Mar 22 2010

Welcome to Soviet Canuckistan. Watch What You Say

Published by at 7:46 am under Canada,politics

For the record, I’m not a fan of Ann Coulter. My contempt is not based primarily on her politics — I just think she’s an idiot, for saying stuff like this: “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

Context is everything. Ann seems to get off on a big technicality here in that there is no global Christian movement to subvert nations around the world in order to unite a Christian empire that aims to put all subjects under “Christian” law — whatever that would be. The Crusades have been over for centuries and there simply is no modern example of Christian nations going to war to spread their faith by the sword — mostly because outside of the Vatican, there are no countries left that one could identify as Christian. As such, Coulter’s words are pretty much meaningless.

As offensive as she is, she ought to be ignored as anyone would be if they said, “We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Zoroastrianism.” Or Keynesianism. Or collective-agrarianism.

Of course, if you had a speaker at a Canadian university that substituted “Islam” for “Christianity” in that quote, heads would have to roll in the university establishment. There undoubtedly is an active global jihadist movement that is killing people (mostly Muslims) every day. In this case, the quote has contextual meaning. But Coulter’s? Her jibber-jabber quotes are made solely for the purpose of boosting book and ticket sales by pubescent-minded Rush Limbaugh fans.

That said, I’m deeply embarrassed for my country thanks to this sad tale of Soviet-style shenanigans emanating from the University of Ottawa:

“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.

Sincerely,

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
www.uOttawa.ca/vr-etudes-academic

H/T to Blazing Cat Fur

UPDATE: How embarrassing is it for us that we seem to require an American right-wing nutcase to defend Canadian freedom of speech? Good luck with the CHRC complaint, Coulter.

UPPERDATE: The humiliation just doesn’t stop. Canadian thugs stop angry Ann from speaking. Freedom of speech in the True North takes a hit along with our international reputation. Even Warren Kinsella’s embarrassed.

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7 responses so far

7 Responses to “Welcome to Soviet Canuckistan. Watch What You Say”

  1. dmorrison 22 Mar 2010 at 8:41 am

    I’m no fan of Coulter,either, but I’m not afraid of what she has to say. The threat clearly stated in the letter is unacceptable in what is supposed to be a democratic Country, and it DOES sound like something out of the old Soviet Union days.

    Where was Houle during “Israeli Apartheid week”?

  2. OSLon 22 Mar 2010 at 10:15 am

    “The Crusades have been over for centuries and there simply is no modern example of Christian nations going to war to spread their faith by the sword”

    I would not equate the many disperate examples of US military personnel and commanders talking about “crusades” and the need to bring “Christian morality” to non-muslim countries as justification for the Iraq and Afghanistan wars as being a “modern example of Christian nations going to war to spread their faith by the sword”. I would also not equate evangelical gun manufacturers which put New Testamant quotations on the guns they manufacture as a “modern example of Christian nations going to war to spread their faith by the sword”.

    That may be the wish of some of those people, but the wars themselves in Iraq and Afghanistan are not Christian wars.

    However in the Balkans in the 1990s, Christian soldiers put photos of Mother Mary on their gun sights, cut crosses into dead muslims, carried the cross into battle, held prayers and blessings going into battle.

    Now the Balkans are the Balkans. Perhaps different rules apply. Certainly ethnicity had as much to do with the “ethnic cleansing” as religion. But the Western media played the wars up as a fight of the Serbs and Croats against muslims, simplistically ignoring how the Serbs and Croats both wanted to eliminate Islam – famously claiming the aim of killing 1/3, deporting 1/3 and converting 1/3. Religion was certainly a part of it and can’t be ignored as it has.

    One could also tenuously argue that the fights in former Soviet republics are religious fights, especially given the support and pushing of the Russian Orthodox Church for suppression of Muslims and non-Christians. But there is a mix of ethnic and political there as well.

    Which, if you look at the radical Muslims closely, is no less so within the Taliban and Al Quaeda groups, i.e. religious, ethnic and political battles all mixed in. The Al Quaeda terrorist groups are killing far more Muslims than they are non-Muslims.

  3. jnarveyon 22 Mar 2010 at 11:39 am

    Hey OSL. I agree with everything you’ve written here. Your Balkan examples certainly stand out. But it remains true that any President, Prime Minister, CIC or even the director of a respectable NGO, in any country — not just the West, any country — who explicitly called on his nation to, say, wage a Christian crusade to conquer the lands of non-Christians for the greater glory of Jesus Christ, would be swiftly committed to a mental institution.

    There may insignificant numbers of semi-literate people in rural USA or Canada who would look kindly on Coulter’s statement, but there is no broad movement or chance that her words would actually drive anyone to commit violence, much less wage wars across the oceans.

  4. Kurskon 22 Mar 2010 at 11:40 am

    Weren’t the crusades mounted as a reaction to Islamic encroachment/expansionist aims on Christian lands?

  5. Dan Hilbornon 23 Mar 2010 at 6:34 pm

    Advising someone of the law is not ‘hate speech’.

  6. jnarveyon 23 Mar 2010 at 8:04 pm

    Hey Dan. Of course, I agree with you. Coulter’s complaint is a farce.

    That’s said, it’s no more of a farce than the time an HRC judged in favor of an employee of McDonalds who evidently has the human right not to wash their hands. Or the lady who successfully used an HRC to win a judgment against her employer for sexual harassment because other employees happened to be playing heavy metal on their stereo.

    Coulter plans on using the kangaroo court system against itself. Good for her, I say. If we want to have hate speech laws, that’s fine — they just need to be dealt with in a proper court, subject to legal rules, which is something the HRC’s across our nation do not follow.

  7. Brianon 26 Apr 2010 at 3:45 pm

    Coulter’s appearance was cancelled by her handlers, who worked with Ezra Levant to frame it as protesters denying her right to speak. This whole thing was cooked up to bring attention to Coulter, and you, mighty blogger, fell right into that trap and helped them out with your ‘blogger outrage’. No wonder nobody serious thinks bloggers are journalists.

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