Friday, October 22, 2010

Steyn Cancellation Con?

Here's the time-line Ari, Andrew and Co. from Strictly Right are giving for the events behind the London Convention Centre's refusal to book Mark Steyn into their facility for his November 1st speech:

A trio of bloggers who run the site inquired on Monday about booking a Nov. 1 speech for Mr. Steyn at the London Convention Centre. The group announced on Thursday that it had received a phone call from the centre saying it would not be allowed to make the booking. The Convention Centre said it was a business decision, but organizers of the speech said they were told otherwise.

“The reason offered by the LCC [in a Tuesday morning phone call] was that they had received pressure from local Islamic groups, and they didn’t want to alienate their Muslim clients. It’s interesting to note that the LCC is owned by the City of London, and is therefore a government operation,” wrote Strictly Right’s Andrew Lawton at the website.

The Monday they are referring to is October 18th; Tuesday is October 19th; and Thursday is the 21st.

Also, my Michael Coren debating buddy Andrew Lawton tells the Voice of Canada that Strictly Right first contacted the LCC on Thursday, Oct 14, 2010. Now, there are no posts on SR between October 14th and the 19th that mention the LCC as their new venue. In fact a post on the 18th shows an image of a Mark Steyn t-shirt with the venue still listed as the University of Western Ontario. Which makes sense, because we also know that the lads from SR only received the "client profile" document from the LCC on the evening of the 18th, and were never able to fill it out before next morning when they got word their booking had been rejected.

So how did these "local Islamic groups" noted above find out about the venue change and know who to pressure? I don't see how they could have.

And I would just point out how much difficulty Canadian Conservatives typically experience when they attempt to rent a room. It seems beyond their capabilities.


Robert McClelland said...

The general manager of the LCC also denies there were any calls about Steyn's appearance.

"They told us that due to pressure from local Islamic groups and because they don't want to alienate their Muslim clients, we can't have him there," Lawton said.
Absolutely not true, Da Silva said. The centre hasn't had any outside calls about the Steyn event, she said.
Da Silva said the security risk and possible crowd rowdiness, plus lack of the "client profile," led to the decision to reject the speaker.
"It was a business decision. It wasn't a political one," she said.

Andrew Lawton said...

Hi Michael, I haven't been responding on individual blogs, but I think that your points are quite valid, so I wanted to respond to you and your readers for what it's worth.

The London Convention Centre was contacted on Thursday October 14th, leading to a back-and-forth email exchange between myself and my contact at the LCC. Due to scheduling, no telephone conversation took place until Monday, after I had the expense approved by "my people." The T-Shirts you mentioned were designed and created before we contemplated moving the venue from UWO, and by a third party.

No post was made regarding the London Convention Centre simply because it wasn't a sure thing, so we didn't want to promote a non-existant change in venue.


bigcitylib said...


So will you acknowledge that, whatever you might have been told by the LCC, it would have been impossible for local "Islamic Groups" to have had any real influence on their decision. This is not to say anything about the LCCs decision making processes, which may well have involved considerations about what how their Muslim clients might have reacted to Steyn's appearance.

ridenrain said...

To what purpose would they do this?

This is spin to hide the fact that "progressives" only support free speech that they agree with.

WhigWag said...

@ridenrain: no, it shows certain Conservatives try to blame dark forces & create hype to cover their ineptness in making basic event-planning arrangements. (kinda like Colbert is doing in a comical way, in, um, not knowing he had to apply for a permit to hold a mass rally). But trust you to try to plant a talking point in a smoldering turd, as usual.

double nickel said...

ridenrain = 1 trick pony. Apologies to genuine ponies everywhere.

Robert McClelland said...

This is spin to hide the fact that "progressives" only support free speech that they agree with.

You misspelled conservatives. They are the ones who cheer when someone they disagree with is silenced.

Gene Rayburn said...

Hey I heard blogger has a ridofbrain=spam button now.

Dr.Dawg said...

Lawton's evasion of the main point is quite telling, isn't it?

Meanwhile, the Speech Warriors over at Jay Currie's are at pains to explain why this is a free speech issue, but Delic and Galloway weren't.

Such writhing is interesting to watch. Why do these folks not simply admit that their invocation of "free speech" is a blind?

Jim Parrett said...

Wow. A small slew of small dead animals has invaded my blog and have begun stacking the poll on who's lying in this matter. So much fun. Thank gawd I stopped anonymous comments last week. It's crazy over there in the tunnels under the earth.