by Mark Steyn, April 13, 2010 Steynonline
From my Notes on a show trial, two years ago:
When I arrived at the courthouse, an officer of the BC Sheriff’s Department said because of ‘security threats’ he’d be sticking by me everywhere I went in the building. I found this rather reassuring for about 90 seconds until it occurred to me he almost certainly meant not that the court had been apprised of security threats against me but that I myself was the security threat.
True. It was the same in Ottawa a couple of months earlier, after Julian Porter, QC had successfully petitioned Judge Hadjis, on behalf of me and my Maclean’s colleagues, to reject the Canadian “Human Rights” Commission’s absurd contention that there was so much “anger” out there it would be unsafe to hold anything other than a secret trial. So in March, very reluctantly, the Canadian “Human Rights” Tribunal opened up the Marc Lemire trial to members of the media and the public. In an idle moment during the proceedings, I asked the Ottawa police officer standing next to me what he was doing there. I meant that, as the CHRT was a federal body, why was a municipal officer there rather than a Mountie? He explained that, being as how they normally held their trials in secret, they didn’t usually need any security. But, having been ordered to open the doors to the likes of me, they’d put in a request for some emergency protection – ie, in case I or Deborah Gyapong suddenly lunged at Judge Hadjis and attempted to shove the Royal Coat of Arms up his keister as a reminder of the travesty of justice his court represents.
That’s been pretty consistent for two years now: As the state security apparatus sees it, we dissenters from Trudeaupian orthodoxy are the the threat to the Queen’s peace. Political correctness starts in the wackier professions, in the college faculty lounge and the ethnic grievance shakedown racket, but eventually it hollows out ostensibly more robust institutions – including the police and even the military: See the US Army brass’ general behaviour re Major Hasan. The British constabulary are particularly far gone in this respect. As John O’Sullivan likes to say, they’re now the paramilitary wing of The Guardian. If a young Muslim girl shows up at a police station in Northern England terrified that she’s in danger of being either honour-killed or shipped back to marry her cousin in Mirpur, they assign her case to a Muslim officer from the Community Outreach team, who’ll often helpfully tip off her dad that she’s been in to see them.
Most municipal police forces in Canada are succumbing to the same pathologies. Do you really want to be tied up by Internal Affairs or the “Human Rights” Commission because there’s cellphone pictures all over The Toronto Star of you resisting some Native or Muslim or gay protesters? Not only won’t the cops crack heads, they’ll stand back and let the rioters crack your head. As I wrote in Maclean’s last week:
Faced with a law-abiding group engaging in legal activity and a bunch of thugs trying to prevent it, the police declined to maintain order. As George Jonas wrote, “Ottawa’s finest exemplified Canada’s definition of moral leadership by observing neutrality between lawful and lawless.” Allan Rock’s weasels attempted to defend themselves by pointing out that it was not the university but the organizers who cancelled the event.
As Kathy Shaidle notes, a grateful Canadian media fell ravenously on that line either to crow that Miss Coulter talks a good game but in the end was too gutless to go on, or that the cancellation was a publicity stunt. David Warren was the only mainstream columnist to point out, that, when the police inform you officially that they cannot “guarantee security”, you’re certainly free to proceed, but your insurers will decline to cover any subsequent damage to the venue. Canadian police have now adopted a policy of abetting lawlessness by approved groups:
I’m not just referring to obvious surrenders such as Caledonia, but to the bizarre episode of TVO’s The Agenda broadcast from the Munk Centre last week. No Ann Coulter around, only the ﬁnance minister of Ontario. But a Coulteresque mob rushed the stage, and the host Steve Paikin had to insert himself between protesters and the minister. “Regardless of what you thought of yesterday’s budget,” wrote Paikin, “I don’t believe guests who agree to appear on The Agenda ought to get beaten up.”
Oh, c’mon, you pussy. Where’s your commitment to social justice? As in Ottawa, law enforcement declined to enforce the law, the OPP remaining in the wings as thugs rushed the stage. “The police, I’m told, were urged not to intervene,” Paikin explained, “lest pictures of demonstrators being hauled off by the cops show up all over YouTube.”
True. You might haul off a Muslim or a lesbian and find yourself in “human rights” hell. Better just to linger nonchalantly by the side until it’s all over: O Canada, we stand around for thee.
For confirmation of the above, consider the account of Miss Coulter’s Calgary visit by the head of her local security team:
It was explained to us in no uncertain terms, that Campus Security personnel could not and would not, remove any unruly patrons or spectators from the event unless they displayed obvious signs of violent behaviour – holding a chair over one’s head threatening to throw it was simply not enough… To make matters worse we were told that if any of our people laid a hand on anyone at the event, for any reason, we would be charged and face criminal prosecution.
Just so. The mob’s not the threat, you and Ann Coulter are. In the old days, the Mounties always got their man. But these days they’ll get you. Frankly, it’s a lot easier. Canadian law enforcement gives off the same vibe re Miss Coulter that the Dutch justice system does re Geert Wilders – that in many ways the most convenient outcome would be if the mob took care of the problem, pour encourager les autres.
As Kate McMillan says re the security chief’s missive:
In a real country, with real rights, and real journalists, this letter would provoke a national media scandal and formal investigation – but it won’t.
The police are happy to stand by and Caledonify Canada. The IFPS will find it harder to book a room next time they want to bring a “controversial” speaker to the true north strong and free. But, if we’re lucky, we’ll still be free to hold our events on abandoned bits of scrub on the edge of town.
STRONG AND FREE?
Steyn on Canada and the Commonwealth
April 16, 2010
Well, Ann Coulter is no longer in Canada, but 30 million Canadians are. So, for the sake of argument, let us take as read the frankly rather boring observation of the northern punditocracy that the whole brouhaha worked to her advantage, and consider instead whether the Canada on display during her 96-hour layover actually works to Canadians’ advantage. Which was the claim advanced by the eminent Canadian “feminist” Susan Cole appearing on U.S. TV to support the protesters’ shutdown of Miss Coulter’s Ottawa speech:
“We don’t have a First Amendment, we don’t have a religion of free speech,” she explained patiently. “Students sign off on all kinds of agreements as to how they’ll behave on campus, in order to respect diversity, equity, all of the values that Canadians really care about. Those are the things that drive our political culture. Not freedoms, not rugged individualism, not free speech. It’s different, and for us, it works.”
Does it? You rarely hear it put quite that bluntly—“Freedoms”? Ha! Who needs ’em?—but there was a lot of similarly self-regarding blather in Coulter Week euphemizing a stultifying, enforced conformism as “respect” and “diversity” and whatnot. “I therefore ask you, while you are a guest on our campus, to weigh your words with respect and civility in mind,” wrote François Houle, the provost of the University of Ottawa, addressing Miss Coulter in the smug, condescending, preening tone that comes so naturally to your taxpayer-funded, tenured mediocrity. “There is a strong tradition in Canada, including at this university, of restraint, respect and consideration in expressing even provocative and controversial opinions and urge you [sic] to respect that Canadian tradition.”
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