Conservative commentator and best-selling author Ann Coulter had to cancel a planned appearance at the University of Ottawa this week, after about 2,000 students crowded the entrance to the venue. Coulter was actually warned that the it would be “physically dangerous” to proceed with the event.
I don’t condone violence as a counter to free speech, but in this scenario I’m proud of our neighbors to the north.
Granted, had anyone actually physically harmed Coulter, I’d be first in line to denounce her attacker and cheer when criminal charges were brought. But a crowd assembling, without making actual threats and certainly without causing injury, is its own form of free speech. I think they made their point quite nicely.
A conservative activist inside the venue, Ezra Levant, blamed the angry crowd on a letter from university academic vice-president Francois Houle, in which he warned Coulter, “Promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges.”
One of the protest organizers, Mike Fancie, made a public statement along the same lines: “What Ann Coulter is practicing is not free speech, it’s hate speech. … She’s targeted the Jews, she’s targeted the Muslims, she’s targeted Canadians, homosexuals, women, almost everybody you could imagine.”
As anyone would be under the circumstances, Ms. Coulter was understandably upset about the situation. In an interview for the Washington Times, she called the university a “bush league” institution and lamented that this had never happened to her before. “I go to the best schools, Harvard, the Ivy League and those kids are too intellectually proud” to treat speakers this way, she said.
Personally, I think she’s a hateful woman and deserves every bit of it.