Administrators at the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQAM) say they will develop a formal policy for outside groups renting campus space for events after a controversial lecture about 9/11 drew fire by academic staff.
But the French-language university defended its right to have contentious speakers lecture on campus as part of free speech, saying it was appropriate to debate ideas, as long as events don’t incite riots.
Editor’s Note: David Ray Griffin’s current speaking tour, during which he’s presenting a talk entitled “Is the War in Afghanistan Justified by 9/11?“, has sparked quite a controversy in Canadian press. Following is a compilation of media articles as well as videos of his speech in Chicago and Walkerton, Ontario.
The tour wraps up this week with U.S. engagements in Portland, ME on May 6, West Hartford, CT on May 7 and Cambridge, MA on May 8. (Details at TS911T.org )
The Monday night lecture, hosted by World for 9/11 Truth, drew about 700 people who came to hear from two U.S. academics who deny the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks were carried out by terrorists.
The researchers—David Ray Griffin and Richard Gage—believe the U.S. government played a major role in orchestrating the deadly attacks on New York City’s Twin Towers and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Griffin and Gage are lobbying for an independent inquiry into the attacks, which killed 3,000 people. Their theories—part of the self-titled Truthers movement that formed after Sept. 11—have been repeatedly discounted by scientists and civil engineering experts.
U.S. experts at UQÀM upset
Some professors at the school argue conspiracy theories have no place at UQÀM.
Julien Tourreille, who holds the Raoul-Dandurand chair in strategic and diplomatic issues, told Montreal media outlets that Truthers are intellectually dishonest.
“I think it’s a shame to see UQÀM’s name associated to such a movement,” Tourreille told Montreal newspaper La Presse last week. “It doesn’t help the credibility of a research institution that tries to demonstrate that it employs serious people.”
U.S. experts at other Quebec institutions, including Steven Saideman at McGill University and Louis Balthazar at Laval University, also spoke out in public against the conference.
Griffin and Gage gave a similar talk at the University of Toronto over the weekend.
9/11 skeptics launch Canadian speaking tour
April 30, 2010
The Canadian Press
Three Canadian universities will be used as venues for a speaking tour by prominent 9/11 skeptics.
Americans Richard Gage and David Ray Griffin dispute the conventional wisdom that foreign terrorists linked to al-Qaida brought down the Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001.
They will give lectures at the University of Toronto, Carleton University and the University of Quebec in Montreal over the coming days.
Faculty members at the Montreal university told a city newspaper they are upset the institution is being used for the event.
One says it harms the school’s credibility.
This tour comes right on the heels of a free-speech controversy that erupted when US pundit Ann Coulter had an appearance cancelled at the University of Ottawa.
U.S. skeptics to speak of 9-11 cover-up at three Canadian universities
Apr 30 2010
by Andy Blatchford
The Canadian Press
MONTREAL--Three Canadian universities will be used as a venue for a speaking tour by prominent 9-11 skeptics who believe controlled explosions—not airplanes—brought down the Twin Towers.
Americans Richard Gage and David Ray Griffin dispute the conventional wisdom that foreign terrorists linked to al-Qaeda destroyed the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, 2001.
They are scheduled to give lectures titled “9/11: Explosive Evidence and the War in Afghanistan” at the University of Toronto, Carleton University and the University of Quebec in Montreal (UQÀM) over the coming days.
The Ontario Association of Architects is inviting students in its continuing education program to take in the event for extra credit.
This tour comes right on the heels of a free-speech controversy that erupted when U.S. pundit Ann Coulter had an appearance cancelled at the University of Ottawa.
UQÀM says the conference is not a school-sponsored activity; it’s simply renting out a 700-person auditorium.
“The university is a place of thought and free expression of certain opinions and I think that’s one of guiding principles,” spokeswoman Francine Jacques said Friday.
Faculty members at the Montreal university told La Presse they are upset the institution is being used for the event.
One told the newspaper it harms the school’s credibility, calling the speakers “liars, impostors and conmen.”
Jacques says the university carefully examined the lecture topic before opting to rent the space to Gage and Griffin—a decision she admits is debatable.
“We questioned it and we’ll see how things go,” said Jacques.
She added that the school is now evaluating whether its rental policy should be stricter.
Gage was scheduled to appear solo at Carleton on Friday, and will be joined by Griffin on Sunday in Toronto and Monday in Montreal.
Gage’s organization believes the World Trade Center — the two towers and a third 47-storey building — collapsed from the controlled detonation of explosives, not the impact of two airplanes.
Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth wants the U.S. Congress to launch an “independent” probe into the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks and disputes the results of official investigations so far.
Griffin is a retired theology professor and author of several books on an alleged 9-11 coverup.
His discussion will focus on the legal and moral aspects of the war in Afghanistan, which was a response to the Sept. 11 attacks.
An organizer for the Toronto event says the bestseller, “American Conspiracies: Lies, Lies, and More Dirty Lies That the Government Tells Us,” by former Minnesota governor Jesse Ventura, has re-ignited interest in the issue.
“There’s just been another push for getting the message out that we really do have to reconsider 9-11, not as an attack of Arab Muslims, but re-examine it for what the facts actually tell us,” said Adam Parrott, an engineer-in-training and member of Gage’s group.
Parrot, who expects a near sellout of about 500 people, chose the University of Toronto primarily because of its central location. He distributed flyers promoting the event to architectural firms, encouraging professionals to attend.
“This 9-11 truth message, or this questioning of the official account, has really become mainstream and it’s something that is actively discussed and is not as taboo as it used to be,” Parrott said.
A spokeswoman for the University of Toronto says the school has no problem with the lecture as long as event organizers follow the rental contract rules and allow a free exchange of ideas.
“It’s just an external booking, they booked the space, so there’s no university involvement in it whatsoever,” Laurie Stephens said.
A debate over free speech on Canadian campuses recently made headlines outside this country.
In March, hundreds of shouting protesters forced the cancellation of Coulter’s speech at the University of Ottawa, which officials deemed a security threat.
02 May 2010
During his lecture on May 1st, 2010 in Walkerton Ontario, Dr. David Ray Griffin challenged Canadians and the Canadian 9/11 Truth Movement to unite and demand a Canadian investigation into 9/11.
David Ray Griffin on 9/11 & the War in Afghanistan -- May 1st, 2010 Walkerton ON. Canada at the Victoria Jubilee Hall