Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Ann Coulter Set to Escalate the Free Speech War

Coulter's complaint to be most recent of numerous political stunts in CHRC

As the battle over Canada's Human Rights Commissions has gone on, one of the great tragedies over the matter has been the sheer number of times Canada's human rights commissions have been used to prepetrate political stunts.

The most recent of these stunts is set to be a complaint Ann Coulter has promised to file over the cancellation of her scheduled speech at the University of Ottawa.

“I’m sure the Human Rights Commission will get to the bottom of it,” Coulter announced. “I think I’m the victim of a hate crime here. Either what (Francois Houle) did was a hate crime, or the whole commission is BS.”

Houle, a provost of the University of Ottawa, wrote Coulter a letter recommending that she familiarize herself with the limits of free speech in Canada.

"We, of course, are 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," Houle wrote. "Promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges."

Ezra Levant, who has been accompanying Coulter on her speaking engagements, described the letter as a veiled threat.

University of Ottawa Students' Federation President Sheamus Wolfe has insisted that Coulter isn't welcome on the University of Ottawa campus. That particular veiled threat was made good on, as University of Ottawa officials cancelled the speech in fears that the protest could turn violent.

The venue for Coulter's speech had to be evacuated after a fire alarm was pulled.

The experience must have been frustrating for many of Coulter's admirers. Speeches by left-wing firebrands like Ward Churchill have taken place at many Canadian universities without terminal interruptions. During her Monday night speech at the University of Western Ontario, Coulter complained about a double standard that may facilitate such differences.

"It’s almost like there is one standard for conservatives and one completely different one for liberals," Coulter complained. "A word is either offensive or it’s not. In a world of political correctness, all words are banned unless they’re used against conservatives."

This is, of course, the language of self-imposed martyrdom. Coulter's remarks to a Muslim student at UNO seemed designed to provoke some sort of reaction, and she would up getting what she wanted.

Now, she clearly intends to use Canada's Human Rights Commission as a venue for a political stunt -- one likely not unlike the one Syed Soharwardy perpetrated against Levant, when he withdrew his complaint over Levant's publishing of the infamous Prophet Muhammad cartoons after Levant had spent an exorbitant amount of money defending against the complaint.

At the end of the day, however, Francois Houle and the University of Ottawa have given Coulter what she desires most: publicity, and means by which to elevate herself into martyrdom again.

In the soon-to-be-immortal words of Adrian McNair: way to go, bozos.

Other bloggers writing about this topic:

The Reaction - "Ann Coulter: Liberal"

Russ Campbell - "Ann Coulter: Right-wing Lightning Rod"

Just Right - "Ann Coulter and Free Speech in Canuckistan"

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