Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Ann Coulter in Canada! University of Ottawa speech canceled due to "Security Concerns"

On March 23, 2010, American commentator Ann Coulter was to speak at the University of Ottawa.  Due to security concerns, the event was stopped.

More video of Coulter Speech:   CTV News,  CBC News
The Ottawa Sun reports:

Security concerns cancel Coulter talk

Huge crowd upset after plug pulled on Ottawa U event
Coulter was scheduled to speak before an audience gathered at the University of Ottawa’s Marion Hall Tuesday evening.
Instead, security concerns raised by the university kept the Republican firebrand from speaking.
Organizers pulled the plug on the speaking engagement because there were just too many people — too many of whom were just too rowdy.
“At a university, instead of free speech, censorship,” said Ezra Levant, a Canadian conservative writer, lawyer and blogger who was scheduled to introduce Coulter.
More than 2,000 people tried to get into the event, several times the capacity of the venue.
Hundreds of people pooled into the lobby in an attempt to get into the auditorium. Organizers, who turned away those who didn’t register ahead of time, had allowed about 200 people into the auditorium when the fire alarm was pulled minutes before the talk was set to start.
“Francois Houle got his wish,” Levant said of the University’s provost and vice president. “He telegraphed to the community that University of Ottawa is not a place for free debate.”

In the lead up to today's event, the usual suspects for censorship raised their ugly heads to stifle freedom of speech. 

Mark Steyn writes:

Ah, that famous Canadian hospitality. One François Houle, Provost of the University of Ottawa, writes to warn a forthcoming visitor to the campus, Miss Ann Coulter, that Canadians enjoy only the right to government-regulated "free speech" and that therefore she may be liable to criminal prosecution:

Dear Ms. Coulter,
I understand that you have been invited by University of Ottawa Campus Conservatives to speak at the University of Ottawa this coming Tuesday. We are, of course, always delighted to welcome speakers on our campus and hope that they will contribute positively to the meaningful exchange of ideas that is the hallmark of a great university campus. We have a great respect for freedom of expression in Canada, as well as on our campus, and view it as a fundamental freedom, as recognized by our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I would, however, like to inform you, or perhaps remind you, that 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. You will realize that Canadian law puts reasonable limits on the freedom of expression. For example, promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges. Outside of the criminal realm, Canadian defamation laws also limit freedom of expression and may differ somewhat from those to which you are accustomed. I therefore ask you, while you are a guest on our campus, to weigh your words with respect and civility in mind. There is a strong tradition in Canada, including at this University, of restraint, respect and consideration in expressing even provocative and controversial opinions and urge you to respect that Canadian tradition while on our campus. Hopefully, you will understand and agree that what may, at first glance, seem like unnecessary restrictions to freedom of expression do, in fact, lead not only to a more civilized discussion, but to a more meaningful, reasoned and intelligent one as well.
I hope you will enjoy your stay in our beautiful country, city and campus.
François Houle
Vice-recteur aux études / Vice-President Academic and Provost
Université d’Ottawa / University of Ottawa
550, rue Cumberland Street
Ottawa (ON) K1N 6N5
téléphone / telephone : 613 562-5737
télécopieur / fax : 613 562-5103

What a sad and embarrassing letter, even by the standards of the Canadian academy. Does M Houle write to all University of Ottawa speakers like this? Or does he reserve his telekinetic powers to detect "pre-crime" only for the ideologically suspect?