Back in the 1970's I visited East Berlin for the first time. Later, I visited what was then Czechoslovakia. My parents reminded me that unlike the US, I had to watch my mouth, that expressed opinions could be crimes. At the time, I was a Trotskyist sympathiser, so there was real danger that I could have been jailed for running my mouth. Under communism, there were plenty of communists who were imprisoned for being on the wrong side of a factional dispute. Indeed, the communists killed their heretics in far greater numbers than did the Christians.
Ann Coulter just recently got a chilling reminder that the "thought police" are alive and well, not in one of the few communist countries on earth but in Canada, where she is going on a speaking tour of three universities.
In a chilling note, Francois Houle, s senior official at the University of Ottawa reminded Ms. Coulter in unmistakeable terms that she could not count on the free speech protections that are sacrosanct in the US. The National Post reports as follows on the icy missive received by Ms. Coulter.
"In an email sent to Ms. Coulter on Friday, a copy of which has been obtained by the National Post, Mr. Houle wrote: "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."
He continued, "Promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges."
After also mentioning defamation law, the provost wrote, "I therefore ask you, while you are a guest on our campus, to weigh your words with respect and civility in mind."
Seamus Wolfe, the president of the student body at the University of Ottawa got his own little drop kick into the face of free speech, according to the National Post report.
"The federation does not support Ann Coulter speaking on our campus huffed little Seamus, the campus dictator wannabee"We're trying to work with the administration to see if we can ask her to do her speaking event somewhere else."
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