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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

U of W Issues Apology to Christie Blatchford

From the University of Waterloo's Communications and Public Affairs department's home page:

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.

Rather than silencing Christie Blatchford, the so-called protestors have created a firestorm against themselves and their actions. The International Free Press Society has denounced the "protestors." Letters to the Editor at the National Post condemn the behaviour of these juvenile fascists. MPP Toby Barrett spoke out against the U of W thugs in the Provincial Legislature, supported by pro-freedom stalwart Randy Hillier. Mark Vandermaas has a full rundown over at his Helpless site. The Post has a lengthy selection from Helpless, detailing the persecution of Gary McHale. At a book signing in Hamilton, where a peaceful protest against the book was staged, Blatchford dismissed the accusations against her:

“I'm not a racist,” said Blatchford, who also called the protest crazy. “My book is not racist and they are idiots.”

She also said if their intention is to intimidate her into halting speaking engagements to promote her book, “they are not going to do that. I am mystified a bit ... I am not a writer of inflammatory screeds. I am a newspaper reporter.” 

Facts are stubborn things. In Caledonia they've become dangerous as well. If I were Blatch, I wouldn't have bothered saying "I'm not a racist." That's kind of what the "protestors" want you to say, to place you on the defensive. It's a schoolyard taunt elevated into a political slogan.

Not an iota of evidence has been provided to show that Christie Blatchford is a racist, just as no evidence has been provided that Mark Vandermaas or Gary McHale are racists. There are no arguments, or discussions, with those who seized the Douglas Creek Estates nearly five years ago, or with their fellow travellers in the academy. They have no arguments or ideas, they have only force and violence. The constant shout of racist is a sure sign of intellectual bankruptcy. It is a not so subtle attempt to delegitimatize opposition to blatantly criminal acts. For the sake of Canada, we cannot let them succeed. 

Posted by Richard Anderson on November 17, 2010 | Permalink


Sad to see this kind of stupidity in this city. Can't say I'm surprised though; Canadian universities have recently become the frontline in the battle for free speech. You can tell these protestors have no real argument because they resort to physical confrontation as a first response to anything they find offensive. The thing they fear most is an open discussion of alternative ideas.

Posted by: Sean Hayward | 2010-11-17 9:18:55 AM

Here's a simple solution that occurred to me years ago when I was at university.
In those days, and I think today, student councils were funded by a compulsory tax on students taken at registration. If they didn't pay, the full force of the university was called in to enforce payment.

And so, the student councils, with free money, went the way of all such things and were taken over by extremists.

The solution, therefore, is to make them collect their own fees from the incoming students.

It's a bit like the CBC: let those who like it, pay for it.

Posted by: Patrick Armstrong | 2010-11-17 10:52:47 AM

Did you notice that the official university statement gives a reason for the cancellation different from that provided by Michael Strickland at the time Strickland cancelled it. Strickland said that he didn't want to give people the opportunity to take pictures of security removing the disruptive protesters from the stage. The university now says the event was cancelled out of concern for someone's safety (it doesn't say whose safety was at issue, and it doesn't explain why the police on the scene couldn't ensure this person's safety). I hope some journalist asks the university about this discrepency.
By the way, the Ann Coulter analogy isn't precise. A better analogy would be with the Jose Ruba talk at Saint Mary's, in Halifax, in 2009. That event was cancelled just so that no disruptive protesters would be arrested.

Posted by: Mark Mercer | 2010-11-17 1:56:39 PM

Van Jones...top down...bottom up...inside out.

Posted by: DJ | 2010-11-17 7:56:49 PM

No cancellation necessary in Hamilton. Nobody cares about Blatchford-the-mouthpiece-for-Gary-McHale.
Peaceful protesters were more interesting, intelligent and newsworthy, making the point that Six Nations Aboriginal rights ARE the "rule of law" in Canada.

Posted by: granny | 2010-11-17 8:33:55 PM

Granny: land claims should be settled in a court, not by aggression and intimidation. Peaceful protest (and peaceful discussion in general) is more intelligent and interesting, but seems to be in short supply as of late.

Posted by: Bradley | 2010-11-17 9:11:19 PM

Kellar is the true racist; with his talk of "settler's heritage" and "settler's obligations," he is defining rights and privileges based on human bloodlines. That is the definition of racism. But find me a Leftist, and I'll find you an emotionally immature narcissist with selective blindness.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2010-11-19 4:32:12 PM

I'll believe the sincerity of the University's apology when the student protestors are charged with non-academic misconduct and expelled.

Posted by: Grant Brown | 2010-11-19 11:01:39 PM

I think Blatchford is a racist idiot. Her book is a set of one-sided poorly researched accounts. Looks like Blatchford, the National Post, and the Western Standard are driving the "White Vicitimhood" industry one again. Too bad Canadians will buy that crap for only so long. In the Western Standard's case, they won't buy it at all.

Posted by: Robert | 2010-11-27 6:28:08 AM

I agree "land claims should be settled in court", but that's not what our governments prefer because they lose in court. Instead they just ignore both land claims and the 'duty to consult' (see national post), leaving First Nations no choice but direct action. The "rule of law" in Canada, according to the Supreme Court, is the treaties. We protest to educate Canadians about Canadian law. Blatchford intentionally ignores, distorts and misrepresents the facts and "the rule of law", misleading people and thus inciting hatred. And yes, we call that racism.

It cracks me up every time I think about her defending Dave Brown's drunken rampage, 'bolting for freedom' through the blockade, dragging the OPP pylons behind his car! It was a bit of comic relief for both sides at those tense times, and of course he spent the night in jail (but no charges) ... and Blatchford elevates a drunk driver to hero or martyr? Oh puleez!!!
Please tell me Canadians aren't that stupid!

Posted by: granny | 2010-12-01 8:33:13 AM

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