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Saturday, November 13, 2010

Truth to power? Apparently, not for Christie Blatchford

I remember well when, in Canada, the adage, speaking truth to power, were words to live by—especially for those who considered themselves journalists. Now it seems many in our society have decided that truth is no longer something they want to hear, unless, of course, it is their truth.

A case in point is the quite incredible fact that in Section 13 of our human rights legislation, “truth and reasonable belief in the truth is no defence” against a hate-speech charge brought against an individual by the state.

In other cases, Ezra Levant, Mark Steyn and Maclean’s Magazine found themselves in much publicized legal jeopardy over things they wrote and published, with little or no regard for their truthfulness.

And, most recently, thanks to Blazing Cat Fur we have a disgraceful demonstration of  power over truth at one of our most prestigious centres of higher education, the University of Waterloo (UW).

Globe and Mail columnist Christie Blatchford turned up to at the UW yesterday to make a scheduled speech about the journalist’s new book Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us. The event, however, was rescheduled because three protesters locked themselves together at the centre of the stage where Blatchford was to speak while another individual acted as their “negotiator.” A fifth person, Tallula Marigold, acted as the group’s “media representative.”

“Our goal was to not let her [Christie Blatchford] speak, we accomplished that.”

Tallula Marigold

No truth to power there. Nor any free speech for Ms. Blatchford. Five individuals decide that a former Governor General’s Literary Award recipient should not be allowed to speak, and this internationally recognized university, University of Waterloo, caves in to a reprehensible act of censorship and bully tactics.

Tallula Marigold, who, apparently, was acting as the bullies’ media representative, reportedly had this to say:

“We don’t want people who are really, really racist teaching [the people we love]. And we don’t want that person to have a public forum because it makes it dangerous for others in the public forum. …

“Our goal was to not let her speak, we accomplished that.”

Some Canadian universities seem to have little or no hesitation in using their security staff to curtail activist activity when it is attempted by, say, an anti-abortion group or others who do not preach the universities’ sort of “truth.” However, UW allows a tiny group screaming “Nazi” and “racist,” to totally deny Christie Blatchford’s right to free speech.

The bullies’ stated goal was to not let Christie Blatchford speak,” and the University of Waterloo passively allowed them to accomplished that unjust goal.

Every time you readers look at the tax withholding on your pay or pension cheques, remember that some of that money goes to support Ontario universities, which seem to have forgotten that, in Canada, free speech is a fundamental right. One would think that in a university, free speech would be treasured beyond all other rights and freedoms. But, apparently, that is not the case in Ontario.

Moreover, bullying is never an acceptable tactic, yet the university, by not putting an immediate stop to it, encourages its future use to silence other speakers of the truth.

Is this the new Canada? Shameful!

 

© 2010 Russell G. Campbell
All rights reserved.

13 comments — This is a moderated blog and comments will appear when approved. Please don’t resubmit if your comment doesn’t appear immediately, and please do not post material that is obscene, harassing, defamatory, or otherwise objectionable.

  1. Blame rests solely with University Administration who was obligated to post prior notice of these events, thus giving opponents to inquire with admin as to its legitimacy.

    These intruders are nothing more than footsoldiers for the marxist elites and need to be sent packing.

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  2. They should boot those students out of university as they are unable to learn the meaning of free speech!

    Make students think twice about the consequences of their actions. Maybe someone should complain to the HRC about the students behaviour.

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  3. The thugs from ARA were behind it Russ - http://toronto.mediacoop.ca/story/spectre-ara/5123

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  4. Though I agree with your article, all people no matter how ignorant or radical they are, should be allowed to speak. I find it hard to feel sorry for Christie Blatchford. She is after all, the very journalist who after the G20 came out against free speech for bloggers and alternative media and seemingly anyone else that is a journalist from anything but the top three news outlets- She also seemed to have no problem with people's rights being taken away that weekend. Free speech isn't a "right" it's been proven time after time to be only a privilege that can be taken away from us, when an institution feels like it and as citizens we constantly have to fight for it. Maybe it will make her think twice about how important free speech actually is, next time she is seated next to the First Ladies and decides to write a column condemning those who fight to keep it alive.

    Enjoyed your thoughts nevertheless.

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  5. This is mob terrorists in action on our Canadian campus
    Why are we tolerating this criminal behaviour?
    I can only gasp in horror and ask WHY is this allowed
    education is learning about EVERYTHING
    education is not preventing people from speaking
    what did the students learn?
    they learned if you block free speech you can crawl into your black hole and believe you have won over the opportunity to broaden your education and the education of every student wishing to attend Christie Blatchford's speech
    we must not allow this behaviour on Canadian campuses
    fh

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  6. The brownshirts win again.

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  7. Kinda ironic that the university didn't enforce the laws of the land because of gutlessness and political correctness when Christie was trying to give a speech on a book about the police not enforcing the laws of the land because of gutlessness and political correctness.

    I wonder how these five idiots will feel after they realize they started a war of words with someone who buys ink by the barrel?

    Stan

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  8. Is there a University in Ontario that doesn't suck? How may is that now that have sold their academic integrity to fear and political correctness?

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  9. Ah... university - the opposite of diversity... and free speech for me not for thee... fortunately the students who actually contribute to society after graduation don't engage in this kind of garbage, they're too busy studying. The marxists losers like this bunch, well, they either live off the government's teat or flip burgers. Karma catches up to each and everyone of them

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  10. Simple solution, cut funding to all universities who do not endorse and ensure free speech.

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  11. there is no such thing as my truth, your truth or their truth, there is only the truth and all else is a lie. there is only black or white in truth not shades of grey. that people today disagree with that fact does not mean it is not the truth.

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  12. I agree the young adults in their brown shirts denying free speech was not the real problem.

    It was the University Administration for failing to protect equally the Charter rights of those who planned, attended to have a peaceful assembly and hear an invited guest.

    The double standard by University Administrations in allowing small groups of radicalized youth to disrupt the right and freedoms in our charter is inexcusable.

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  13. The university has issued an apology:


    http://www.bulletin.uwaterloo.ca/2010/nov/16tu.html

    ========================
    Apology after author is silenced
    University officials issued a statement yesterday in the wake of a Friday night incident in which Globe and Mail columnist Christie Blatchford was prevented from speaking at a scheduled event in the Humanities Theatre.

    A group of protesters took exception to what they called the "racist" attitude of her book Helpless, which deals with the four-year standoff over native land claims in the village of Caledonia in Ontario's Haldimand County. Blatchford had been invited to campus by the university bookstore to speak about her book. After some time, it was announced that her talk would be rescheduled.

    The events of the evening were live-blogged by the Wilfrid Laurier University student newspaper The Cord, and got some media attention yesterday.

    Says the statement that was issued by the university yesterday: "The University of Waterloo was disappointed that a guest invited to share a particular perspective on a topic of importance to Canadians was silenced by protesters. Globe and Mail columnist Christie Blatchford was scheduled to appear at the university on Friday night to discuss her new book Helpless: Caledonia's Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us. Due to safety issues, the university decided to reschedule the event.

    "The university considers Friday’s events as an attack on its presence as a place where issues are explored, discussed and at times debated. The freedom to speak and to learn is fundamental to the institution. Waterloo’s ethical behaviour policy states: 'The University is an autonomous community which exists to further the pursuit and dissemination of knowledge and understanding through scholarship and teaching. The University aims to ensure an environment of tolerance and respect and believes that the right of individuals to advance their views openly must be upheld throughout the University.' To ensure there is no doubt of the university’s convictions, Waterloo President Feridun Hamdullahpur apologized to Ms. Blatchford, on behalf of the university community, for Friday night’s disruption. He has asked the community to begin planning for a safe, open and respectful dialogue featuring Ms. Blatchford and her book."
    ========================

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