Ann Coulter: Canadian free speech hero

Canadian media to UOttawa–you suck

The reviews of Ann Coulter’s aborted talk at the University of Ottawa are in, and the message from Canada’s editorial and op/ed writers is, “Dear University of Ottawa, you suck.”

At the Globe and Mail, an editorial argued that “the forces of intimidation won out over public inquiry” and, as such, “It was a defeat of the university’s basic mission to educate and enlighten.” In a similar vein, the National Post editorialists remember the good old days, when “Universities used to fight vigorously for the free expression of ideas, all sorts of ideas, even discomforting and controversial ones.” When Coulter’s talk was canceled, “it was a triumph for thuggery over scholarship.” An Ottawa Citizen editorial, also invoking the word “thuggery,” goes even further and says the incident is just the latest example of “totalitarianism on Canadian campuses.” You can find similar arguments from editorial boards right across the country, from the Montreal Gazette,  to the Calgary Herald, to the Vancouver Province. Curiously, the Toronto Star editorial board has so far ignored the issue.

I was beginning to worry at the fact that Ezra Levant’s blog has been silent on the cancellation of Coulter’s speech. Thankfully, he popped up in the Citizen this morning. Focusing his barbs on U of O provost Francois Houle, Levant said Houle’s “bizarre” email to Coulter, warning her she could be subject to criminal charges, was a “starter pistol for radical students.” For Levant, “it was the assessment of police, campus security and Coulter’s own bodyguard that there was too much physical danger to Coulter and the audience to proceed.” However, he stops short of calling the protesters rioters, and, instead uses the awkward phrase “student disrupters.” Levant also accused the U of O of indulging “in some of [the] most offensive conduct in the country on their campus.” Citing Israel Apartheid Week, Levant says “Never has Houle seen fit to issue a warning to his campus’s steady stream of Jew-baiters to govern their tongues.”

Paul Saurette, a professor of political philosophy at the University of Ottawa, sees the rancour over Coulter as an opportunity for a teachable moment. With a healthy dose of John Stuart Mill (an assuredly original source on free speech . . .), Saurette submits Globe readers to a yawning missive on the theoretical implications of free expression in Canada. Here’s a sample: “But we also need to remember that, even in theory, the principle of free speech is not a pure metaphysical law that says we are literally free to say anything we like.” Saurette is hopeful that the Coulter incident will “inspire” Canadians to spare “a few moments to think about the complex nature of free speech and its implications.” I get it, free speech is complicated. . . .

Lawrence Martin offers a somewhat different take. After making the obligatory sops to free expression, he, rightfully I would say, points to several greater threats to liberty that have failed to spark the level of outrage seen in the Coulter case. Stephen Harper has engaged in an “unprecedented” clamping down of freedom since he took office. From trying to censor “coverage of dead bodies returning from Afghanistan,” to putting “out a secret handbook instructing members how to muzzle parliamentary committees,”  to thumbing a nose “at high court rulings on Omar Khadr,” the government has turned Ottawa into “Muzzletown.”

Maclean’s On Campus blogger Jeff Rybak has also argued that there are much greater things to worry about than the Coulter saga. After naming several news stories much more worthy of our attention, Rybak laments, “all I can bloody well hear about is this screwball American provocateur who has just about nothing relevant to say to Canadians and nothing informed to say to anyone. Someone please tell me why I’m supposed to care?”

And what has been the net result of the University of Ottawa protests, and Houle’s preemptive letter? The Posts Kevin Libin sums it up nicely: “Burnishing the image of Ann Coulter as a teller of dangerous truths may not have been quite the goal of Mr. Houle and the U of O mob, but they have unquestionably done it. In the U.S. media, their school, and this country, have become in the last 48 hours an object of scorn and ridicule, on all sides of the political spectrum, while Ms. Coulter has been cast a free-speech hero. No wonder she seems so cheerful.”




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Ann Coulter: Canadian free speech hero

  1. If you wish to live in a peaceful and tolerant society, you can not just tolerate the tolerable, you must occasionally tolerate the intolerable.

  2. nonsense; a few right-wing rags have fallen for (or were perhaps in on) what was clearly a poorly thought out ploy, while the vast majority of canadians have seen right through levant’s absolute hypocrisy.

  3. I feel priveledged and honored to be the 1st to comment here. If you wanted to be treated nicely by someone don’t kick them in the ba*ls. Some spineless individuals may cringe at how the University is being perceived but so what. Why not have some backbone and cut these students some slack? It hurts when you get your ba*ls kicked and the usual response is to lay someone out. The University of Ottawa should have had better sense than to bring Coulter in as a guest speaker. What could she possibly have to offer? I’m just glad she’s not coming to B.C. She’s in Calgary now and I can smell the stench already. Time to flush the toilet and send the sewage south of the 49th.

  4. Congratulations to the Ottawa protestors who shut down Ms. Coulter’s speech.

    If a hero to the peace movement like George Galloway is going to be banned by the government, then it rests with the people to silence hate-mongering fools like Ann Coulter who try to fill the void in the dialogue with vitriol and deception.

  5. Free speech hero? More like hate speech hero. Face it, as much as the media is trying to spin Ann Coulter into the victim, she had it coming. There’s only so much nonsense you can spew before the natural reactions should be expected. Furthermore, she has nothing of substance to say. It’s just shock quotes used to make her money. She’s pathetic. Even more so than Glenn Beck.

  6. @dkfghlfhjfla

    I wasn’t referring to the Toronto Star as a whole, only to the editorial board.

  7. The room was big enough for maybe 400 students and maybe half of them had any real reason to be there besides curiosity, her dog and pony show would have blown over into a forgotten memory hours after she left…now its front page news because of the 1200 or so students who showed up just to yell and scream.
    This does not look good for the University of Ottawa, who must bare the responsibility for this embarrassment….ultimately, Allan Rock!

  8. fair enough, but you should have pointed out that the star did touch upon the topic. the precise article presents a similar view to the ones you mentioned, but also tempers it quite a bit.

    (and, of course, nobody prevented her from speaking so the whole bloody fiasco is based upon an inaccurate representation of events that occurred; the course of events should be viewed as absolute proof that free speech is alive and well in the country, subject to a few caveats that we’ve democratically written into our laws, because both the protesters and coulter were given an equal ability to speak their views)

  9. We *do* have free speech in Canada, just as they do in Coulter’s home country. The fact that her opinions generated enormous (free speech!) protest by the students of the University doesn’t negate the notion of “free speech” here… it only strengthens it.

    It was Coulter’s people who cancelled the event, not official policy.

    I am trying to imagine how this scenario would be viewed by people living in parts of the world where those who “speak out” face *actual* violence, and *actual* state-sanctioned supression. This must seem like a schoolyard spat among 4th graders.

  10. Everyone has an excuse for limiting freedom of speech. The Left want to shut people like Anne Coulter up, while the Right want to control reproductive rights. It’s all the same. The problem is both sides. It’s about power and control – removing from society what you disagree with. Totalitarians on the Left and the Right are tearing our society apart. We’ve all bought the idea that the other side of the political spectrum is the enemy. We’re not enemies. It’s the politicians, the people who have manipulated us into blaming others for society’s ills, that are to blame. We’ve allowed Ottawa to convince us that we’re so different from each other. If you’re on the right, you don’t care about poor people; if you’re on the left, you don’t value freedom. This has to end. People like Ann Coulter and Glenn Beck and conversely Keith Olbermann and Chris Matthews aren’t the enemy – the politicians are.

    We talk about a separation of church and state, but in essence, a government that takes away a person’s rights on the basis of morality is blurring those lines, whether they’re “religious” or not. Whether it’s about social or economic justice or gay rights, the government has a way of telling us what is and isn’t right and it’s about time they stopped treating us like children and started serving us. What’s the difference? The separation of church and state was a concept people came up with years ago, and never envisioned that the Left would use the same tactics as the right. Both sides make power and control a “moral” issue, insisting they have to regulate it for some moral, ethical or public “good.”

    The problem with freedom is that it requires people to take responsibility for their own lives. It’s so much easier to sit back and let someone else take care of it. We all need to participate out of personal, not forced, responsibility. We have to educate ourselves and know what is going on.

    Instead, every election you’re asked by a politician to support them in defending rights you hold sacred at the expense of someone else’s. In order to achieve that, the politician must convince you to hate the other side, or that other people’s rights aren’t important, and most of all that the other side is evil. They’re the enemy. I don’t care whether you voted for Stephen Harper or Jack Layton. We all have one thing in common – we’re being used. I don’t consider fellow Canadians my enemy, no matter what their views are. Ann Coulter is no more my enemy than Strombo or Keith Olbermann. We all have our opinions and we have a personal responsibility to treat those around us with honour and respect.

  11. “it was a triumph for thuggery over scholarship.”

    Of course free speech should rule, but so should good sense. By what contortions of the English language do her opinions get to be referred to as “scholarship?” She selects only the facts that support her position (whether they exist or not) and says whatever makes the most lucrative sound bite. She’s a master demagogue, the very antithesis of a scholar.

  12. Ironically, the showdown at the University of Ottawa was actually a triumph of free speech: for once, the voices of empowered students succeeded in reclaiming some of the limelight from the scheduled speaker. Taken by surprise, she apparently then chose to cancel her appearance. Those in the press alluding to censorship are painting themselves as victims to top-down censorship or ban, when none ocurred (the vice-dead’s letter notwithstanding). On the contrary, the agent for change was bottom-up, grass-roots action, the likes of which the Internet has helped empower, that stood up to Coulter’s offensive rhetoric.

  13. …the point being that freedom of expression does not imply the freedom to not be drowned out by a crowd of people that are also expressing their freedom of expression. if it does, you’re merely contradicting yourself.

  14. Ann will speak this evening in calgary and there wont be any disruptions as calgary has way more class than the white collars do in ottawa,,,,,,march 24th 2010 loss of freedom of speech in canada
    mr houle will get what he has coming to him !!

    vive Ann Coulter……..thanks to you thugs at the ottawa university that disrupted the speaking engagment

  15. I agree that this woman deserved to say what she had to say, then let the students grill her on her skewed beliefs.

    I understand why Alberta welcomed her with open arms… because Alberta is a little usa in Canada.

  16. I’m proud to be Canadian and I love FREE speech.

    Kudos to Ottawa University students for preventing HATE speech!

  17. I guess I should elaborate by “little usa” I mean Albertans are more like Americans than Canadians.

  18. The headline should be “Canadian media gets duped again”
    If anything the students of U of Ottawa didn’t get to express their opinion. Lets check the “real” facts from the start. First a letter was sent to ask Coulter to be aware that canadian laws on hate are different by the provost at the U of Ottawa. The letter gets leaked. I wonder by who? Coulter then claims censorship and human rights violations. Really! But the media runs with it! Sensationalism? I think so! Then the media goes to Western university and videos Coulters degrading a 17 year old girl by telling her to “ride a camel”. Then the media runs it on TV all day from coast to coast. So guess what? the students aren’t happy nor should they be! Isn’t that what university kids are supposed to be? “idealistic” But hold it what really happened at the university? The Ottawa police unequivocally say they didn’t close it down. They also are on the record saying it wasn’t dangerous. Coulter and Levant claim they did. So who are we to believe. The media narcisstic Coulter group or the Ottawa police? Doesn’t seem like a difficult decision. We also now know that Coulters organizers ( The Clare Booth Luce Society -a conservative womens group, and the International Free Press Society who purport there is a world wide Islamic conspiracy-no agenda there) stopped most students from entering the auditorium if they aren’t Coulter supporters. So much for the students getting to express their point of view. If there was any unrest it was the because the students were being refused entrance. Then I watch a video on CPAC of an almost empty auditorium with organizers accusing several students of inciting. The kids are looking at the organizers shugging their shoulders with their arms open saying we didn’t say or do anything. I think it’s a travesty that the media are scapegoating these kids. They were completly set up by Coulter and her crew and a media that got played like a fiddle.

  19. For DANO,
    You are showing your lack of intelligence here. Slandering Francois Houle just puts you in the same category as Ms. Coulter — spewing off ignorant insults only makes YOU look bad. But go ahead, “freedom of speech” protects you. Ask any kindergarten teacher, however, if free speech includes hurling invectives at the people who annoy you just ’cause that’s what you think. Grow up.

  20. Unfortunately, a naive university official and a couple hundred students with little experience in the nuances of public relations have allowed themselves to be used by this publicity seeking vitriolic loudmouth with nothing sensible to say to, or about, Canada. Ezra Levant’s personal crusade to remake our free-speech provisions in the American model has scored another PR victory. Ann Coulter’s ‘schtick’ belongs in the same group as Howard Stern — foul mouthed, bigoted, gutter talk. And in a modern multicultural increasingly global culture her hateful remarks about Muslims, gays, liberals, immigrants, etc, are the equivalent of shouting ‘fire’ in the proverbial theatre — reckless, if not negligent. Frankly, if our U.S. friends want to continue being the only major ‘western’ nation that still lacks any civilized restriction on what hateful things people are allowed to say about their neighbours, that’s there problem. Levant and the other ‘free speech’ campaigners here will hopefully grow up some day and realize that yes, ‘free speech’ really is more complicated than encouraging the likes of Ann Coulter to spout off at will.

  21. Free speech aside, why would this woman come to Canada. She hates us and we hate her!

  22. i find it pretty funny that people are actually defending this person, who has a LONG history of making hateful, racist, and derogatory remarks towards everyone around her.

    do you also defend the remark she made to the female Muslim student about taking a “camel”?

    maybe we should encourage (and pay, since Ann is a paid speaker) for Neo-Nazi’s to tour Canadian universities, and have them talk about the Jew problem in our society today? we could even make it easy for them and let them read one of Adolf’s speeches and pass it as their own.

    after all, it’s FREE speech you’re supporting, and not hate speech?

  23. Funnily enough, all of those newspapers mentioned are owned by the same company (Canwest), you would think that has its own political ideologies it promotes in its newsrooms. This would be better if it actually looked at some other news organizations. In my opinion (derived from Mill’s own writings, “On Liberty”) freedom of speech should be halted when it damages someone else’s liberties. Coulter often says outlandish and hurtful things, things that no reasonable human being would believe. While she has the freedom to express her opinions, by law they actually have to be legitimate opinions a logical person would hold and opinions that don’t abuse other people’s essential human rights. If I were the AG, she would be locked up in a cell, just for fun.

  24. “Ann Coulter: Canadian free speech hero”

    Do you write comedy? You should, I was laughing before i even read the article.

  25. It wasn’t a very good test case. Coulter is a one-trick pony, goading people into anger by bending the facts to suit her outrageous conclusions. Those that agree with her opinion gloss over the fact that her “facts” are generally made up, and those that disagree are so infuriated that she makes no attempt at journalistic integrity that they ignore her underlying points in their fury. Why not bring in someone who has something valuable to contribute, and not just empty controversy?

    Just a thought.

  26. Free hate speech heroine to the unpleasant of the United States, you mean. And, you do understand, don’t you, that is was the free speech of the students that lead this mean-mouthed creature to shut herself down. She’s playing the media and they are buying it. How absolutely pathetic our calibre of journalism has fallen in this country. This creature was a guest in our country (our HOME) after denigrating it and threatening it in some of her previous ignorant rants – that’s her schtick – don’t you people get it?

  27. Ken Whyte, Colby Cosh, Ezra Levant: all alumni of Alberta Report. Just sayin’.

  28. Interesting article, but it sort of misses the point that the talk wasn’t cancelled because of protesters, it was cancelled as a publicity stunt to get the media all worked up over something that isn’t really a news story. If it had been cancelled due to preceived threats of violence, that would be a story. What actually happened was that she was allowed to speak freely at the university and students were freely allowed to peacefully protest. So everyone was given complete freedom of speech in this case and someone thought they could work the media over by choosing not to speak. Where exactly is the controversy in that? The only story here is how poorly the media has covered it.

  29. It’s a shame that the U of Ottawa played into Coulter’s worn-out (and financially rewarding) schtick of posing as a martyr of “political corrctness”. But the good news is that the ugliness of her rhetoric was unmasked to a new audience that had probably never heard of her before.

  30. “John” tries to dupe the media, more like it:

    *If anything the students of U of Ottawa didn’t get to express their opinion.*

    Oh, they got their chance alright; everyone heard them, and no one was able to hear Anne Coulter. Censorship by the mob – the news media got the story right.

    *Lets check the “real” facts from the start. First a letter was sent to ask Coulter to be aware that canadian laws on hate are different by the provost at the U of Ottawa. The letter gets leaked. I wonder by who?*

    You are right to put `real’ in quotation marks, there John, bec. your `facts’ are about as real as the aliens in avatar.

    As for who leaked the letter? Who cares? The letter, a clumsy attempt at prior-restraint, shouldn’t have been sent in the first place.

    *Coulter then claims censorship and human rights violations. Really! But the media runs with it! Sensationalism? I think so!*

    No sensationalism. yes, she `really’ (that’s really really, not `really’) censored by the mob.

    *Then the media goes to Western university and videos Coulters degrading a 17 year old girl by telling her to “ride a camel”. Then the media runs it on TV all day from coast to coast.*

    I guess `John’ just admitted how brainwashed he is by TV. did the news run what the `seventeen-year-old’ (as if that’s any relevance to anything) said to coulter? I can bet it wasn’t `Welcome, I love you…’

    *So guess what? the students aren’t happy nor should they be! Isn’t that what university kids are supposed to be? “idealistic” But hold it what really happened at the university?*

    No, kids are supposed to go to university to… you know, learn things. Part of that is to listen to what others have to say. They singularly failed themselves and their institution by behaving like a bunch of Brownshirts.

    *The Ottawa police unequivocally say they didn’t close it down. They also are on the record saying it wasn’t dangerous. Coulter and Levant claim they did. So who are we to believe. The media narcisstic Coulter group or the Ottawa police? Doesn’t seem like a difficult decision.*

    Just remember this, John, that you have taken the police at their word the next time you’re tempted to yell `racist, fascist’ toward police when they do something you don’t agree with…

    *We also now know that Coulters organizers ( The Clare Booth Luce Society -a conservative womens group, and the International Free Press Society who purport there is a world wide Islamic conspiracy-no agenda there) stopped most students from entering the auditorium if they aren’t Coulter supporters. So much for the students getting to express their point of view. If there was any unrest it was the because the students were being refused entrance. Then I watch a video on CPAC of an almost empty auditorium with organizers accusing several students of inciting. The kids are looking at the organizers shugging their shoulders with their arms open saying we didn’t say or do anything. I think it’s a travesty that the media are scapegoating these kids. They were completly set up by Coulter and her crew and a media that got played like a fiddle.*

    WE’ve seen this movie before – many many times. `Audience’ members get into an event, take all the seats, and then scream over the invited speaker, thereby censoring him or her.

    No wonder the organizers shut the speech down in the face of Brownshirts like you.

  31. Unfortunately Ottawa University has developed a Teaching and Student Base that does not believe in the Canadian Judeo-Christian Franco-English Ideals that our Country was founded on.
    I find it refreshing to see that Ann Coulters visit to Ottawa has pointed this out.
    We can only hope that Allan Rock’s eyes have been opened to this and that he will endeavour to correct this horrendous problem that goes completely against our Canadian Basic Rights as set out by our Founding Fathers.

  32. I am an american and from the comments they are negative to ann coulter. I hope she got what’s coming to her. She breeds hatred. That is what makes her $$$. I hope Canada shuts her down. I wish my country could see the light.

    With all that’s going down hear, I would like some common sense in Canada. My son has always wanted to move to Canada, from what I read, I understand why. I just need to get by the cold and if you want another American.

  33. @ A.M.

    *I’m proud to be Canadian and I love FREE speech. Kudos to Ottawa University students for preventing HATE speech!*

    No, you don’t love free speech. You love your own speech, and those who agree with you. Those whom you disagree with, you summarily label as `hate’ speech.

    You’re thereby a thug.

  34. Sorry, Common sense from Canada.

  35. *i find it pretty funny that people are actually defending this person, who has a LONG history of making hateful, racist, and derogatory remarks towards everyone around her.*

    and if you believed that she was guilty of `hate’ speech, you could have petitioned the fed govt to prevent her from coming here.

    But, you have no evidence, and so you just acted like the Brownshirt you are and shut down her speech – or you applaud those who do. Same difference.

    *do you also defend the remark she made to the female Muslim student about taking a “camel”?*

    I wonder what the `student’ said to her in turn?

    *maybe we should encourage (and pay, since Ann is a paid speaker) for Neo-Nazi’s to tour Canadian universities, and have them talk about the Jew problem in our society today? we could even make it easy for them and let them read one of Adolf’s speeches and pass it as their own.*

    They’re already here: they’re called Islamists and the campus left is eager to suck up to them at every opportunity.

  36. The author of this article must be a close friend of fellow Maclean writer MARK STEYN who sits on the board of the anti-Muslim group that brought this tarty piece of pollution into our country.

  37. AC from the States – it’s mild in Vancouver – just like Seattle.

  38. *I guess I should elaborate by “little usa” I mean Albertans are more like Americans than Canadians.*

    Sorry, isn’t that Michael `we Americans’ Ignatieff?

  39. I am confused – this is basically a non-story being drummed up and and up and up by the media. What’s worse, most writers seem unaware that the woman cancelled her own show. Censorship wasn’t involved.

    So… people disagree with her ridiculous statements, and come out in numbers to express an opposing viewpoint. Seems that’s the beginning and end of the story to me.

  40. I would love to live in VANCOUVER!! I don’t think my clients would pay me living in another country. I could try.

  41. It was as much the right of students to have their free speech heard, saying clearly that HATE will not be tolerated. You can’t have it both ways. Let`s not forget it was Coulter who stepped away from this; she just used the excuse that she was afraid for her safety to gain public opinion; it was a ploy once she knew she would not have her say to an accepting crowd. And shame on you McLean`s for your ridiculous headline `hero`…seriously? I`m canceling my subscription…there`s my free speech!

  42. “They’re already here: they’re called Islamists and the campus left is eager to suck up to them at every opportunity”.
    ____________________

    No, they’re called radical “rapturist’ evangelicals and they are eager to shut down any educational institution which differs from their unscientific, creationist fairytales. Yet again, another import from the US – next it will be “jesus camps” such as they have in the States, to indoctrinate young minds into being unthinking Stepford slaves. Child abuse, really.

  43. Ann Coulter has nothing enlightening to say and she’s not interested in debate either. She paints all liberals with one broad brush stroke and let’s not even get into her hateful comments about gays, Muslims, blacks, and on and on. She is a bigot and a professional provocateur. I’m not sure why any Canadian conservative would want her on their “team.” Surely they can find better representatives for their cause.

  44. PLUS, I would have to be embarrassed about Washington. Do Canadians frown on Americans? Probably only in Quebec. That’s a joke

  45. Sorry to all Canadian’s who are subjected to articles like this across the country…calling her a hero?. Seems like only ill advised media are the ones supporting her, along with the racists and neo-nazies.

  46. Sadly, another loss for freedom of speech in Canada and a blow to the reputation of my alma mater.

    While I do not support Coulter’s views I support her right to say them. Being offensive does not constitute hate speech. Unfortunately, there are those on the left that must be so offended that they feel they have a right to shut down her right to free speech.

    I am always wary of people that try to control what you should hear and think and limit critical speech and debate. In my mind this is where the real danger lies.

  47. When on earth did someone stop her from speaking? A bunch of people outside were peacefully expressing their opinion that she’s an idiot, and her and her business partners decided to cancel the event to get the PR. No one shut her down. She chose not to speak.

  48. Ms. Coulter & friends have spent the last year encouraging tea baggers to shut down any meaningful discussion about health care in the US. She’s just illustrated that what goes around comes around. Any victimization she may feel is of her own making.

  49. So is this what the famous Canadian “tolerance” looks like? Is this what the Canadian celebration of “diversity” is all about? Perhaps if Ann wore a turban she would have been more acceptable. Diversity in Canada seems to be all about appearance and not about ideas. You can look black, brown, yellow, etc., but G-d forbid you should have ideas contrary to what is approved by the acceptable majority. Canadians are the most people nation in the world… SHAME!!!

  50. Congrats, Canadian newspapers and news magazines, for turning this into a “free speech” issue when Coulter herself was responsible for canceling the event. There was no attempt to silence Coulter, neither from the University of Ottawa or from the government. Some students showed up and reacted angrily, exercising their own rights to free speech.

    Freedom of speech does not free you from the consequences of what you say. We have no responsibility to support Ann Coulter when she makes racist, hateful comments. I didn’t hear these arguments form the Canadian press when holocaust denier Ernst Zundel’s freedom of speech was being challenged. Coulter has stated that Muslims shouldn’t be allowed on planes, and should instead take magic carpets or camels. That is explicitly suggesting systematic discrimination against an identifiable group, while throwing in insults for good measure. Free speech does not mean I need to have your back when all the people you slandered and deliberately pissed off “just because” catch up with you. It means the cops show up if things get out of hand.

    Maclean’s is at best playing into Coulter’s hands and at worst complicit in her efforts to profit from controversy.

  51. There are elements within the Conservative party who want to run the next election on a human rights agenda. It wouldn’t suprise me if this was an opening shot on that front.

  52. I find that unlikely, Barrett–it would raise a lot of uncomfortable questions about their treatment of prisoners in Afghanistan.

  53. Heh. Yeah, they’re a little bit mired in that. But that’s overseas, and it touches on the honour of our troops. My impression is that they want to start out with the hate laws, and then move into the hot-button realms of gender, race and sexual orientation.

  54. dkfghlfhjfla on 25 March 2010: wrote”..freedom of expression does not imply the freedom to not be drowned out by a crowd of people that are also expressing their freedom of expression..”

    It does. It’s like in kindergarten. You must take turns. You can’t shout the other guy down without interfering with his free-speech rights. Freedom of expression imposes a duty on the audience to listen. If you attend you must let her speak her piece, or leave and protest outside.

  55. The issue is not Ann Coulter or Ezra Levant or the U of O students. The issue here is: a VP of a Canadian university took it upon himself to censor a guest in our country and attempted to control the “message”. Motives notwithstanding, attempted thought control on a Canadian university campus is extraordinary dangerous.

    Moreover it’s deeply offensive to all who have fought for and are currently fighting for a democratic country where a market place of free ideas can flourish.

    Provost Houle, the decent thing for you to do is resign.

  56. Comment by Kowboy Ken on 25 March 2010: “…You can’t shout the other guy down without interfering with his free-speech rights. Freedom of expression imposes a duty on the audience to listen.”

    There is absolutely no case outside of dictatorships where this is true. There is no law or moral imperative requiring people to speak in turn. Free speech rights are imposed on the state, not the individual. It is not illegal for me to interrupt or tell someone to STFU.

    What you might be implying is that it’s impolite to stand up during a speech and start shouting someone down. I can’t argue with that, and if the organizers felt the need to escort someone from the venue because of their behaviour, they can do so. It’s not a moral or legal issue though.

  57. Gee, in the USA we hear all of it, and let people make up their minds. Apparently Canadians lack the ability to think for themselves and must be guided by their leftist betters. So the level of conformity at your Universities is not quite up to the levels desired? Given the ideological conformity of the canadian academic class I would think the students might want to hear an non traditional opinion, in Canada it may be the only chance they ever get.

  58. Don’t get all sanctimonious there, GI Joe. You certainly don’t “hear all of it” in the USA–you hear significantly less than we do. I’ve seen people escorted off by American cops for wearing a T-shirt with a slogan on it. You have “free speech zones” at left-wing protests, as if everywhere in the US isn’t supposed to be a “free-speech zone”. Your citizens aren’t much better–ever heard of the Tea Baggers? They don’t really “hear all of it and let people make up their minds”, do they?

    I have a suspicion you know a whole lot less about “the academic classes” than you think you do.

  59. @ david

    *No, they’re called radical “rapturist’ evangelicals and they are eager to shut down any educational institution which differs from their unscientific, creationist fairytales. Yet again, another import from the US – next it will be “jesus camps” such as they have in the States, to indoctrinate young minds into being unthinking Stepford slaves. Child abuse, really.*

    And what fantasyworld is it, `David’, that your `rapturist’ evangelicals are threatening the freedom of speech of anyone on any university campus, in the u.s., Canada or anywhere?

    Meanwhile, while you attend to your dreamland `rapturists’, the Islamists are shutting down freedom of speech on campus daily.

  60. *There are elements within the Conservative party who want to run the next election on a human rights agenda. It wouldn’t suprise me if this was an opening shot on that front.*

    Unfortunately, the CPC will not dare to do this – and they should.

    If anything, Jen and all the rest of the `human rights’ racket need to be exposed for the charlatans and anti-liberal zealots that they are.

  61. Who cares?

  62. Pingback: Canada: that pleasantly authoritarian state « The Loyal Opposition

  63. The big question is why any university would invite Coulter to speak to students on campus in the first place. What are they supposed to learn from her? That it’s acceptable and clever to make snide or hateful remarks about people because they belong to a particular religion, or other such reasons?

    Once Ottawa U issued the invitation though, they should have just put up with the consequences and let her speak and let the students boo or cheer depending on whether they like that sort of thing. This way they’ve given her a chance to be a hero in the eyes of the ignorant and the hateful.

  64. Andy, Canadians are well aware of Coulter’s opinions. She’d be welcome at sleazy comedy clubs, on right wing talk shows or at some kind of hate fest, with her stupid remarks about Muslims, etc. Some people think Universities are a place for intelligent debate.

  65. Dumbo writes:

    “vive Ann Coulter……..thanks to you thugs at the ottawa university that disrupted the speaking engagment”

    So people who express their own freedom of speech with ideas contrary to yours are are thugs, and those who express freedom of speech wiht ideas similar to yours are heroes?

    Fact is, Coulter and Levant cancelled themselves. They were too cowardly to face anything but a complacent head-nodding group of sycophants.

  66. Anyone who has the power to make you belive adsurdities, has the power to make you commit injustices – Voltaire.

  67. If you think her affinities are hateful, check out the short film Submission by Ayann Hirsi Ali.

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