Monday, March 22, 2010

The University of Ottawa to Ann Coulter: Welcome to Canada. Please Leave Your Mouth at Home.

I tripped across this earlier at SteynOnline:

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.


François Houle
Vice-recteur aux études / Vice-President Academic and Provost
Université d’Ottawa / University of Ottawa
Now that this has garnered its own Memeorandum thread, what the heck, I'll throw in my two cents.
I am an Ann Coulter fan.  God bless her, Coulter doesn't have a politically correct bone in her body.  Houle has thrown down the gauntlet and I am willing to bet that Ann will pick it up and slap him silly with it. 
Look, Coulter is going to say whatever she pleases.  The idea that she is expected to check her mouth at the border is ludicris.  That she should be expected to stifle her right to free speech under penalty of law is beyond sad.  I've been to Canada a couple of times and the country has some fine qualities.  Shamefully, freedom can no longer be counted among them.
More at:
The Other McCain
Legal Insurrection
Five Feet of Fury


Anonymous said...

I agree. The students have the right to the learning opportunity that avails them with her appearance: the ability to grasp the concept that (an American) Conservative intellectual can indeed be an oxymoron.

("Ludacris"-is a rap star, is he not? Keep the dictionary handy.)

Carol said...

Thank you for the advice, the error has been fixed. However, neither your critisism of Ms. Coulter or me addresses the subject of the post-the right to free speech. You do recall free speech, don't you? I guess it is one of those things, like decent health care, that Canadians are forced to cross the border to enjoy.

Oops, guess we will have to strike "health care" off the list, won't we?