Canadians are now able to bear witness to the typical political spectacle normally reserved for our American friends.
If you haven’t heard by now, American conservative ‘pundit’ Ann Coulter has been on a speaking tour in Canada and she ran into some opposition at the University of Ottawa.
Coulter is known for pushing the limits of free speech and, ironically, is claiming she may file a human rights complaint after a letter from a University of Ottawa provost Francis Houle reminding Coulter about Canada’s laws on hate speech.
This came after her speech at the University of Ontario where Coulter told one Muslim student who questioned her about past remarks about Muslims that if they didn’t like being denied a flight they could “ride a camel” or a magic carpet.
The whole thing feels like it’s been scripted. Coincidentally, Ezra Lavant, not one to shy away from confrontation or attacking human rights commissions, was present for the festivities as master of ceremonies. How apropos. (I read this after I wrote this blog post. I think Neil MacDonald did a great job and it really reinforces the thought I had that this whole thing seems scripted. It’s not the first time Ezra ‘Chicken Little’ Lavant’s been up to this.)
I’m all for free speech, and think that people should be able to push things a little further than maybe our human rights commissions may be comfortable with. Coulter is well aware of the reactions to the kinds of things she says. She’s trying to evoke that reaction in audiences.
Of course Coulter’s friends and fans are trying to frame the issue as a violent riot and that Coulter was scared (kind of like Democrats have been threatened in the US). One random, unverified comment on the Small Dead Animals blog apparently about huge Egyptian student union/club member overturning a table gets turned into ‘they were throwing tables.’
Somehow the pulling of a fire alarm is equated to yelling ‘fire’ in a crowded theatre. Well, it’s a theatre alright; the theatre of the absurd
Coulter’s fans are also trying to frame her opponents as being opposed to free speech, ironically while exercising their own right to free speech.
The absurd theatre will continue at the University of Calgary but, now that she’s really whipped everyone into a frenzy about the apparent lack of free speech in Canada and crazed left-wing mobs, comes the real reason for her visit. I heard it from one source that she has a semi-trailer full of Obama Joker t-shirts and she’ll be selling them at her speech in Calgary.
She’s got so much attention here now that everyone will want a memento from her speech. Well, it’s either that or she is trying to get some free healthcare while she’s here in Canada, sort of like Rush Limbaugh did when he was in Hawaii. Oh, wait, no. Apparently everyone can get healthcare in the U.S. now. Forget it.
What Ann Coulter has done with her bit of performance art is to remind us that Canada is not at all like the USA in its political discourse. Thank you Ann.