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Is Ann Coulter the Face of Hate?

BY Danielle Bean

| Posted 3/26/10 at 9:00 AM

 

Due to angry protests and threats of violence, Ann Coulter’s scheduled speech at University of Ottawa was cancelled earlier this week.

“A spokesman for the organizers said Coulter was advised against appearing after about 2,000 ‘threatening’ students crowded the entrance to Marion Hall, posing a security threat. ‘It would be physically dangerous for Ann Coulter to proceed with this event,’ said conservative political activist Ezra Levant inside the hall. ‘This is an embarrassing day for the University of Ottawa and their student body ... who chose to silence her through threats and intimidation.’”

Before the event was cancelled, Coulter received a much-publicized “warning letter” from the University’s provost, Francois Houle, in which he advised her of Canada’s laws against hate speech and cautioned her not to say anything that might be prosecutable.

Not surprisingly, Coulter took public offense:

“‘Now that the provost has instructed me on the criminal speech laws he apparently believes I have a proclivity (to break), despite knowing nothing about my speech, I see that he is guilty of promoting hatred against an identifiable group: conservatives,’ Coulter wrote in an e-mail on Monday.”

The university’s student body responded with more anger still, and ultimately their protests escalated to a point where it was determined that the best option was the cancel Coulter’s speech.

The only surprising thing here is that Coulter was ever invited to speak at the University of Ottawa in the first place.

Ann Coulter makes people uncomfortable. Including me. Though we share similar opinions on many important issues, I don’t like the way she expresses them.

How do we define “hate speech”? Are Ann Coulter’s words “hate”? Prosecutable “hate”?

This story is truly an embarrassment for Canadians who hold “hate speech” laws dear because it reveals them for what they truly are—a convenient way to criminalize words and silence those who disagree with you.

Ann Coulter has a right to make people uncomfortable. I may not care for her style, but I thank God that I live in a country where she is free to offend.