Ezra Levant, who was present at the venue for tonight’s aborted Ann Coulter talk at the University of Ottawa, spotted my quickie weblog entry about the cancelled event and had me chat briefly with the leggy agitator. Coulter tells Maclean’s she never had the chance to move on from a private dinner reception at which she was signing books, meeting local conservatives, and waiting for the all-clear from her bodyguard, who was on the scene at the university. “I was just reviewing my speech. It was a fine little speech, and by the way, I cut it down so we could have an extensive question-and-answer period. I gathered that I was going to have a very exciting crowd tonight.”
The police, Coulter says, “had been warning my bodyguard all day that they were putting up [messages] on Facebook: ‘Bring rocks, bring sticks, you gotta hurt Ann Coulter tonight, don’t let her speak.’ And the cops eventually said, we’ve got a bad feeling, this isn’t gonna happen. And they shut it down.”
Coulter agrees with the suggestion that conservative speakers face greater dangers and nuisances in trying to encounter audiences on university campuses. “I speak at a lot of college campuses and I need a bodyguard… Michael Moore does not; Judy Rebick does not. I think Mahmoud Ahmadinejad could have spoken tonight with less controversy.” She dismisses the possibility, however, that things are ever likely to change. “Unfortunately, conservatives are too polite, so they will never get a taste of their own medicine in that regard, in terms of angry mobs with sticks and rocks.”
She accuses the University of Ottawa’s academic vice-president, Francois Houle, of “inspiring hatred” toward her with his epistolary warning to her that she needed to be conscious of Canada’s criminal prohibitions of hate speech. Indeed, she says she intends, with Levant’s help, to ask police to proceed with exactly the same charges against Houle.
“He described the law to me very carefully—any speech that incites hatred toward someone based on membership in an identifiable group can be criminally prosecuted. Well, before I even set foot in Canada, he had identified me as having criminal proclivities because I belong to an identifiable group: conservatives. Or it could be because I’m a Christian, I’m a Presbyterian. I’m a female conservative. If what Francois Houle did to me is not a hate crime, then nothing is.”
After the event was cancelled by the police, Coulter says she went to her hotel room to relax and had a surreal moment. “I was watching the local news, which was all hockey and Ann Coulter, and some nut came on claiming that he was the organizer behind my speech. [murmurs in background] OK, his name is Craig Chandler. I sent an e-mail to my bodyguard saying Craig Chandler is disinvited from the event in Calgary. He’s on TV claiming to be the organizer and denouncing me!”