Sorry aboot the hate, eh?

Ann Coulter has announced she will be filing a complaint with the Human Rights Commission against the University of Ontario.  Prior to a speech she would give as part of a tour, Coulter received a warning about Canada’s hate speech laws:

“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.

“[...]Promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges.”

Ann Coulter’s bread and butter is being fiery and antagonistic.  Consider for instance her comments about the 2001 World Trade Center Attack,

“We know who the homicidal maniacs are. They are the ones cheering and dancing right now. We should invade their countries, kill their leaders and convert them to Christianity.”

Or, her comments about John Edwards,

“I was going to have a few comments on the other Democratic presidential candidate, John Edwards, but it turns out that you have to go into rehab if you use the word ‘faggot,’ so I’m – so, kind of at an impasse, can’t really talk about Edwards, so I think I’ll just conclude here and take your questions.”

In that context, the warning could be seen as a simple courtesy, letting her know that speech that would be legally okay in the US might get her in trouble her Canada.  Most people tend to think of Americans and Canadians as sharing similar ideals about democracy and freedom.  There are of course some differences, but we generally have the same rights.  Your average American might not consider speech regulations when giving a talk just across the border.

But, in a move that’s probably just a publicity stunt, Coulter claimed that the warning was promotion hatred against an identifiable group, conservatives.

“I think I’m the victim of a hate crime here. Either what [U. of Ontario] did was a hate crime, or the whole commission is BS.”

This is just a clusterfuck of dumb ideas.

First, she filed a complaint with the Human Rights Commission, but her complaint is based in Canadian law.  The international standard is likely quite different, and she should have made a complaint through the proper Canadian channels.

Second, claiming the warning was hateful is a huge stretch.  It doesn’t express any hatred towards Coulter, and it was a private letter, so it can’t possibly be promoting hatred.  Maybe it expresses hatred, but promotion requires an audience.

And finally, Coulter’s logic is screwed up.  Even if the letter was hate speech and the Human Rights Commission doesn’t respond, that doesn’t invalidate everything the Commission does.  Surely it can exercise prosecutorial discretion in ignoring someone just seeking attention.  Also, failing to perfectly address every human rights abuse in the world does not invalidate an organization designed to defend human rights.  The Center for Disease Control doesn’t control every disease, but that doesn’t mean its whole operation is BS.  Coulter needs a lesson in logic.  …And shutting the fuck up.

I don’t agree with Canada’s speech restrictions.  I do recognize the need to curb speech that incites people to commit violence, but I think Canada goes a bit too far.  It’s not terribly restrictive either though, they just draw the line between freedom and safety differently than we do.

And since I live in the good ol’ United States of America, I can say this:

Fuck you Ann Coulter, and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police horse you rode in on.

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