As well, over the last year or so, I’ve been dis-invited from several events (…) One withdrawal was because my views were seen as not being pro-life and in the other case as not being pro-choice.
Marget Somerville recalls her “Ryerson honorary degree” nightmare:
The Ryerson protestors sought to “deal” with me by labelling me. I was described as guilty of a hate crime; the new Ernst Zundel, a vitriolic Holocaust denier (who, like him, should be deported – they were grateful that I came from Australia and could be sent back there); a neo-Nazi; and a member of the Klu Klux Klan. My views had no place in the university, they claimed.
This approach sent a very powerful warning to all those who might happen to share my views – or any other non-politically correct views — that they should not speak them publicly for fear of the same kind of treatment.
The protestors demanded that the university withdraw its offer of the honorary degree and set up a poll and a website on which protests could be recorded. I also received very large amounts of hate mail. (…)
The university said that if it had known what kind of person I was, they would never have offered the degree (…)
At the convocation I had bodyguards, a special security car, a hotel booking in another name, underground entrance to the convocation hall, and so on. (…)
The university had suggested that I leave the hall immediately after my speech, but I refused, as the custom was for the honorary degree recipient to greet each graduating student. I greeted the 310 graduates individually as they came on stage to receive their degrees — many said something kind or complimentary — only two refused to shake hands, and one shook, but grimaced.
The president of Ryerson said of all the possible responses to the event as a whole, he’d anticipated, this was the only one he could never have predicted.
The Globe & Mail — Canada’s alleged “newspaper of record” misreported what happened at the convocation; Somerville reprints the letter she sent them to complain, including this juicy bit:
I gave an interview to your journalist, Scott Roberts, late yesterday afternoon after arriving back in Montreal [from Toronto]. I asked him if he had been inside the hall at convocation and heard my speech and he said, “No, I arrived late”, that is after these events took place. So how could he write what he did about the applause being ambiguous?