University cancels talk by conservative firebrand Ann Coulter
By Tamara Baluja
The University of Ottawa cancelled a speech by American firebrand conservative Ann Coulter on Tuesday, just moments before its scheduled start, because organizers feared it would incite violent protests.
I think it should have been canceled - no, never even proposed - based on her ridiculous remarks.
The woman actually said that Muslims ought to take "flying carpets" instead of airplanes at a talk at the University of Western Ontario. When asked by a Muslim student what alternatives she would suggest in lieu of a flying the carpet, Coulter told her to “take a camel.”
She claims that her statement was taken out of context. That it was meant to be humorous.
Frankly, I don't see anything humorous. It's offensive to me - and I'm not even Muslim. It's objectionable on a more personal level. I did read an interesting blog by a London Free Press columnist Ian Gillespie, who rightly pointed out that being opinionated is not illegal.
"If Coulter's ideas are truly dangerous, then let's counter them with better ones," Gillespie writes. "But for goodness sake, let's remember what an 18th century French philosopher wrote: "Think for yourselves," said Voltaire. "And let others enjoy the privilege to do so, too.""
That's all true . . . to an extent.
Inviting someone like Coulter to a talk at a university gives her and what she has to say a sense of legitimacy. I'm not sure how many people take her seriously, but to invite her talk at an academic institution suggests she has some degree of expertise.
Additionally, Coulter's remarks come on the same day the Canadian Federation of Students released a new report on campus racism in Ontario universities and colleges.
The report "tracked this through students' involvement in on-campus events, problems students have had with exclusionary course curricula and academic policies that disproportionately affect students who are racialised."
Coulter is a part of that system that trashes minorities, and as such, I don't believe Coulter should have been invited to either UWO or University of Ottawa.
And yet, Coulter says that she has been a victim of a "hate crime" after her controversial rhetoric prompted a warning letter from the provost of the University of Ottawa even before she entered the country.
She has a tendency to hide behind her statements by calling them satirical, but what is the satire behind suggesting a camel ride?
Good for the provost for sending that warning letter and good for the students protesting against such rhetoric.Tamara Baluja is a radio room reporter, a journalism student and a former GA at CFRB News. firstname.lastname@example.org.