Well after weeks of travel back and forth across the continent, I finally got what I had proudly said I had avoided all winter......a cold! A ba-ad one at that. I am here in beautiful Saskatchewan in the middle of a two-day seminar surviving on cough drops, cough syrup and various concoctions from the mini-bar. That's the last time I dare to tempt the fates!
I'm sure many of you have read about the brouhaha over American polemicist Ann Coulter's cancelled speech at the University of Ottawa. Sometimes all you can do is laugh. So I penned this little piece of satire which was published Wednesday in the Ottawa Citizen:
For most of my life, I have been fascinated about the issue of limits of free speech. Perhaps it's my Irish background. Combine it with the culture of 'political correctness' on our university campuses and you have a volatile issue for sure. I actually felt somewhat sorry for the university's vice president who escalated the issue by sending his email to Ms. Coulter cautioning her about Canada's approach to free speech. If you looked up the phrase 'PR disaster' that missive would pop right up. A quick read of it would pretty well tell you why it was destined to backfire:
When I was at university, one of the values that was central to my generation was contained in this famous line attributed (wrongly as it turns out) to Voltaire:
"I disapprove of what you have to say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it." Sadly, that value has been replaced by:
"I disagree with what you have to say, and I will fight with all I have to prevent you from saying it."
How did that happen?