Friday, May 10, 2013

Free Speech Meddling by Municipal Police

York Regional Police (YRP) Inspector, Ricky Veerappan, the head of the Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Bureau, recently betrayed Canada’s Charter of Rights, specifically, the constitutional protection of free speech.

Insp. Veerappan took it upon himself to strong-arm Rabbi Mendel Kaplan to cancel a Pamela Geller speaking engagement at his synagogue.  Insp. Veerappan explained, “Some of the stuff that Ms. Geller speaks about runs contrary to the values of York Regional Police and the work we do in engaging our communities.”

I don’t know what cultural values informs Insp. Veerappan to presume that suppression of free speech by police officials is a Canadian cultural value, or is that just the values held by the YRP? He makes a big deal that the rabbi is a volunteer chaplain with the YRP and that his position would be re-evaluated if his synagogue hosted Pamela Geller. Get the message!?

Insp. Veerappan follows a policy of guilt by association. Insp.  Veerappan presumes to know what Pamela Geller will say before she says it. Insp. Veerappan presumes that the rabbi endorses the future words that Pamela Geller might speak. It is a pre-emptive move to suppress speech, but also an intervention preventing you or I from hearing things that run contrary to the values of the YRP.

It is obvious that Insp.  Veerappan does not believe in diversity in his part of the woods. It is a progressive malady, exampled locally with the lynch mob swarming of school trustee Gordon Gilchrist a few years back. “We believe in diversity, said the progressive, “except for this, for that, for those …”

It is obvious that Insp. Veerappan believes in exclusion rather than inclusion. One of the values of the YRP is to exclude speech that “runs contrary to the values of the YRP.”

This makes me wonder what kind of speech might run contrary to the values of the Cobourg Police. It would be good to know, especially now, when municipal police intervention to curtail free speech has set a precedent and direction by the York Regional Police. It would be a heart-warming assurance if the Cobourg Police Board denounced such free speech meddling by police.    

published May 10, 2013, Northumberland Today.