Let me make one point very clear at the outset. I detest Ann Coulter. She is a hateful person, a shrill harridan, and generally a waste of perfectly good skin. But it’s undeniable that she has a following.
As part of a Canada-wide speaking tour, Coulter will be stopping at Ottawa U. to “talk about political correctness, media bias and freedom of speech”.
This tour is certainly not because she has a deep and abiding love for Canada. Here’s some of what she had to say about Canada back in 2004.
“When you're allowed to exist on the same continent of the United States of America, protecting you with a nuclear shield around you, you're polite and you support us when we've been attacked on our own soil. They [Canada] violated that protocol.
They better hope the United States doesn't roll over one night and crush them. They are lucky we allow them to exist on the same continent."
So it has to be the money – and you know what they say about people who do it for money….
Anyway, the point of this is that, as predictable as rain in April, the Student Federation of the University of Ottawa has got its knickers in a knot over her visit. They have denied the organizers permission to put up posters announcing the talk and are now trying to have her blocked from speaking on campus.
Not only is that wrong, it’s also a mistake. People like Ann Coulter should be given a soapbox. It’s only when she opens her mouth that we can see the hatred, ugliness and intolerance that guide her life and the lives of her followers. And that helps us understand the scope of the challenge we still face in trying to develop a progressive, tolerant, caring society, and further encourages us all to redouble our efforts to marginalize the Ann Coulters of the world.
Voltaire had it right: “I may not agree with what you say but I'll fight to the death to defend your right to say it”.
Let her speak.