Freedom of expression

The Canadian Charter hanging over Mike's desk

So last night something unfortunate and unprecedented happened. The University of Ottawa Conservatives invited Ann Coulter to speak at an event they hosted. That might seem unfortunate enough but it gets worse. The event was shutdown due to a security risk posed by a large number of protesters likely of a more left-leaning persuasion (although to be fair pretty much everyone in Canada is to the left of Ann Coulter on the political spectrum).  I can only assume that having the event cancelled was the protesters’ main objective. But they should not consider this a victory. This act of protest only demonstrates a lack of foresight and self-recognition.

Take a read of those Fundamental Freedoms

I know it may seem painful to tolerate Ann Coulter speaking on Canadian soil but imagine how much more painful it would be to have your enlightened and highly progressive event shutdown by a 1000 conservative protesters. In a society in which one of our fundamental rights is freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression – you cannot have it both ways. You cannot demand the right to share your views and ideas, and simultaneously silence someone else. When people suggest that, I can only ask:  “How do you like it when that happens to you?” I can say from personal experience that I HATE it. No one has the right to silence ME. So why do you think you have the right to silence someone else? Furthermore, this outcome has now led to an opportunity for Ann Coulter to claim “victimization” and as a result, her name, views and this incident will receive a much wider circulation in the media than if the event had gone on as planned. People – is this not worse?

I can say with some certainty that if Ann Coulter had spoken at this planned event, she would not be back to Canada any time soon. Within minutes of listening to her ideas, society regresses at least 100 years. No matter your political stripes, we have all enjoyed the benefits of our society’s evolution.

As my brilliant  hubby says with infinite wisdom: “…when Mahmoud Ahmadinejad spoke at Columbia, he looked like a complete fool and fell on his own sword. Support free speech and let [Ann Coulter] fall on hers.”


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