In a nearly 2,600-word letter, UBC Students for Free Expression has defended its decision to invite the "founding citizen" of the "Republic of Kanata" to a forum on residential schools.
Kevin Annett is also a former United Church minister who was fired in 1995 after claiming that the church was covering up the existence of mass graves of Indigenous people on Vancouver Island.
Annett later founded an "international tribunal into crimes of church and state", which indicted Queen Elizabeth II and Pope Benedict XVI as defendants.
UBC's administration cancelled the November 17 event, claiming that it "would adversely affect campus and community safety".
UBC Students for Free Expression claimed that Annett has twice been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize. (The Nobel Peace Prize website states that the names of nominees and other information about the nominations cannot be revealed until 50 years later.)
In recent years, Annett tried to encourage others to become sovereign citizens of the Republic of Kanata. He insists that its citizens are not subject to the laws of Canada.
In his role as convener of this independent republic, Annett has called for Justin Trudeau to be charged with treason and criminal conspiracy in a common-law court action. He has stated that this is due to Trudeau putting Canada under a state of "indefinite martial law".
Last year, Annett stated that "sheriffs" of the Republic of Kanata were going to hold a meeting to discuss how to prevent COVID-19 vaccines from being distributed.
"We're going to stop that from happening," Annett said on video.
UBC Students for Free Expression said that the Straight's decision to "characterize Annett as primarily opposed to Vaccines is deeply uncharitable, and paints an inaccurate picture of the event, given that Annett was not addressing this issue at the event, nor were any of the speakers".
In the letter, the group revealed that Annett objected to the presence of filmmaker Lauren Southern on the panel with him and a former RCMP officer and residential-school survivor named George Brown.
Southern made a controversial documentary entitled "The Canadian Mass Graves Hoax". In it, she claimed there was no evidence of the Catholic Church covering up the existence of unmarked and undocumented graves at or near former Indian residential schools.
UBC Students for Free Expression offered Annett several alternative arrangements after he objected to Southern's presence on the panel. They included running a solo event with Southern and a second event with Annett "possibly with a broader focus on Republic Free Kanata".
With regard to the cancellation, UBC Students for Free Expression stated that this decision demonstrates—within the administration—"an unwillingness to enable open dialogue and an authoritarian urge to act censoriously in order to appease those who are unable or unwilling to challenge the views of speakers with whom they disagree".
"Given that none of the speakers, or any of the attendees had threatened or condoned violence or recklessness, we can only guess that UBC was anticipating the precipitation of such behavior by those who sought to have the event cancelled," the group stated. "If this is the case—and there is no indication otherwise—then the University has tacitly accepted the use of violence to shut down political dissent. Such a decision is detrimental to a free society, and fundamentally accelerates the division of our society."
UBC Students for Free Expression's claim that none of the speakers "had threatened or condoned violence or recklessness" came in the wake of Annett's previous statements in favour of seizing public buildings and property, including the courts, for Common Law Assemblies. In a September 23, 2020 video, Annett also appeared to endorse efforts to dismantle 5G towers.