(Wiki Commons)

Anti-diversity op-ed should never have run in Vancouver Sun, prof says

Newspaper apologizes after printing Mark Hecht’s column on how more diversity means less social trust

A journalism professor says the controversy over an anti-diversity opinion piece published in — and then pulled online from — the Vancouver Sun has nothing to do with freedom of expression.

“Journalists have always had the ability to decide what to publish and broadcast and what not to publish and broadcast,” Sean Holman with Calgary’s Mount Royal University said Monday.

“We’re not common carriers. We’re not the telephone system.”

Mark Hecht, an instructor of geography at Mount Royal, argued in the column that showed on the weekend that more diversity means less social trust. He commended Denmark for becoming more restrictive toward immigrants.

“Can Canada learn from Denmark? The jury is out,” Hecht wrote. “But the minimum requirement is that we say goodbye to diversity, tolerance and inclusion if we wish to be a society that can rebuild the trust we used to have in one another and start accepting a new norm for immigration policy — compatibility, cohesion and social trust.”

The piece was removed from the paper’s website on Saturday, but not before it went to the printing press.

“I am dismayed by the suppression of open and rational debate in this country,” Hecht wrote in an email Monday.

Holman said he and many of his colleagues were troubled by the piece. Several Vancouver Sun journalists also denounced it on social media.

Holman said newspapers have no obligation to run op-eds — columns submitted by people unaffiliated with the paper — that don’t pass journalistic muster.

He said one major red flag in Hecht’s piece was that it cites the Gatestone Institute, a think tank that has been widely criticized for spreading anti-Muslim misinformation.

The op-ed may help fuel anti-immigrant sentiment in Canada, he suggested.

READ MORE: Scheer vows to end ‘illegal’ border crossings as part of immigration policy plan

“The Vancouver Sun should not have published this op-ed. It does not meet our standard of helping facilitate the kind of rational, empathetic, informed decision-making expected of us in a democracy.”

The Sun’s editor-in-chief, Harold Munro, apologized for the piece he said did not meet the paper’s journalistic standards.

“The Vancouver Sun is committed to promoting and celebrating diversity, tolerance and inclusion. Our vibrant community and nation are built on these important pillars,” Munro wrote.

“We are reviewing our local workflow and editorial processes to ensure greater oversight and accountability so that this does not happen again.”

Hecht’s biography on the Mount Royal website says his main interests include “invasive species dispersal, invasion, colonization and evolutionary adaptation, especially as it relates to European ecological dominance.”

He has a self-published book called “The Rules of Invasion: Why Europeans Naturally Invaded the New World.”

Neither Hecht nor Mount Royal indicated whether he still has his job at the university.

“Mount Royal, like all universities, is a place for debate, for freedom of expression and for the respectful exchange of ideas,” Jonathan Withey, dean of the faculty of science and technology, said in an e-mailed statement.

“The ideas expressed in this newspaper op-ed, while protected by freedom of expression, do not represent my personal views, nor the position of Mount Royal University as a whole.”

Lauren Krugel, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Comments are closed

Just Posted

B.C. offers early retirement, training fund for forest workers

Communities eligible for $100,000 for permanent closures

Annual Terry Fox run held in the region

Fort St. James held their annual Terry Fox run at Cottonwood Park.… Continue reading

First Nations given max compensation for Ottawa’s child-welfare discrimination

2016 ruling said feds didn’t give same funding for on-reserve kids as was given to off-reserve kids

Power restored to 120,000 customers after northern B.C. transmission failure

Lightning is suspected to be the cause of the outage, says BC Hydro

Bargain Basement moves to a new location

Photos: Community based thrift store provides necessary resources to residents

Third instance of Trudeau in skin-darkening makeup emerges

Another instance of Trudeau using makeup to darken his face has emerged, within 24 hours of the first

‘This is not a drill’: Whistler Blackcomb gets first snowfall of the season

The 7th Heaven Summit had a dusting of snow Tuesday morning

Legislature gifts, clothing, travel need better control, B.C. auditor says

Audit follows suspensions of top managers by Speaker Darryl Plecas

Photos surface of Conservative candidate at B.C. event with people in blackface

The controversial “Black Peter” character has been a feature at Sinterklaas celebrations

Arrest made after fourth threat closes a Kamloops high school in nine days

Mounties have been chasing down a series of threats made to schools across Kamloops

B.C., Alaska officials fail to reach ferry deal

Alaska Marine Highway System ferry service to Prince Rupert is scheduled to end Sept. 30

Nelson man accused of swimming naked at Toronto aquarium expected to plead guilty

David Weaver, of Nelson, was arrested and charged in October of last year

VIDEO: Party leaders react to Trudeau’s brownface photo bombshell

Fallout from Justin Trudeau’s brownface photo, and two other instances, sure to dominate campaign

Most Read