(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

Car drives into Vic West TD Canada Trust building

No one was injured, building damaged

Cans and bottles destined for Cops for Cancer fundraiser stolen from Sooke RCMP Detachment

Cans and bottles collected to raise funds for Canadian Cancer Society

Non-conforming Oak Bay duplex stamped as heritage triplex

St. David Street character house to undergo heritage revitalization

Our Place Society would like to see modular housing in Saanich Peninsula communities

Don Evans, executive director, said he would like to see modular housing in every CRD municipality

VIDEO: Grizzly bears fight along northern B.C. highway in rare footage

Cari McGillivray posted the head-turning video, shot near Stewart, B.C., to social media

Police arrest B.C. phone scammer linked to illegal call centres in India

Person arrested in Burnaby here on a work visa, says police

Air Canada forced girl, 12, to remove hijab: civil rights group

The San Francisco Bay Area office of the Council on American-Islamic Relations calling for change

Man from Winnipeg who was hiking alone found dead in Banff National Park

RCMP say the man was hiking alone on Mount Temple Thursday

One-in-five British Columbians think they’ll win big while gambling: study

Roughly 58 per cent of British Columbians bought at least one lottery ticket in past year

Resident finds loaded shotgun inside a duffle bag in Kelowna alleyway

RCMP seized a loaded 12-gauge shotgun, ammunition, clothing and other items

Graffiti, calls and Snapchat: RCMP probe string of threats targeting Kamloops schools

There have been nine different threats made to four different schools in the city

B.C. truck drivers to face higher fines for not using winter tire chains

As of Oct. 1, not using chains on the highway when required could net you a $598 ticket

Singh campaigns in Toronto, May in Winnipeg, as Liberal and Tory leaders pause

All parties expected to be back on the campaign trail Sunday

Most Read