certain that the fire alarm was an attempt to shut down the event. Probably a protester who went too far. There were no drunken people around.
        Nobody even left the building when it happened (maybe a few). Like I said, nobody wanted to leave, everyone knew it was a false alarm. I think there was other stuff going on. Most people were really hoping the event would proceed.

  21. I'm starting to think the not-showing-up-to-riot is a failed policy.

  22. The Tea Party would like a calm, reasoned word with the both of you.

    • Name one example where they wouldn't let ideological opponents talk? In fact, they look like their beef is that they otherwise don't have a say in politics, especially through the political system. That leftists get so made at non-leftist protesters is just another example of what I'm talking about.

      • Does shouting "faggot" at Barney Frank or "nigger" at John Lewis and (allegedly) spitting at Lewis this past weekend count as not letting ideological opponents talk? Or is it different when it's about identity rather than ideology?

        I think that's the difference. The liberal crazies get exercised over opposing ideology. Conservative crazies get worked up over opposing values and unconventional identities.

        The curious feature of conservative yellers, screamers and bullies is that sooner or later they end up with a show on Fox news. Bill O'Reilly used to be an expert at bullying people and not letting them speak (periodically turning off their mics, reputedly) but I suspect his meds are kicking in because you don't hear from him much anymore. He's passed the torch to a new generation of professional lunatics.

      • Does shouting "faggot" at Barney Frank or "n-word"* at John Lewis and (allegedly) spitting at Lewis this past weekend count as not letting ideological opponents talk? Or is it different when it's about identity rather than ideology?

        There's the difference: Liberal crazies get worked up over opposing ideology; conservative crazies lose it over opposing values and unconventional identities.

        The curious feature about conservative yellers, screamers and bullies is that sooner or later they get to have a show on Fox. Bill O'Reilly used to be expert at not letting ideological opponents talk–reputedly to the point of turning off their mics. I suspect his meds are kicking in because we don't hear much from Bill anymore. He's passed the torch to a new generation of lunatics.

        *Irony alert! The administrators deleted my previous attempt at this post, I suppose because I spelled out the n-word. Note to bigots posting on MacLean's: n-word is unacceptable; "faggot"? No problemo

        • Does shouting "faggot" at Barney Frank or "n-word"* at John Lewis and (allegedly) spitting at Lewis this past weekend count as not letting ideological opponents talk?

          No.

        • lol, you're comparing some hecklers who mainstream conservatives don't support to outright thugs who won't let people speak?

          You leftists keep proving my points for me.

          You hate Bill O'Reilly because he threatens your precious agenda, certainly not because of the nonsense you accuse him of.

          You see, you're allowed to do that in a free country. But you then turn around and say your opponents can't even speak. It's intolerance and, ironically, hate. It's how you want it. Just your side.

          • Dennis, I had no Idea I was a leftist. Or that mainstream liberals supported outright thuggery. Or that I was turning around and saying my opponents can't speak–on that last point, I was pretty sure I sided with Coulter and Cosh–or the first paragraph of Cosh's post, anyway.

            How do liberals (I mean, LEFTISTS) and conservatives compare for making sweeping, simpleminded generalizations about each other?

        • Oh, and you engage in yet another tactic common on the left. Imperfection of opponents justifies outright malfeasance on your own side. Harper breaks an obscure promise on income trusts, so McGuinty can lie about his entire platform. Some nut screams a racist taunt at a rally, so we can lynch mob Ann Coulter.

          • a couple hundred kids show up to protest a hate monger, and the left is a bunch of pinko commie facists

          • Point being that if the right can point out commonly used tactics by the left, the left can do the same to the right, in fact those lists would look rather similar don't you think?

        • Does shouting "faggot" at Barney Frank or "n-word"* at John Lewis and (allegedly) spitting at Lewis this past weekend count as not letting ideological opponents talk?

          Just found out your claims are false. Good thing there is a real news outlet in America.

          http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,589776,00.htm

  23. It seems to me that the event organizers slipped up. If you think there is going to be a security issue, you can get RCMP at the event. It is costly but it salvages the talk.

    • Unless the value of shutting it down exceeds the value of holding it. Levant before her Ottawa appearance was all over the air waves claiming it takes an American coming to Canada to demonstrate/remind us how free speech is a Canadian right. How better to reinforce your message?

      • Oh I agree that at least some people behind the event probably wanted something like this to happen, because it highlights their issue. As much as they claim to oppose cultures of victimhood, the right loves playing the wounded victim. On the other hand Ann Coulter is probably not the best cause celebre out there. The other irony is that something like incitement to violence did take place on the part of the folks planning to bring rocks to the event.

        • Alleged "folks planning to bring rocks to the event". I haven't seen any confirmation yet from police or Facebook page. Have you?

  24. Given the paucity of rulings on hate crime in Canada, it would have been interesting if she had given a speech at her most vile and been charged. Win or lose, it would have been worth watching.

  25. Angry mob outside. Fire alarm inside. Prudence says you clear the venue as you investigate. Although with the angry mob outside, prudence may want to reconsider evacuating the attendees into the loving arms of the angry mob outside…

  26. My last sentence may be inaccurate – I've read in an article that it was not the cops decision, that it was Coulter's body guard, and that the cops were called to clear people out. The cops did not enter the building. Perhaps it was a combination of the false fire alarm, the large crowd, the absence of security, hectroing protesters, it's hard to say what exactly was going on. I heard someone say that protesters were blocking the doors, I don't know if that was true, but I did see a number the protesters manage to squeeze themselves into the building without waiting in line.

  27. The organizers clearly didn't know what they were doing . . .

    1. Why did they choose a public university venue? . . . duh. If anything's clear about public universities in Canada, it's that they are not free speech zones (There's any number of hotels where the event could have been held, with similar or greater audience capacity);

    2. Why were the organizers so public about the venue and time of the speech? . . . again, "duh." Don't they know that in Canada any event that the left — Marxists, anarchists, radical Muslims, and soft liberal fascists — can hi-jack any event they don't like (conservative, Christian, or pro-Israel) with threats of violence, and get it called off by the police. The police services don't fear conservatives, Christians, or Jews, but they do fear the other side;

    3. Why did the organizers not think ahead as to security issues — how to verify who was a confirmed attendee, how to get the keynote speaker in, how to keep protesters and the uninvited back from the doors, etc.? Do they really believe this is Canada? The venue they chose is not a place where the usual Canadian virtues of good manners, queuing to get in, et al. prevail. The venue they chose is one of several Marxist-soft liberal fascists pseudo-state enclaves where the usual Canadian civility or, even, law holds. It's the land of the peasant intellectual, and the peasants really are revolting!

    All in all, it was "amateur night on the Rideau" re. the organization of this event. Next time, call on the professionals to organize a venue for a controversial speech-maker, and let the amateur, would-be organizers attend, watch, and learn how things are done.

    • controversial speech maker?!! Spare me.

  28. Why should I care about someone's right to hear someone who has advocated in the past the annexing of Western Canada ("for the skiing")? I'm frankly surprised she was even allowed to cross the border. She should be a persona non grata in Canada. Even people in her own party have asked that she stop being invited to events because she's an embarrassment.

  29. I once had a final exam and someone pulled the fire alarm. And I still had to write the exam! If only I knew how dangerous it was.

  30. I've read one of her books, and she's a hate-monger.

    • That's your opinion. That makes as much sense to me as someone calling Layton a hate-monger.

        • Ha. Coulter plans a speech and is threatened by the provost at the university. You call her a hate monger and I defend her.

          You can see who are the defenders and who are the antagonists here. But you peg Coulter and I as the problem. Hilarious. I hate to break it to you, but liberals are the ones who are guilty of relativism, not conservatives.

          • "threatened by the provost at the university"

            When the police officer says "if you drink and drive, we will arrest you" is that a threat? If you cross the border from the US to Canada carrying a firearm, you need to do your paperwork. If you don't you may face a fine or prison time.

            Is that a threat?

            Keep repeating that she was "threatened". You will continue to be incorrect. .

          • I'm not sure what you think 'liberalism' is, but usually it has something to do with 'liberty' (sort of antithetical to censorship as characteristic of 'the liberal way of doing things'). You really shouldn't use words like 'liberal' and 'conservative' because they don' t have any meaning, at least not in the sense you're using them. Also, read the link i posted above, it has some interesting arguments… you might actually like it

          • "And no, her moral beliefs are not hate, they are conservative."

            Ok, I actually have to defend conservative beliefs here: Coulter calls for the mass murder of Muslims. No matter how vehemently I disagree with conservative "beliefs", genocide is not among those beliefs.

            Give your head a shake.

          • Thanks TJ.

            It's good to hear you say that. : )

  31. Ann Coulter should be allowed to speak so that people can see how ridiculous she is.

  32. No one threatened her – he simply expressed what our hate crime laws are in the country so she was forewarned before she inserted her foot in her mouth (as she is known for doing) and got herself in trouble. That's being a good host – not being threatening. No one is saying she can't speak her mind – we are saying that in Canada, we don't allow people to say racist and hateful things in public. This is simply a flagrant display of misplaced martyrdom.

    • Although I agree that in principle hate speech should be prohibited, I also realize that it comes down to ideology. Whether you believe in the right of a society or an individual first. Essentially this is illustrated quite well in the protesters vs. Coulter debacle. But I have to agree that the protesters had just as much a right to be there as Coulter and I see no evidence of any violent intimidation. Most don't even really seem all that interested, see for yourself

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j0wZ7qWwgR4

      Just looks like people standing and yelling to me. Isn't that guaranteed under free speech?

  33. I detest Ann Coulter's views but why are university students so afraid to listen to her and to debate her? Her views are repugnant but I think she isnt that convincing and I think university students minds are not that frail to be so easily swayed by Ms. Coulter.

  34. People are idiots. I'm pretty sure a misanthrope from the cold wilds of Northern Alberta with a chip on his shoulder the size of Lake Athabasca, like yourself, Mr. Cosh, would know this already. I have a low opinion of you, given your misanthropy, but even I didn't think you would advocate two, or fifty, wrongs making a right. Dude! And now it seems it was Coulter's own people who called it all off, and Ottawa police had nothing to do with it. Dude x2! But anyway, the whole thing is nonsense.

    As mentioned, people are idiots. I concur. But to protest someone as boooooring as Coulter? That is truly moronic. What next, protesting Dempster's Sliced White Bread? I enjoy interesting provocateurs with novel unhinged arguments. But Coulter is so by the numbers I can't take it. Dieudonné may be an anti-semite, and Orchard may be a 9/11 Truther, but at least they're interesting. Coulter & Dawkins (as polemicist, not as scientist) are equally boring. It's a sad comment on Canada that either or both would get so much press. More intelligence in 1 min. of Kids in the Hall than in 10 hours of those two.

    So I'd advise you to waste as little time as possible on these imbeciles. I realise media have their own readership/capitalistic exigences, but still. Just saying the name, Ann Coulter, makes…me…so…ve…….ry…slee…py…………………………………..

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