This morning, Straight.com featured an article about an upcoming UBC Students for Freedom of Expression panel discussion featuring two controversial speakers.
Hours later, the university banned the November 17 event, which was going to feature filmmaker Lauren Southern and sovereign-citizen supporter and antivaccine activist Kevin Annett, along with residential-school survivor George Brown.
"To be clear, this was not an event sponsored by anyone at the University of British Columbia," UBC vice president Peter Smailes said in a statement. "The host of the event is an external group that is not endorsed by UBC."
He went on to say that UBC has reviewed the requested event-booking.
"Although the university does and will continue to support academic freedom, we have determined that this event should not proceed," Smailes declared. "We believe proceeding with this event would adversely affect campus and community safety."
One of Southern's films is called "The Canadian Mass Grave Hoax", which absolves the Catholic Church of any guilt in the discovery of unmarked graves on former residential-school sites in B.C. and Saskatchewan.
Annett has described himself as the convener of the Republic of Kanata, which has called for Justin Trudeau and others to be charged with treason and criminal conspiracy in a common-law court action for putting the country under a state of "indefinite martial law".
"This destruction of our most cherished and fundamental liberties can never be justified, especially on the grounds of a Corona flu virus which is not as lethal nor as prevalent as a normal seasonal flu," Annett wrote in a post in April 2020. "Trudeau’s arbitrary actions and the police state they are creating are part of a proven global corporate agenda to impose mandatory vaccinations and bio-metric micro-chipping on a controlled and enslaved world population. We must all say no to this monstrous, genocidal plan."
None of Annett's allegations have been proven in a Canadian court or tribunal hearing.
Southern tweeted that she isn't surprised by the cancellation of the event.
Meanwhile, UBC Students for Freedom of Expression acknowledged on its Facebook page that the live portion of the event with Southern and Annett has been cancelled. The event featuring Southern and Annett is also advertised on the group's YouTube channel as a livestreamed event.
"We had been planning this event for months with Kevin Annett, former minister and whistleblower on church abuses of indigenous people, George Brown, residential school survivor and former RCMP officer investigating residential schools, and Lauren Southern, investigative journalist and documentarian," UBC Students for Freedom of Expression president Lillian Crossman said in a statement.
"George Brown was invited as a speaker by Annett who was told from the beginning that the event would be a discussion between individuals of differing opinions on the legacy of residential schools in Canada," she continued. "Both Annett and Brown knew that Lauren Southern would be speaking and SFE was upfront about her views on Indigenous issues. All speakers were aware of who would be part of the panel, the opinions that would be discussed, and the format of the event and, with this knowledge, had agreed to participate.
"Everything was set to go until we announced the event publicly a little over a week before it was set to take place. The next day, Annett sent an email accusing SFE of putting Brown in danger. Before we could fully discuss the matter with him further, he notified us that he had reported SFE to the university and intended to go the the media and possibly the police as well. We never heard from George Brown directly about any of these concerns. A few days later, SFE got an email from UBC notifying us they were doing a risk assessment on our event and a day later they announced it would be cancelled. I would like to refer to UBC's 1976 Statement on Academic Freedom as evidence that this event was within the bounds of what is allowable at the university."