The move followed boisterous demonstrations outside that some sponsors of the appearance feared could turn violent.
“There was a risk there could be physical violence,” said Canadian conservative activist Ezra Levant, who was scheduled to introduce Ms. Coulter.
Authorities evacuated the University of Ottawa building where Ms. Coulter was due to speak after someone triggered a fire alarm.
The evacuation took place as throngs of anti-Coulter demonstrators yelled for her to leave.
“No more hate speech on our campus,” demonstrators chanted.
Ms. Coulter, riding a wave of controversy over her speaking tour of Canada, says she’s being treated unfairly here because she’s conservative.
In an unusual move, the University of Ottawa sent her a warning before her speech, cautioning Ms. Coulter to watch her words lest she face criminal charges for promoting hatred in Canada.
“I hereby encourage you to educate yourself, if need be, as to what is acceptable in Canada and to do so before your planned visit here,” University of Ottawa academic vice-president François Houle wrote.
“Promoting hatred against any identifiable group would not only be considered inappropriate, but could in fact lead to criminal charges.”
Speaking to CTV’s Power Play Tuesday, Ms. Coulter suggested there’s a double standard at work in Canada because left-wing provocateur Michael Moore doesn’t receive the same kind of forewarnings.
“Does Michael Moore get a letter reminding him to be civil and threatening him with criminal prosecution?” Ms. Coulter said.
Ms. Coulter has made a career of outrageous statements, including her post-9/11 call for Islamic countries to be invaded, their leaders killed and all Muslims converted to Christianity. In 2007, she said “if we took away women’s right to vote, we’d never have to worry about another Democrat president.” In an April 2008 column she described Barack Obama’s book Dreams From My Father as a “Dimestore Mein Kampf.”
Ms. Coulter is part of what former Bush speechwriter David Frum calls the U.S. “conservative entertainment complex” -- the group of radio and TV industry commentators “that makes its living by whipping people up.”
“Angry people listen to the radio longer,” Mr. Frum told CBC TV Monday night. “They hear more ads and that pays more into the system of the talk radio industry. It’s in their interest to make people upset so they will listen to the ads.”
Civil libertarians decried the University of Ottawa’s treatment of Ms. Coulter, saying it’s out of line for an educational institution to be telling people to watch their words.
“It could be interpreted as an attempt to curtail speech,” Nathalie Des Rosiers, general counsel for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association said.
“I don’t think it’s appropriate to warn speakers. Regardless of how bigoted and terrible a speaker she is, she’s entitled to freedom of expression and Canadians have a right to hear her views.”
Ms. Coulter defended her nasty tone as political satire employed to force change -- and a popular draw for audiences. “They wouldn’t be bringing me in here for a speech if I never told a joke, if I never used satire.”
She is a syndicated columnist for Universal Press Syndicate and in addition to appearing on U.S. talk shows, writes a legal affairs column for the conservative publication Human Events.
Ms. Coulter is visiting three universities during her trip to Canada, speaking at the University of Western Ontario, the University of Ottawa and the University of Calgary. The visit is being sponsored by the International Free Press Society, which promotes free speech, as well as the U.S.-based Clare Booth Luce Policy Institute, which encourages conservatism among young women.
Mr. Levant, on the advisory board of the International Free Press Society, said University of Ottawa has “proved the point of the whole tour,” Mr. Levant said.
“And isn’t it ironic that it takes a provocative American coming to Canada to reveal the shortcomings in Canadian free speech?”
During her Monday night speech at the University of Western Ontario, Ms. Coulter told a Muslim women to “take a camel” if she couldn’t fly.
Fatima Al-Dhaher, a political science student, complained about Ms. Coulter’s comments on Islam, including her suggestion that Muslims denied air travel use “flying carpets.”
“As a 17-year-old student of this university, Muslim, should I be converted to Christianity? Second of all, since I don’t have a magic carpet, what other modes do you suggest,” Ms. Al-Dhaher said, according to the London Free Press.
After being pressed to answer the question, Ms. Coulter said: “What mode of transportation? Take a camel.”
On CTV, she defended the camel comment, saying she was trying to give a more nuanced answer but was being heckled to respond quickly and so resorted to a quip.
Also, at the University of Western Ontario on Monday, Ms. Coulter attacked feminists, gays and “illegal aliens,” saying liberals in the U.S. regularly complain their rights are being attacked in the same manner black Americans once were.
“In America everybody wants to be black. The feminists want to be black, the illegal aliens want to be black, the gays want to be black,” she said, according to the London Free Press.
But none of these groups have serious grounds to complain, Ms. Coulter said.
“There are only two things gay men can’t do. Number one, get married to each other. Number two, throw a baseball without looking like a girl.”
i was there, it was cancelled after pandemonium that resulted chiefly from very poor organization. there was a crowd of over a thousand (the auditorium holds 450) and crazies on both sides in attendance, but in the end it was anti-coulter crazies who resorted to actual violence against student organizers and had to be thrown out by the cops.
ETA: i talked to my friend who's involved with the conservatives on campus and was helping organize the event. (he thinks coulter is crazy too for the record.) this whole thing was just such a clusterfuck. they didn't have the means to organize it correctly and prevent the riot from happening. he was working the doors, and he was being harangued by masses of angry people trying to get in who hadn't registered, and registered people who were pissed off about the crowds, etc. and he was being hounded by the press, who were yelling questions at him like who organized this, where was she, etc, just waiting for him to say something stupid so they could publish it. and then someone (there is no doubt in my mind it was a protester) pulled the fire alarm and things went to a new level of crazy. the cops were trying to get everyone out but no one was leaving. the people already inside and seated had to leave and line up again. people were getting into heated arguments waiting to get in, protests were in full swing outside, it was nuts. there was no conceivable way to get people seated and settled, and if they had i do believe that coulter would have been attacked, so it was cancelled. hardcore protesters wouldn't leave the building and had to be removed by the police. they were chanting stuff like "we have a right to be here" and "it's not really cancelled".
in my opinion the protests went way too far. yes she likely would have said something hateful and ridiculous, but using force and numbers to get the event cancelled is not the right course of action. if you disagree with her, ask her a tough question. something like this sets a nasty precedent and gives the university a nasty reputation.
that being said FUCK ANN COULTER