Protesters robbed UW of an important debate

On Friday, Christie Blatchford, columnist for the Globe and Mail, was scheduled to speak at the University of Waterloo to promote her new book Helpless: Caledonia’s Nightmare of Fear and Anarchy, and How the Law Failed All of Us. Within, she gives a scathing critique of how the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) failed to protect the citizens of Caledonia and allowed a breakdown of the rule of law. Her speech was cancelled after a small group of individuals stormed the stage, demanding that Blatchford not address the audience.

For individuals that complain endlessly (and rightly) about their freedom of speech being infringed upon at the G20 protests, it is hypocrisy in the extreme to prevent others from practicing their right on campuses and in society in general. Stifling Blatchford’s event also discredits their call for equality and freedom of expression.

Blatchford admits that her book does not address the historical treaties like the Haldimand Proclamation and is rather an account of the events that transpired and a critique on how the OPP stood by while the rule of law in Caledonia faltered.

While it is a legitimate critique that her argument is weaker by not addressing the Native side of the argument, this is hardly racism, as those protesting advocate. Despite claims that Blatchford spreads hatred, the way in which protesters attempted to convey this message completely discredited their point. Tossing the words “racist” and “Nazi” around in anger as they did cheapens the cause of combating legitimate racism that exists in society.

If certain individuals disagreed with Blatchford’s opinions, they had an opportunity to question her in the question and answer period of the event. Instead, they behaved in a disrespectful manner and subsequently robbed the audience of the opportunity for needed debate and dialogue.