A group of U. S. professors launched a campaign this week protesting plans by a prominent political science organization to hold its annual conference in Toronto next year, claiming that Canada's restrictions on certain forms of speech puts controversial academics at risk of being prosecuted.Bradley Watson, professor of American and Western political thought at Pennsylvania's St. Vincent College, seems to be leading the charge by presenting a petition to the American Political Science Association (APSA) to re-evaluate its selection of Toronto for its 2009 conference.
Mr. Watson said that professors signing the petition are concerned that recent human rights commission investigations into Maclean's and Western Standard magazines over articles concerning Islam, and the conviction of pastor Stephen Boisson, who was ordered by Alberta's human rights tribunal in May to cease publicizing criticisms of homosexuality, suggest that professors risk being chilled from discussing important academic subjects, or ending up in legal trouble.So who is Mr. Watson
He is a professor at Pennsylvania's St. Vincent College, home of the bearcats. He certainly is well schooled with an impressive list of degrees and awards and seems to have started his career in Canada, with a law degree from Queens and B.A. in economics and polisci from UBC before heading south.
As for his political and social leanings (since that is partly what he is concerned about) you can quickly find a couple articles by the professor posted on the web.
The first is a part of a six part series posted on Glenn Beck's talk show site here. If you don't know Glenn Beck, it is probably a good thing as he is one of the right wing, neocon talking heads, that has a spot on CNN as well as his national Rush Limbaughesque radio show.From the first part of Mr. Watson's series we learn that he is at least a Reaganite and based on the company he is keeping a religious conservative (after all St. Vincent College is a leading Catholic University).
The second article is probably more revealing. Here Mr. Watson writes about banning same sex marriage in California on religious, conservative web site. Mr. Watson is not in favor of same sex marriage rights.In the end I don't really understand the professor's fear other than it might just be the typical religious right strategy of making a mountains out of mole hills.
Don't worry Mr. Watson we have free speech in Canada as you must remember from your time spent here. And to make you feel more comfortable we have a number of right wing religious fanatical groups too, although we are unsure of the number.
So don't be afraid come on up, just don't get too hateful.
Besides it might give us someone else to post about instead of these idiots.