(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

Sailings cancelled between Brentwood Bay and Mill Bay

Due to a mechanical issue with the MV Klitsa

Mount Douglas Secondary hit with sanctions over Rams football recruitment

Fine handed down over recruitment claim will hit school, not the coach or players

Council tags two more Oak Bay homes for bylaw infringement

Monterey homeowner covers front yard in gravel and stone

Federal Election 2019: What you need to know in the Victoria riding

Meet your candidates and more information on how to cast your ballot

Scheer, Trudeau, Singh haggle over potential minority government outcome

If you believe the polls, it appears the Liberals and Conservatives are neck-and-neck

POLL: Do you think the day of the federal election should be a statutory holiday?

Increasing voter turnout has long been a goal of officials across the… Continue reading

Kawhi Leonard, former Toronto Raptor, welcomed back to Vancouver at pre-season game

Fans go wild at pre-season game between L.A. Clippers and Dallas Mavericks at Rogers Arena

Greens and NDP go head to head on West Coast; Scheer takes fight to Bernier

Trudeau turns focus to key ridings outside Toronto after two days in Quebec

Canucks beat Stanley Cup champs 4-3 in a shootout

Leivo nets winner, Vancouver dumps St. Louis for fourth straight win

Campbell River homicide suspects arrested in Vancouver

Two men remain in custody, but have not been charged

‘The more you test, the more you find’: Beef recalls a sign of success, experts say

Despite appearances, experts say a recent rise in major recalls is not a sign of food supply problems

Scholars say religious vaccine objections can’t be traced to Biblical sources

Vaccinations are a requirement to attend class in Ontario and New Brunswick, while B.C. launched a demand this fall

ELECTION 2019: How would the major parties address Canada’s housing crisis?

Promises include speculation taxes, more affordable housing, and declaring housing a human right

Most Read