Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Free Speech in Canada

Recent news out of Ontario is that American conservative speaker/writer Ann Coulter is here. For those of you who might not know her, she enjoys "stirring up the pot" through right-wing rhetoric racism. She wrote the book, If Democrats had any Brains, They'd be Republicans and has been notoriously anti-Muslim, advocating that no Muslim should be allowed to fly, instead they should take flying carpets. I am not joking, there is no way you could make this stuff up.

Of course you can guess my reaction to such a person. She uses racism as a tool to incite people, blatantly using ignorant, inflammatory comments to make the news and sell books, and ignores the power of what she says. In today's speech, when a Muslim student asked her about her "flying carpets" comment, nothing that she didn't have one, Coulter told her "to take a camel" instead. And she made the news.

Still, her vast store of idiocy is not what this post is about. What I want to do is relate this issue and Coulter's recent foray into Canada to something else I had previously written about here.

British MP George Galloway was denied access to speak in Canada at an anti-war protest due to his attacks on Israel and connections with the Palestinian Hamas (who Canada labeled a terrorist org.) which include being part of the Viva Palestina convoy bringing food to Gaza to promote peace. At the time I noted that we had allowed George Bush to cross the border to speak, why were we denying Galloway? My question remains: If we allow people such as Coulter across the border to spew her vitriolic rants why was a British elected official (Galloway) banned?

I think part of the answer stems from what Galloway represents - a critique of Israel. He highlights atrocities in Gaza, sides with Palestinians and Arabs as a whole and roundly denounces American foreign policy that supports such atrocities... policy that Canada seems to agree with. I know Israel is a touchy subject but his views are not welcome and even less welcome than the racist rants of Coulter? He's involved in initiatives to promote peace and equality for Muslim people's and Coulter advocates against Muslim people. We talk about free speech in Canada but this one exclusion (Galloway) and one inclusion (Coulter) speaks to what is allowed in Canada, what is deemed acceptable, and what is allowable to say.

Free speech in Canada... as long as you agree with our policies and don't like Muslims.

1 comment:

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