CAFE Protests Suspension of 17 Year Old Manitoba High School Girl for Poster Opposing Rainbow Poppy
Canadian Association for Free Expression
Rexdale, Ontario, M9W 5L3
Paul Fromm, B.Ed, M.A. Director
Mr. J. Cassils, Principal
Stonewall Collegiate Institute,
297 5 St W,
Dear Mr. Cassils:
I write to protest your suspension of Natalie Salisbury and another student for a pamphlet they published outlining their support for the traditional red and black poppy instead of a rainbow poppy to commemorate Remembrance Day.
The facts, as we understand them, are as follows:
1. Natalie Salisbury, 17, and a friend unnamed in media reports, are students at Stonewall Collegiate Institute
2. Her music teacher urged the school orchestra to wear rainbow poppies for the school Remembrance Day ceremonies. She told LifeSite News:
“It all started when teachers, counselors, and some students said we
should wear the rainbow poppy … ” Natalie said, adding that she
disagreed. “I typed up papers on a computer, printed them off, and taped
them up in the halls.”
3. Natalie and her friend refused and put up posters explaining her reasons, chiefly that the LGBTQ community had a whole month dedicated to them.
4. She was called to the principal’s office and suspended for “hate speech.” When she tried to record the suspension order on her cellphone, it was seized. She was warned that reporting the incident on social media would lead to further consequences.
I want to protest the bullying of this student by the school administration. The accusation of “hate speech” is outrageous. I have provided support and advice at numerous human rights hearings. The accusation of “hate speech” in legal terms can only be made if a person has been charged, tried and convicted for “wilful promotion of hate” against one of a number of privileged groups under Sec. 319 of the Criminal Code (the “hate law”). Clearly, Ms Salisbury has never been convicted. The accusation of “hate speech” is inflammatory and intimidating. The accusation usually tells one more about the accuser than the impugned speech. “Hate speech” is speech the accuser hates.
It is ironic that Natalie Salisbury’s right to free speech, to express herself in decent terms on an issue of the day, was throttled in regards to Remembrance Day, the very day on which we honour those who fought in the belief they were securing our rights and freedoms.
Your behaviour was shameful. You owe the two young women an apology.
p.s. I phoned the school at 2:00 p.m. Manitoba time on Friday to try to obtain your correct e-mail address. The phone rang for a very long time but there was no answer nor was the call directed to an answering machine.