Ann Coulter Gets Exactly What She Wanted in Canada
March 25, 2010
It seems Ann Coulter is lying about the police shutting down her talk at the University of Ottawa, having claimed a near riot threatened her security at the venue. This was reported by Dan Gardner of the Ottawa Citizen , who I am a definite fan of, and then mentioned on Pharyngula . Shame on her. She is indeed a despicable woman with harmful rhetoric that one must decisively confront.
On the other hand, I can't agree - and voiced this loudly on the Michael Coren Show today (on tonight on CTS TV at 6pm EST) - with the message sent by the University administration essentially threatening her with a hate speech violation if she said the wrong thing.
The “accusation” of which Ms. Coulter speaks is a reference to an email she received from University of Ottawa vice-president and provost Francois Houle on Friday, warning her that freedom of speech is defined differently in Canada than in the U.S. and that she should take care not to step over the line.
That email included the following:
Our domestic laws, both provincial and federal, delineate freedom of expression (or "free speech") in a manner that is somewhat different than the approach taken in the United States. I therefore encourage you to educate yourself, if need be, as to what is acceptable in Canada and to do so before your planned visit here.
That is a form of bullying and censorship which ironically helped incite hate against her, for which she is now pursuing a human right violation (I suppose she'll claim conservatives or christians as an identifiable group which should be protected by hate speech law). She claims to have received death threats, and actually I believe it, having attended her talk at the University of Western Ontario. Clearly she'll lose in front of the human rights commission, but when she does it will make a valid point about the hypocrisy with which our hate speech - and free speech - laws are applied. How can they be applied to protect one identifiable group (say those with "muslim ideas") while condemning another (say those with "conservative" ideas) ?
For that matter, so too are our hate crime laws applied inconsistently. Remember two years ago when the police refused to consider the attack against me while postering for an atheist event a hate crime, even if they had caught the assailants. Our hate crime laws differentiate between being attacked for two different epistemological positions, belief and non belief, for no good reason.
In conclusion, my friends on the left in Canada would have done well to have simply ignored Coulter and waited patiently for her to go back home, rather than hand delivering her victory, through administration bullying, unacceptable censorship and quite likely a death threat or two. Don't you imagine she was setting herself up precisely for this, coming to Canada sponsored by a free speech organization , and having her presentations opened by Mr. Free Expression himself, Ezra Levant , who will now be making her human right complaint to the very commission that once tried to crucify him.
I already knew Ann Coulter was abrasive. This week I learned she isn't stupid. We on the left didn't give her a warm reception, but when she crossed our border we gave her exactly what she wanted.