News Agencies – May 10, 2011
The federally-funded National Arts Centre was surprised to learn it was hosting a talk by a Dutch politician facing charges of inciting hatred for making anti-Islamic statements in his own country. Geert Wilders, who is taking part in a cross-Canada speaking tour hosted by the International Free Press Society and the Canada Christian College, is infamous for his descriptions of Islam as a fascist religion, his declaration that Muslim youth are violent and his calls for a ban of the Koran.
Mr. Wilders, the leader of Holland’s Freedom Party, spoke to about 150 people at the invitation-only event at the National Arts Centre along with Sun News Network host Ezra Levant and two other speakers. The Toronto speech was held at the Canada Christian College, a private institution. The Ottawa speech was held at the Arts Centre, which receives nearly half of its funding from the federal government.
NAC spokeswoman Rosemary Thompson said that the International Free Press Society called the catering department about a month ago and said that they had a Dutch MP coming to Canada for a speaking tour and that it was part of the Tulip Festival. The Canadian Tulip Festival – an annual event in Ottawa – had nothing to do with the event involving Mr. Wilders.