Controversial right-wing blogger invited to speak at London event
Some members of the city's Jewish community have brought in speakers critical of anti-hate laws
By RANDY RICHMOND
She has called Muslims "pathetic, whiny losers" who practise "a sick, sick religion."
She has accused Asians of spreading disease in Toronto, disparaged natives and blacks, and suggested the poor "are no more real than Bigfoot."
Now, controversial right-wing blogger Kathy Shaidle may be coming to London to speak about human rights.
The invitation to Shaidle by some members of the city's Jewish community has alarmed anti-racism activists and provided fresh ammunition to the country's heavyweight politicos over freedom of speech.
"She is a purveyor of some of the most offensive racial stereotypes I have ever read," Bernie Farber, head of the Canadian Jewish Congress, said yesterday.
"Any group that associates with or defends her is diminished by her," charged Warren Kinsella, Liberal insider and author of Web of Hate: Inside Canada's Far Right Network.
"They shouldn't have anything to do with her. They will just hurt themselves."
The controversy has the organizer of the event promising to look further into Shaidle's comments.
"If they are true, I will have nothing to do with her," said Alan Perlmutter, a Jewish activist in London.
But, he added, "I am not going to cancel her until we can cut through all the smoke and see what is being said."
Shaidle vows to show up at the April 13 event at a location still to be determined.
"I will not be intimidated. I am not going to apologize about anything I have written," she told The Free Press yesterday. "This is a goofy smear campaign by name-calling leftists."
Shaidle and fellow conservatives Ezra Levant and London's Salim Mansur have been invited to talk about the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
The three are critical of the commission and Canada's anti-hate laws, saying the laws stifle freedom of expression.
Shaidle recently co-authored The Tyranny of Nice, How Canada Crushes Freedom in the name of Human Rights and comments regularly on her blog, Five Feet of Fury.
Her appearance last month on the taxpayer-funded TVO led to an online battle between political enthusiasts and ordinary viewers.
Her scheduled appearance in London has started a similar battle in the blogosphere. Many of the blogs state the event is organized by the London Jewish Federation.
The federation's executive director, Esther Marcus, said yesterday she was asked by organizers of the event to book the Jewish Community Centre.
That was the extent of her involvement and, in any case, the organizers are now looking at another location, Marcus said. The federation is not a sponsor of the event, she said.
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