Saturday, March 27, 2010

Ann Coulter Again

Ann Coulter at book signing in London, Ont.
I don't do this often but this lady gave a talk in London and made a lot of waves, which is not unexpected if you know anything about Ann Coulter.

She then went to Ottawa where her talk was cancelled and a lot of media reports have made it sound as if she were prevented from speaking. I made some calls to people in the newspaper industry and discovered the general feeling was the protests were small and pretty mild. I called the Ottawa police for the straight goods. Please read the following and then mentally let Canada off the hook for the Ann Coulter brouhaha.

Conservative commentator Ann Coulter was in the middle of a Canadian tour this week to promote her new book. After a stop in London, ON, Coulter headed to Ottawa. Ahead of the Ottawa appearance, however, Coulter's security detail informed her it may not be safe to speak and so the event was cancelled. Since then, Coulter has publicly lashed out at organizers and officials in Ottawa over the way she has been treated.

Despite media reports and angry words from Coulter, Ottawa police say they did not shut down the event. I spoke directly with Alain Boucher, Ottawa Police Services media relations officer, who said, "It was a decision by organizers and her own security." He said, in no uncertain terms, "We didn't shut it (the event) down."

Furthermore, there weren't thousands of protesters as has been reported by some media outlets. In fact, the best police estimate of the crowd size is 1,500 and that is everyone. Many in the crowd were there simply to hear Coulter speak and were not there to protest. Boucher refused to be drawn into estimating the exact number of protesters.

Cst. Alain Boucher
In addition, there was no mob nor riot. "We had no fears that anything would occur," Boucher said. "When asked to leave, [the crowd] all left." Boucher said with large crowds the police are always alert to changes in the group mood, but said the crowd did not get way out of hand and there were no arrests.

Boucher also said the Ottawa police took the protest seriously and were not undermanned. There were 10 officers visible at the scene, "plus other resources" nearby. There was "more than enough" police presence at the event. That said, the police, while taking care not to aggravate the situation, were also prepared to handle any possible escalation of crowd action.

Although it has been widely reported that police were monitoring Facebook and had informed Coulter's people of an apparent menacing tone in Facebook activity ("bring sticks, bring rocks") Boucher had no knowledge of any of this and could not supply  any Facebook links.

Boucher confirmed "no damage was reported."

3 comments:

Birdman said...

I LOVE it!

Jacob said...

Oh UGH!

Anonymous said...

We enjoyed your DJ articles about Ann Coulter. We were especially curious as to why none of the major newspapers bothered to phone the Ottawa police and find out the true story.

"Curiouser and curiouser." Maybe we are becoming a society that only wants to hear that which seems outrageous.