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After Concordia allowed the Netanyahu riot to set a precedent by initially not allowing Ehud Barak to speak, it seems free speech is now only a privilege of the side of rioters. A planned speech by US Ambassador Paul Cellucci at UQÀM was cancelled for “security concerns”:

Following on Concordia University’s decision last month to call off a speech by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak, the Universite du Quebec a Montreal yesterday cancelled an address by the U.S. ambassador to Canada, Paul Cellucci.

Cellucci was to have spoken at 2 p.m. yesterday at a conference organized by the Raoul Dandurand chair in strategic and diplomatic studies.

[ . . . ]

Nobody was able to say what the nature of the security risk was, but this week a group calling itself Bloquez l’empire (Block the Empire) sent out a statement by e-mail urging Montrealers to rally to “stop Cellucci from speaking.”

The University claimed that RCMP and US Security Officials recommended cancellation. But spokespeople from both deny that claim, and say the decision was made by the University.

The violence-rules contingent is crowing over their success:

Cellucci represents a regime whose ambitions to political and economic domination are expressed ruthlessly, but have the merit, at least, of being openly acknowledged. His legitimacy, especially after the concerns raised about election fraud in the US, should not be recognised. The only place Cellucci should be allowed to speak is before a tribunal, trying him for complicity with crimes against humanity.

The cancellation is a minor victory, and a little indication of what can be done – especially around the coming visit of Bush to Ottawa (30 November-1 December).

If this keeps up, it will kill free speech everywhere. Mob rule is being permitted far too much success. Eventually, only one viewpoint will be represented: that of the groups willing to resort to violence to suppress all speech besides theirs.

Concordia has set a very dangerous precedent. What people need to realize is that yesterday, it was an Israeli former PM who wasn’t allowed to speak. Today, it was a US ambassador. Tomorrow, it may be your speech that’s suppressed.

This is an issue that affects us all.