(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

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Clearwater mayor unimpressed with Forest Minister’s inaction on local tenure transfer

Mayor Merlin Blackwell says he’s ready to lead delegation to Victoria

Valley Voice: Remembering the tools of yesteryear

Barriere and District Heritage Society talks about a few mundane modern tasks that were once laborous and time consuming

Replacement of Beaton Road Bridge in Kamloops set to begin

Construction will begin March 2, closing the east end of the road to all traffic

Blue River Powder Packers blocked from accessing popular riding areas

Snowmobile tourism group loses revenue over lack of notice from logging activity

New group gives support to children with exceptionalities

Clearwater YCS is offering new support program for families with children who have exceptionalities

VIDEO: Illicit drug overdoses killed 981 in B.C. in 2019, down 38%

Chief coroner says figures were down about a third in the province’s fourth year of the opioid crisis

VIDEO: B.C.’s seventh coronavirus patient at home in Fraser Health region

Canada in ‘containment’ as COVID-19 spreads in other countries

B.C. takes over another Retirement Concepts senior care home

Summerland facility latest to have administrator appointed

RCMP pull office from Wet’suwet’en territory, but hereditary chiefs still want patrols to end

Chief says temporary closure of field office not enough as Coastal GasLink pipeline dispute drags on

Prescription opioids getting B.C. addicts off ‘poisoned’ street drugs

Minister Judy Darcy says Abbotsford pilot project working

Royals, Elvis, Captain Cook: Hundreds of wax figures find new life in B.C. man’s home

Former director of Victoria’s Royal London Wax Museum still hopes to revive wax figure tourism

Teck CEO says Frontier withdrawal a result of tensions over climate, reconciliation

Don Lindsay speaks at mining conference, a day after announcing suspension of oilsands project

Father and children killed in fatal crash near Kamloops

The family was travelling from Southern Alberta

Okanagan man swims across Columbia River to evade Trail police

RCMP Cpl. Devon Reid says the incident began the evening of Thursday, Feb. 20

Most Read