Mitchel Raphael on the never-been-pied Ezra Levant and a senator’s pillow campaign -

Mitchel Raphael on the never-been-pied Ezra Levant and a senator’s pillow campaign

Capital Diary

What were the organizers of the Ann Coulter event thinking?

Mitchel Raphael on the never-been-pied Ezra levant and a senator’s pillow campaign

Photographs by Mitchel Raphael

The cancellation of controversial conservative commentator Ann Coulter’s Ottawa talk seemed to Capital Diary to be due less to protesters and more to incompetent organizers. Those in charge of the event kept allowing people into the foyer of the lecture hall until occupants were in danger of being crushed. The two sets of doors that opened into that foyer became difficult to open with all the bodies pushing through, creating a serious safety hazard. (At one point the fire alarm was pulled.) Ottawa police officers, who are certainly used to dealing with large crowds, seasoned protesters and dignitaries (like Barack Obama) rolling through town, were on hand but decided to allow the crowd to grow as more and more people from the long line outside pushed in. Ten minutes before the event was to start, two organizers started to slowly check off names from an email list and let people in. It soon became obvious many of the hundreds of people in line who had been waiting for hours would not get in, yet organizers chose not to inform them, fuelling anger in the crowd. “Will we even get in?” people started shouting. Fifteen to 20 minutes after the first people had been let in, entry to the hall was stopped (even though lots of VIPs continued to get in through side doors). Around 8 p.m., with the hall about half full, the event was cancelled. Coulter was to have been introduced by Ezra Levant, who has had his own freedom of speech battles after he published the infamous Danish cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in the Western Standard. But Levant notes that, compared to him, Coulter is in the big leagues when it comes to free speech. “She’s been pied,” he said. “When you look at who has been pied, it’s really big shots—premiers like Ralph Klein, Gail Shea, the fisheries minister.” Could Levant have a case of pie envy? “When you’ve been pied,” he said, “you know you’ve reached a certain level.” Hoping to catch Coulter speak was her former editor. Doug Pepper, now president and publisher of McClelland & Stewart in Toronto, used to edit Coulter when he was working in New York. He happened to have business that day in Ottawa. “She took editing very well,” noted Pepper, who along with Levant ended up meeting Coulter for a bite to eat at the Fairmont Château Laurier where she was staying.

Harper’s house just happens to be in his jurisdiction

Mitchel Raphael on the never-been-pied Ezra levant and a senator’s pillow campaign

Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

The Canadian Association of Fire Chiefs recently visited Ottawa. The association’s president, Bruce Burrell, says one of the top issues his group is lobbying for is a tax credit for volunteer firefighters. But the politicians “are not listening,” he said. Burrell is also Calgary’s fire chief. Stephen Harper’s home is in his jurisdiction.

The MP who has a beef with South Korea

Mitchel Raphael on the never-been-pied Ezra levant and a senator’s pillow campaign

Photograph by Mitchel Raphael (Left) and iStock (Right)

The Canadian Cattlemen’s Association herded onto the Hill and held a big beef reception in 200 West Block. Liberal MP Mark Eyking says one of the issues he wants to have resolved for the group is trade barriers with South Korea. He suggested putting a few Canadian cows on the front lawn of the South Korean ambassador’s home. Noted the Cape Breton MP, “It worked when the Brazilians did it to us.”

Pillow Thieves?

Mitchel Raphael on the never-been-pied Ezra levant and a senator’s pillow campaign

Photograph by Mitchel Raphael

For five years, Tory Sen. Nancy Ruth has been asking for throw pillows for the deep couches by the entrance to the Senate. And now they’ve arrived. But the new ones “are not that comfortable,” the senator said. Why the long delay? Ruth says she was told for years that if pillows were put on the couches, “they’d get stolen.” To which she replied, “What? Right in front of security?”


Mitchel Raphael on the never-been-pied Ezra Levant and a senator’s pillow campaign

  1. If it makes Levant feel any better, that photo of him and Coulter makes me want to head to the kitchen and bake couple of pies right now.

  2. Sen. Ruth – comfort? Ah, you're supposed to be working. You cost us a lot of money afterall.

    • I believe the couches are meant primarily for visitors, not the Senators themselves.

  3. So, given that Levant was referring to talk on facebook about pieing Coulter as a threat of violence, does that mean Levant wants somebody to get violent with him?

    Hm. Might explain some things.

  4. Can you believe the Senator has been asking for taxpayer-paid throw pillows for FIVE years?

    Let me put this in perspective for you, Senator. I've been asking for a couch for nineteen years, but since the only taxpayer where I work is my boss, the answer has always been "no" (even though he just now said he'd like one). So why not plunk down your own money, and pick out the pillows yourself? You can take them with you when you go.

  5. Levant looks a lot like the main character in Big Bang Theory (the one who has a crush on his blonde neighbour).

  6. In that picture, Levant reminds me of Truman Capote

  7. Ezra (pie me) Levant, what a great sense of humor!
    As for the organizers being at fault, Ezra could have charged more, held it at a larger venue, hired more security and made WAY more money. By keeping the price low and holding the event in what is supposed to be a public space, he clearly demonstrated more faith in the civility and decorum of the Ottawa students and citizens than was warranted.

    • Or just held it at a larger venue without charging more since you can then, you know, get more people in.

      But that wouldn't have given him the chance to insult Ottawa as well, now would it?

      • I can't speak for Ezra, but let's examine your point.
        Ann Coulter probably could have filled a much, much larger venue as you suggest. For her next visit, I imagine a 2,000 seat auditorium will be needed.__As for 'insulting Ottawa', I don't understand exactly what you mean. No one set out to insult the citizens of Ottawa, or the students and faculty of the U of O.
        I thought quite the contrary, holding the lecture at the University would give the students 'home ice advantage', offering them a chance to walk over and attend en masse. The actions of a small group of protesters rendered the venue unusable, as surely as if they had set fire to the place.

        • So make up your mind.. was the event attended by too many people who wanted to hear her, or too many protesters?

          • Sorry Thwim, was I being obtuse? I wasn't there, but from the reports I heard, more unregistered attendees showed up than the venue could hold. The organizers were a little overwhelmed, and the foyer became crowded with folks wanting to get in, but that wasn't the cause of the disruption. Protesters who couldn't tolerate any opposing views, who threatened on social media sights to disrupt the event, eventually caused the police to deem the lecture 'unsafe' for the participants. If you were there, and disagree with this assessment, then say so.

          • You heard wrong then.
            Try reading the story above.

          • OK, then we disagree on that point. Let's move on. How was Ottawa insulted? Do you believe the protesters crossed the line, pulling the fire alarm and threatening violence? C'mon Thwim, bring it!
            I read Kady's article, and her updates, it seems pretty accurate, and fair, and consistent with the information I've gleaned from other sources. How do you interpret the event, if you were even there . ….
            What I'd really like to hear is your opinion. Does free speech end when you disagree with the message?

  8. Levant looks like Newman on Seinfeld.

  9. Coutler was never pied. Shw was almost pied, but managed to miss it by clomping off the stage like Clydesdale when the beastly entartiste rushed at her.

  10. Insulting? Sure, but if you can't stand the heat of vigorous public discourse, why on earth did you stand up to the microphone? For that matter, why are you going to University? Or does having a 'safe place to learn' mean never having to hear an opposing viewpoint? Ann Coulter's visit to Ottawa may have resulted in some being exposed to 'hatred and contempt', but clearly it wasn't Ann or the organizers who insulted anyone in Ottawa, rather it was the other way around.

  11. One would think that the U of O students who disagreed with Ms. Coulter's position would want to attend, hear her predicted 'vile hate speech' and then take an opportunity to skewer her with their well phrased rebuttals during the Q & A session that followed. After all, here she was, the pre-eminent 'right wing harpy', right in their sights!
    Alas, it was not to be. Frankly, if the questions posed by many of the child scholars who attended the Calgary lecture, it's just as well. Rather than focus on current issues, they were unable to expand their thinking beyond out-of-context comments she had made 10 years ago, prompting her to laugh as they regurgitated what she called her 'Top Ten Misquotes'. Many even launched into monologues, holding their carefully crafted paragraphs written on 3×5 cards, eliciting jeers from the audience until Ann said, "If you want to make a speech, book a room, like I did. If you don't have a question, sit down!" Hilarious!

  12. who are the two crazy people in the top photo?