Thursday, March 25, 2010

"...a wretched embarrassment to a once free society"

As would be expected, Mark Steyn had a sharp reaction to Ann Coulter's treatment in his native country (see my post yesterday). Here is his commentary on NRO in its entirety.

A couple of days ago, I mentioned Fran├žois Houle, the leftist apparatchik and provost of the University of Ottawa who threatened Ann Coulter with criminal prosecution before she'd even set foot on Canadian soil.

M. Houle warned Miss Coulter not to “promote hatred.” As this young lady points out in her report from the university, the only hate-promoter here is the buffoon Houle, whose barely veiled threats led to a gang of menacing Houligans (le mot juste) getting the event closed down. Alliances between the state’s ideological commissars and street mobs are a familiar feature of certain kinds of societies, and I suppose Canada will soon get used to its membership of this unlovely club. Ann Coulter says of her experience in the Great White North:

This has never, ever, ever happened before — even at the stupidest American university. . . . Since I’ve arrived in Canada, I’ve been denounced on the floor of Parliament — which, by the way, is on my bucket list — my posters have been banned, I’ve been accused of committing a crime in a speech that I have not yet given, I was banned by the student council. So welcome to Canada!

In one of the oldest settled democracies on the planet, freedom of speech flickers very dimly. To recap:

Fran├žois Houle in his letter to Ann Coulter:

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.

Dean Steacy, lead investigator of the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission:

Freedom of speech is an American concept, so I don’t give it any value.

Susan Cole, Canadian “feminist,” defending the mob on Fox News:

We don’t have that same political culture here in (Canada). . . . We don’t have a 1st Amendment, we don’t have a religion of free speech. . . . Students sign off on all kinds of agreements as to how they’ll behave on campus, in order to respect diversity, equity, all of the values that Canadians really care about. Those are the things that drive our political culture. Not freedoms, not rugged individualism, not free speech. It’s different, and for us, it works.

Translated from the original Canadian, “diversity” means “state-mandated mob-enforced conformity.” As for whether “it works” for Canadians, ask Guy Earle. On Monday Mr. Earle, a stand-up comedian of conventionally Trudeaupian views, goes on trial at the British Columbia “Human Rights” Tribunal for putting down two hecklers at his nightclub act. They were, alas for him, of the lesbian persuasion, and so he is now charged with “homophobia.” What a wretched embarrassment to a once free society.

A couple of comments -
Imagine being proud of restrictions on free speech. As always, I feel fortunate to be living in the U.S. and not some regressive Euro-Canadian society.
Houligans - gotta love it.

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