UPPERDATE:Xan is hopping mad and has written to City Council about allowing the police to decide who gets to speak and who doesn't:
UPDATE: Jay Currie writes:
If you have not had the opportunity to hear about this already, last night, the City of Ottawa has abdicated its duties, responsibilities and obligations to provide ‘core services’ in a very public manner, which is likely to draw a very large amount of international criticism to our beautiful city. And – rightly so!
Let me cut through the niceties and get to the core of the issue:
Last night, 23rd of March, 2010, an American media pundit – Ann Coulter – was scheduled to speak at the University of Ottawa.
First, let me stress that I am not a fan of Ann Coulter: rather, I am rather vocal in my criticism of her.
Still, that does not excuse what happened….
Sponsored by International Free Press, Ms. Coulter had been booked to speak at the University of Ottawa last night. Even prior to her entry into Canada, M F. Houle – a provost at the University of Ottawa – had sent Ms. Coulter, a letter warning her ahead of time to self-censor her expression, else she will face prosecution. While this letter has received international condemnation (and, Ms. Coulter is apparently considering legal action of her own against M Houle due to this letter), this condemnation of Ms. Coulter for a presumed pre-crime is nowhere as explosive as what had happened last night.
According to Macleans, the ‘police’ had – at the last moment – refused to provide an adequate security response to this event and, as Ms. Coulter is reported to have said, ‘pulled the plug’ on the event! Yes – the University of Ottawa was the primary organizer, and had the primary responsibility. Still, Macleans is reporting that it was the Ottawa Police – not campus security – who canceled the event, claiming they could not provide sufficient security.
The University of Ottawa and those brave members of the Ottawa Police force took a dive. They canceled because this was shaping up to be a pain in the butt.
Chickenshits. And the sad part is that this will only encourage the vermin to keep disrupting events.
Last night, I did not sense danger or violence while standing outside, so I would be very cautious about using the word "riot" to describe what happened. The number of people who were actively protesting was less than a third. They were young, they were having a ball with their little theatrical tantrum and their "Hey Hey ho ho" chanting and MOST OF THEM WERE GIRLS!
I did not see the table getting thrown aside though.
When the police showed up, they were in their community spirit mode. No riot gear, no helmets, no shields. Nice, young, handsome, polite Ottawa police officers.
While most people politely obeyed them, a small group of triumphant demonstrators remained inside the vestibule. I have their little victory chant on video here.
I blame the students less than I blame a society-wide climate of permissiveness and lack of backbone for protecting freedom of speech and other fundamental, God-given rights. This climate that not only pervades the university but also our governments and police departments.
We have a pattern developing where those who are controversial, those who are pro-life, those who are Christian, those who are conservative, those who are pro-Israel, those who are polemical from the right, and in Ann Coulter's case, all of the above, get penalized because some people might get upset and over-react to what they say.
There have been cases where those who speak up against hate-filled anti-Israel demonstrations flying the flags of banned terrorist organizations get threatened with arrest if they don't leave the scene, but nothing is done about the thugs who threaten violence. It's the grandmother praying outside an abortion clinic who gets arrested, not the pro-abortion student councils who throw over tables and smash displays on campus. It's the residents of Caledonia who get arrested and not the masked native protesters who have made their lives a living hell.
We have a pattern where lawlessness is ignored, placated, appeased and the louder and more violent the threats the more abject the groveling and denial. But those who engage in lawful protests that might trigger a reaction from various shades of thuggery are the ones who get the full brunt of the law because, well, they are law-abiding, they are not violent and they are not politically correct so who gives a flying frig.
I do not know what these students would have done had they been confronted with non-violent but firm force. Screamed bloody murder and gone to some human rights commission and sued the police and Ann Coulter and everyone else. This is probably why police don't bother to make waves. Who wants to be stuck with the hassle of a complaint from one of these students crying about their "rights"? The thought of the paperwork alone is daunting, nevermind the potential black mark on their record.
These kids remind me of three-year olds who want some of that candy by the check out counter. Mommy says "No" and they start screaming. Mommy says "No" again, and they throw themselves on the linoleum and start flailing around. Mommy buys a candy bar and shoves it angrily in the kid's hand and the crying stops, but the kid has a triumphant look on his face. There grows an element of theatre. The first time a kid does it, maybe his emotions do genuinely get out of control. Kids that young have not learned to control their feelings and they need their parents' help in disciplining them. But after they learn this kind of behavior works, they will ramp up the screaming and the crying as a tactic because it has been rewarded. Hey, I used to scan the floor to make sure there were no blocks or toys in the way before I threw myself on the floor as a toddler.
These students were like three-year olds in 20-year old bodies. Same mentality though in terms of their spoiled brat behavior. But really, I don't blame a three year old for the tantrum. I blame Mommy for giving into it and thereby creating a monster.
I would hesitate to call the protesting students thugs. I grew up in Boston and have seen real thugs. These are not thugs, even though some of them in rushing the auditorium, pushing the volunteers around and throwing the table aside were behaving thuggishly. These are ignorant, sp0iled, highly uneducated, appallingly incurious, brainwashed little politically correct leftists who have never been exposed to genuine debate. Whose fault is that? But underneath it all, for the most part, I detected some otherwise nice Canadian kids who now have a ruined reputation across North America. This is sad for them and their parents and the University of Ottawa, once a place that cherished the Truth.
But we as a society have to develop some firmness and some backbone in defending our fundamental freedoms. Instead, we have created bureaucracies like human rights commissions to take them away. Note that human rights commissions are busy forcing people to be "nice" but ignoring real human rights abuses like honor killings, forced child marriages, human trafficking and other real forms of horrible abuse taking place right in Canada. But no, these people put themselves in a bunker because they are afraid of Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn, but ignore the real abuses.
But what last night taught them is a little bit of shouting and chanting goes a long way towards exerting power. They will get their way and other people will lose their rights. Many people had already paid to hear Ann Coulter and they lost their money last night. We have to develop some tactics to combat this. We cannot let this drift into the slow suffocation of our freedoms by even the mildest of threats of disruption or hints of violence.Miss Marprelate was inside the University of Ottawa auditorium last night at the canceled Ann Coulter talk.
The whole thing started very late. Not sure what the issue was there. It was supposed to start at 7 but the doors only opened around then and due to checking everyone's ID and registration it was not filling up very fast. I managed to get into the auditorium fairly early on. The atmosphere in there seemed to be both excited and rather tense.
Then the fire alarm went off. Do you know how loud industrial fire alarms are? Do you know what they sound like when they go on for about ten minutes?!
People in the auditorium seemed to be very confused about what was going on. It was impossible to tell what was happening outside.