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Monday, March 22, 2010

University of Ottawa attempts to censor Ann Coulter

Ann Coulter visit sets off furor...
...threat of 'criminal defamation' by University provost
Email that set things off...

--------- Forwarded message----------------

From: Francois Houle <> Date: Fri, Mar 19, 2010 at 4:28 PM

Subject: Please forward the following message to Ms. Coulter

Dear Ms. Coulter,

I understand that you have been invited by University of Ottawa Campus Conservatives to speak at the University of Ottawa this coming Tuesday. We are, of course, always delighted to welcome speakers on our campus and hope that they will contribute positively to the meaningful exchange of ideas that is the hallmark of a great university campus. We have a great respect for freedom of expression in Canada, as well as on our campus, and view it as a fundamental freedom, as recognized by our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. I would, however, like to inform you, or perhaps remind you, that 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. You will realize that Canadian law puts reasonable limits on the freedom of expression. For example, promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges. Outside of the criminal realm! Canadian defamation laws also limit freedom of expression and may differ somewhat from those to which you are accustomed. I therefore ask you, while you are a guest on our campus, to weigh your words with respect and civility in mind. 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 to respect that Canadian tradition while on our campus. Hopefully, you will understand and agree that what may, at first glance, seem like unnecessary restrictions to freedom of expression do, in fact, lead not only to a more civilized discussion, but to a more meaningful, reasoned and intelligent one as well.

I hope you will enjoy your stay in our beautiful country, city and campus. Sincerely,

Francois Houle

clip_image001Vice-recteur aux etudes Vice-President Academic arid Provost

Universite d'Ottawa / University of Ottawa 550, rue Cumberland Street

Ottawa (ON) ION 6N5

telephone./ telephone 613 562-5737 telecopieur / fax ; 613 562-5103 www.uOttawa.calvr-etudes-academic

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