Gentlemen, you can't fight in here! This is the War Room.
Adam McDowell, National Post · Friday, Oct. 22, 2010
Organizers of an upcoming talk by conservative writer Mark Steyn planned for London, Ont., say they were muzzled by a local city-owned convention centre.
A trio of bloggers who run the site StrictlyRight.com 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.
Lori Da Silva, general manager of the Convention Centre, said the bloggers approached the centre last Thursday but didn't submit a required "client profile" - basically, financial and other information the centre would need to bill them for the room.
That amounts to censorship at a city-owned facility, Lawton countered.
City manager Jeff Fielding said the centre is free to do what it wants since it operates arms-length from city hall.
"The Convention Centre has its own board and its own administration and is free to make its own business decisions," he said.