Canadians are so polite it’s just amazing. For example, the other day Ann Coulter received a letter from a mind-reading provost at the University of Ottawa warning her to watch her mouth or she might be arrested and thrown in the hoosegow. The interesting part went like this.
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.
Ann Coulter responded with musings about how she would file a Hate Speech complaint, including in a letter to the Ottawa Citizen:
The provost simply believes and is publicizing his belief that conservatives are more likely to commit hate crimes in their speeches. Not only does this promote hatred against conservatives, but it promotes violence against conservatives. [link]
And the sequel to this was extremely amusing, if you are amused by irony. Tonight, according to Drudge, a mob of 2,000 angry, hateful students and members of communist parties, carrying rocks and sticks with which to attack and commit violence upon Ms. Coulter, assembled outside the building in which she was to speak. Some got into the building and pulled a fire alarm, while others shouted hatefully outside the building in protest of Ms. Coulter’s “hate speech.” Blogs called for Coulter to be hurt. Members of Parliament were banned from going, while a Member denounced her on the floor of Parliament. The threats were bloodcurdling enough that the police were persuaded to shut down Coulter’s speech before she was able to give it.
Whose speech stirred up violence and hatred again? Was it Coulter’s or the provost’s?
Technorati Tags: Canada, Ann Coulter, Censorship, Culture War, Education, Political Oppression, Hate Speech