Ann Coulter did not enjoy her stay in the land of Dudley Do-Right.  “Since arriving in Canada,” she wrote on her website on March 24, “I’ve been accused of thought crimes, threatened with criminal prosecution for speeches I hadn’t yet given, and denounced on the floor of the Parliament (which was nice because that one was on my ‘bucket list’).”

A few days before Coulter’s scheduled appearance at the University of Ottawa, where she had been invited to speak by the university’s Campus Conservatives, university vice-president academic and provost François Houle wrote a letter to “inform . . . or perhaps remind” the conservative vixen that Canada has laws that “delineate freedom of expression.”  Any lectures that promoted “hatred” against a particular group would be against Canadian law, and violation “could in fact lead to criminal charges.”

Houle’s threat was leaked to the media, and by the evening of March 23, when the talk was scheduled to take place, liberal students had worked themselves into an uproar.  Before Coulter was even on the scene, a number of them had gathered outside the building in protest.  According to Coulter, there was yelling, throwing of tables, and blocking of entryways, before someone finally pulled the fire alarm.  The talk was canceled, allegedly over concerns for Coulter’s safety.  Coulter asserts that the police called her bodyguard and informed him of the cancellation.

The university’s official statement reads a bit differently: “Last night, the organizers themselves decided at 7:50 p.m. to cancel the event and so informed the University’s Protection Services staff on site.  At that time, a crowd of about one thousand people had peacefully gathered at Marion Hall.”  Most other news sources agree that it was Coulter and her organizers, not the university, who canceled her lecture.

As for the threat of violence, video footage of students present at the building before the cancellation does show a number of shouting, sign-waving protestors.  So perhaps the university’s idea of what constitutes a “peacefully gathered” crowd is open to debate.

Coulter says she intends to file a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.  Houle’s letter, she argues, incited hatred toward her.

The letter and its implied threat were certainly a political move—Houle’s attempt at shielding the University of Ottawa from the embarrassment of having Ann Coulter speak within its august walls.  Both Coulter and Ezra Levant, the Canadian conservative activist who was to introduce Coulter and who ran afoul of the Human Rights Commission when he reprinted the Danish cartoons of Muhammad, stated that after the release of the letter the university recommended that Coulter’s sponsors spend another thousand dollars or so on security at the event.  Whether or not he intended to stir up the student body, Houle seems to have accomplished just that.  But the hate-speech laws protect only “identifiable groups”—minorities, Muslims, women.  Coulter would have to prove that Houle’s purpose had been to provoke “hatred” against her because of her membership in some group, and conservatives aren’t on the list of people whose “human rights” Canada is terribly worried about protecting.

By resorting to typical leftist threats of violence and censure against non-p.c. views, Houle and the University of Ottawa forced the cancellation and gave Ann Coulter some fabulous publicity.  Because she tends to make catty remarks about Muslims and other favorites of the left, the university did its best to keep her from speaking, which gave her more media coverage to make catty remarks about Muslims and other favorites of the left—and University of Ottawa officials and students.

Such is the level to which political “debate” has fallen.  Ann Coulter has become a conservative celebrity because she wears short skirts, tosses her long blond hair, and makes snippy comments.  This is the type of “conservative” the right has chosen to glorify.  She’s a perfect target for the left, which gets its kicks out of rioting, threatening, and censuring.  It’s bread and circuses for the American consumer of political drama, and nothing more.