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Monday, March 22, 2010

Which Came First, The Single Payer or The Censorship?

At first, I thought this was a hoax, so I held off posting. But apparently it is for real, University of Ottawa's letter to Ann Coulter.

I am reprinting it in full, because it is a paradigm of intolerance of opposing conservative viewpoints under the guise of promoting freedom of expression (emphasis mine):

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.


Francois Houle,
Vice-President Academic and Provost,
University of Ottawa

I wonder if this is what Democrats really mean when they say they prefer the "Canadian System"?

If "liberals" are an "identifiable group" under the Canadian criminal code, Ann should plan on bringing enough clothing for a very long stay.

The Other McCain has a round-up of commentary about the letter.

Related Posts:
President Protects Critic's Right To Speak At Town Hall
Speech Police Ban Courage And Confidence
A Place Where Only Liberal Speech Is Protected

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  1. Oh Canada,

    we protect them from threats, their borders with our military so they don't have to spend money on it. Their healthcare is going south. And they lecture us.

    Well, they do have a little French in them.

  2. The single payer came first. in 1968, as a matter of fact. It's why I came here.

    The censorship has only really gained traction after I left. It's why I've stayed here.

    This is where the fight is. It's over up there.

  3. Reason #135235234 I left that place. The Mark Steyn trial, the "hate crime" of wanting Tamil Tiger terror supporters leave Canada and now this. I get plenty of shit from friends and family about being in the States and believing what I believe, but I'm not leaving. I guess its easier to pretend easy street isn't a dead end than turn around.

  4. I think it would be a perfect opportunity for Ann to put her copy of Civil Disobedience to use.

  5. Weenie French-speaking university administrator (sorry for the redundancy there) wrote, "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."

    So is it legal to call you and all weenie bureaucrats like you weenies, weenie? Or if I said that it'd be a real stretch for you all to raise yourselves up to the level of cheese-eating surrender monkeys?

  6. For real?!

    No wonder Canada's goin' down the toilet...

  7. Look the letter sucks but I challenge you to say this is very much different from the treatment Coulter and other controversial figures get in many American universities - they are not exactly beacons of free thought either.

    Before you go lecturing Canada look in a mirror. We at least are run by a Conservative, have our debt in order, are out of recession and are slowly reversing the nanny state (eg. allowing more private health care).

    You on the other hand are going in the opposite direction at a breakneck speed. Your jobs and entrepreneurs are already heading north because of lower taxes and less regulation. And you have almost 3 more years of a socialist president and a state run media.

  8. The Left owns the little brother, Political Correctness. And when Little Brother grows up, it becomes Censorship.

    And the Left owns that, too.

  9. "...Canadian law puts reasonable limits on the freedom of expression."

    Funny how no tyranny ever claims to put unreasonable limits on fundamental rights like freedom of speech.

  10. Our Universities are pretty much similar to Canada's these days in terms of what can and can't be said - with Liberals deciding what's what. Want this to stop? Vote Conservatives into power in November. Donate to them NOW. And BTW, tell them to REPEAL Obamacare.

  11. My wife taught at one of the Ottawa universities until a couple years ago when we left for the US to escape the political monoculture, low living standards, intolerance and, most of all, the abysmal totalitarian health care system in which Canadians have imprisoned and infantilized themselves.

    This U of O letter is par for the course. My wife used to get blanket emails from lunatic colleagues lambasting the US for this or that and encouraging boycotts of international technical symposia.

    By the way, the Univ of Ottawa is the bilingual Ottawa university and so is even more a cesspool of political correctness and Marxism than it's poor sibling, Carleton Univ., is. Like everything else in Canada, if it can foster Francophones it is the beneficiary of a steady stream of gov't largesse.

    Thank you for publishing the letter to Coulter. I can only imagine how she'll skewer them in person. Thank goodness we escaped in time.

  12. Fritz,

    Fine point about the illiberal environment on US campuses. However, as an American who lived in Canada for 7 of the 11 years between '97 and '08 (in Calgary and Ottawa) the rest of your points are a stretch to say the least.

    Canada has a banking system that is a regulated utility. The up side of that is that it's very risk averse. Hence, no ridiculous leveraged bets that are call options on the taxpayer. On the down side, however, there's no competition in the financial sector. Banks treat their customers abusively and the country is closed to any outside (read American) competition that would push down fees and increase product choice.

    Hence, I pay 0.30% in fees on my broad-market indexed investment funds in the US. In Canada the best I could do was 2.5-3.0%. That haircut adds up quickly and, in fact, substnatially outstrips over a lifetime the increased taxes I will pay for my profligate fellow Americans.

    Add in Canada's 20% lower labor productivity, the lack of the US' interstate commerce clause that prevents the sort of interprovincial trade barriers that exist in Canada and push retail prices 30-100% above US levels, the endemic underemployment that the college-educated face, and the dependence on resources to carry the economy. It's not pretty. And it's why, given a choice between emigration to the US or Canada, the US is the destination of choice for immigrants. Still. I defy you to find systematic data that prove otherwise.

    The notion the American entrepreneurs are flocking to Canada, even to Alberta, is risible. I'll grant you that Canada has much less municipal corruption than the US. However, it's not a place that those with ambition, talent and a yen for autonomy thrive. It's certainly not friendly to entrepreneurship and it has a sclerotic political culture that, despite Harper's core inclinations, is largely immune to change.

    Oh, there's that incipient housing bubble and extreme consumer credit overhang, the hammer from which has yet to fall. Enjoy the C$ at parity while you can.

    Maybe that's a bit harsh. I do wake up most days wishing that Harper was our president and Obama was, well, not Canada's PM, but... adrift among sharks somewhere...

  13. In other words: When in Canada, do as the Bolsheviks do.

  14. Fritz is wrong.

    American universities will cancel speakers or allow their students to drown them out/assault them with desserts. We can talk about whether that's wrong or right, but that's not what Weenie Administrator is doing. He's telling her to change her speech or he will have her arrested as a criminal. Weenie Admins in America can't do that. I know they want to, but they can't.

  15. Andrew - thanks for a second there i thought you were going to wish O on us.Harper has managed quite a feat, getting conservatives to move in any given direction is like herding cats.if we didn't have him who would we have?

  16. I always get a kick when Americans look down their noses at us. Just because we have chosen different priorities, that makes Canada "cheese eating surrender monkeys," "bolsheviks," "going down the toilet," "totalitarian?"

    Last time I checked, Canada was the USA's closest ally, and this is how you ingrates speak about us? Thanks for nothing. And you can keep Ann Coulter.

  17. Sorry Jacobus, it's how I read the letter. I'm glad you're patriotic Canadian, I think the country IS a vital ally to the U.S. But that doesn't mean I agree with every thing you guys do up there. Especially the infringements on civil liberties as espoused in this letter.

  18. Jacobus- Trudeaumania kinda screwed us for sanctimony, the UK was the American's closest ally and the way O 's been pissing on their friends , that's just fine with me.As for Ann , she's Don Cherry without hockey, she says outrageous things and laughs at herself and nobody is bright enough to get it.i for one would love to hear her lay into Iggy.

  19. In a few years it will be impossible to belch without being thrown into jail for breaking the law. (Global Warming ya know!)Lord save me from the good people.

  20. Jacobus-

    The USSR was America's ally during WWII. The scary thing about this is if the Democrats get their way, we might end up joining the World Court, at which point Anne might be prosecuted for hate speech without her ever leaving the US, well at least until they arrest her and drag her to Madrid. Of course the minute they sign such an agreement, the Democrats might find themselves down to forty House members and twelve Senate members, so maybe it wouldn't be such a bad thing.

    Then we can do something about impeaching a few Supreme Court and Appellate Court judges.

  21. Ann Coulter is great theater - often of the absurd.

    I don't like to go to Wikipedia for my legal references but here is one re Public Universities and freedom of speech in the US - not the law of the land. Nothing much just of interest.

    In the 1980s and 1990s, more than 350 public universities adopted "speech codes" regulating discriminatory speech by faculty and students.[40] These codes have not fared well in the courts, where they are frequently overturned as violations of the First Amendment. See, e.g., Doe v. Michigan (1989), UWM Post v. Board of Regents of University of Wisconsin (1991), Dambrot v. Central Michigan University (1995), Corry v. Stanford (1995).

    Debate over restriction of "hate speech" in public universities has resurfaced with the adoption of anti-harassment codes covering discriminatory speech.[41]


  22. So not only are we Bolsheviks, we are now the USSR. Un-freaken-believable. Listen, Canada entered WWII a lot earlier than the USA, so if anything, you were our ally in the war. And, whether or not the USA joins the world court, where do you get off calling us the USSR? Have you ever heard of the '72 Summit Series?

    If you people can't read that letter for what it is - a polite reminder for a visitor to our country that our speech laws are different than the laws of your country, sent to someone known (rightly or wrongly) for inflammatory speech in the past - then fine. But, I don't see where it says that you get to insult the country that is playing host to that person.

    Just because we have different laws does not mean we are evil, you tools. It just means we are different.

  23. "It just means we are different."

    In an evil sort of way. :)

    Really, though, once you start controlling speech you're heading down the road to controlling everything else. It's not "civilized", it's authoritarian. It's the hallmark of every tinpot dictatorship. Who died and made you king? Or queen? Since when is it right that people should restrict their opinions to what's on someone else's pre-approved list? The day you become omniscient is the day you might have a right to control everyone else's thoughts and feelings. Until then, people should be free to speak and others should be free to make up their own minds. It's the least one should expect as a human being.

  24. jacobus cambria - Very good point. When in Rome, etc. I have lived in Canada and loved it. I call Canada "our conscience to the North." You know us and you remind us of our shortcomings as only siblings can. During WWII, many of our men went to Canada so they could join the fight before we declared war. In the 1960s, you accepted our sons and daughters who were so-called "draft dogders." Most of all, you have been patient with us when we could not name all of the provinces when you, unlike our President, could name all of our states and have been lacking in other knowledge we should have about you. This history of us not being totally aware of you and your ways could very well be, as you say, a reason for the letter. It may be a form letter sent to all visiting lecturers. Hang in there with us because, well, you still make Laura Secord candy and I need passage unimpeded to retrieve it. I remember Laura and her cow during the War of 1812. No side won a lick of land. Farmers on both sides put down their guns and stopped the war long enough to plant crops. And so it goes between siblings.

  25. "But, I don't see where it says that you get to insult the country that is playing host to that person."

    Case in point as to where these kinds of 'restrictions' go. Starts with a university and trickles down everywhere, even into blogs.

    Jacobus, it's just too pathetic that you think there is (or should be) some kind of controlling force over what people "get to" say to one another.

    I'm sure restrictions on what we "get to" THINK aren't far behind.

  26. So let me get this right...in Canada you cannot deride anyother group because it becomes a hate crime, but groups across multiple universities in Canada can call for the murder of Jews, the boycott of Israel and support terroris jihadis with impunity. Self-righteous leftist drivel is the same everywhere, it is anti-american,anti-semitic fascism.This Univeristy is an embarrassment to those who belive in free speech and true human rights.

  27. So one assumes the learned M. Hole sends a letter exactly like this one to every foreign speaker who comes to his so-called university. Oh? He doesn't? What a shocker!

  28. This letter was written by someone called Francois Houle. I wonder if "Francois" is French for "ass".

    In any event, I see several comments in here that are insulting toward Canadians in general. I would submit that this is letter was the spewing of one person and not typical of most Canadians who are equally disgusted with the far left attitudes of the academia in Canada. In fact, its not that different than the majority of professors in US colleges, Mr. Jacobson, being an acception, of course.

  29. Jacobus--you were still very m uch under the influence of the UK before WWII; you did comport yourself valiantly. You were our "closest ally" then.

    Starting with the VN War, when you harbored draft dodgers, cracks appeared. You have always been a stop over for immigrants that couldn't get into the US directly. Hang out in Canada for a few years, then step through a loophole. Commit a capital crime in the US--get thyself north of the border and escape the death penalty.

    Today, on what basis do you call yourself an "ally"? When have you ever stood toe to toe with us--since Korea? You are a suburb of the US, consisting of 13 cities all within 50 miles of the US border. Your total population is less than the state of CA. Most of your provinces have less population than a medium sized bedroom community in the US.

    Run me a thought process--suppose that south of the border, instead of the messy US, there was a barren desert--like the Sahara. How prosperous and nice a place do you think Canada would be?

    Don't get me wrong--suburbs are nice places and I know a lot of good people from Canada. Just keep your place in perspective.

  30. Rich, my Canadian son served in Afghanistan for 29 months and lost several good friends, the last one in his arms when he was the only one of 4 that survived a road side bomb. When I read your frivolous comments, I picture my son putting on his prosthetic leg each morning and I think of the many other Canadian and US parents who have to do likewise with their own son or daughter, knowing that there are others who have lost their child. Please don't bring Canadian military contributions into this argument. One, you know little on this subject and two, it has virtually nothing to do with comparing US and Canadian cultures. Both countries thrive on freedom, both countries have citizens that make really stupid comments and thankfully, both countries have a great deal of respect and admiration for the other.

  31. Itofinf - If you read my statement carefully, you will see that I said "it may be" not "it is" a form letter.

    I have not seen as much sarcasm and outright insulting behavior since I began commenting on this blog. I was just singing the praises of the comments here for being thoughtful and not getting into ad-hominum remarks. Can we return to a civil debate forum?

    Let's discuss the pros and cons of the laws not the characteristics of either the country or its people in it in such unnecessary terms - terms that do not forward the debate. All insulting language does is demean the person who lobbies the insult, not the person on the receiving end. I respect all of you that is why I am so disappointed. Peace.

  32. Syd B. My apologies, sweeping generalities may be valid, but fail in detail. Canada currently has a bit under 3000 troops in Afghanistan, the US about 60,000. Everything considered, that qualifies you as doing well more than your part. Thank you. My serious respects to your son and his friends; believe me I fully appreciate; my family has paid the price. My mother, in late 80's, still carries one picture in her purse--one of those forever young men of a lifetime ago. Life goes on, and can be good, but there is a hole that never fills. Currently, we have a family member headed over for his fourth tour; his second child will be born while he is gone. Hits me a bit-- I met my father twice before he paid the price in 1945, no memories.

    I note that your participation in Iraq has been minimal. That, in itself, doesn't upset me. Being an ally doesn't necessarily mean every day in every way. Part of my angst (not the right term) comes from your functioning as a safe refuge for the VN draft dodgers and current (very few) deserters, etc. You are aiding and abetting lawbreakers and, arguably, aiding our enemy.

    It doesn't alter my main point--that Canada is a suburb of the US. That is not intended as an insult, just a fact.

    When you boo the US National Anthem, it leaves a very bad taste. I suppose this was protected speech? Bashing any group but the US is illegal?
    Bashing the US is fine? We are used to it.

    Again, I sincerely apologize for the broad brush, but do not apologize for viewing Canada as a "sort of" friend as a nation.

  33. Rich, thank you for the acknowledgement. I might add that I am a proud American, born and bred in the wonderful State of Georgia. Business and a subsequent marriage to a beautiful woman has kept me in Canada for over 20 years now. I still have properties in the US and spend 5-6 months a year there, however, over the years, I have grown very attached to Canada and its wonderful people. Yes, there are social programs that would be considered leftist by Americans. Yes, the Canadian government, (Liberals at the time) chose to not participate in Iraq. Yes, Canada is a relatively small country and dependent on the US, specifically on economic issues. Canada's exports to the US represents 84% of the total. Americans, however, should be mindful of being too arrogant when it comes to their northern neighbor. Canada has more fresh water than the rest of the world combined. There could be a day in the future, where water is more valuable than oil.

    Notwithstanding the negative press Canada is getting from the Coulter event, I maintain that the vast majority of Canadians, certainly the ones I've met over 20 years, are 100% supportive of the US. (present administration excluded) When I try to explain this to my American friends and family, I often refer them to the following for a more accurate demonstration of how Canadians view America: http://www.canadianaconnection.com/cca/gordonsinclair.htm