Yesterday, on February 4th, Generation Screwed (GS) co-hosted an event at the University of Toronto with Students in Support of Free Speech (SSFS).
As a student group that talks about government debt and budgets on campuses across Canada, we have been faced with red tape, attempts to change our organization's name, and even campus events being shut down.
That is why we decided to host an event that focuses on both our primary mission - government debt - and free speech on university campuses.
Unfortunately, our event yesterday at the University of Toronto was eventually shut down by a small group of protestors who attempted to enter the room. The protests began during the session "Giving the Power Back to the People - How Political Intervention Has Led to Soaring Energy Prices for Ontario" by Parker Gallant and John Bayko and continued during a speech by Ezra Levant.
When a fire alarm was pulled in an attempt to shut down free speech, police evacuated the building. We attempted to continue the event outside, but ultimately that was shut down by the University. The protestors carried the "Antifa" flag, and it was unclear if they were students. They bizarrely repeated chants about "fascism" and the "KKK", although it was unclear who they were implying were "fascists" or "KKK". We believe there is nothing controversial, fascist or racist about discussing government debt, high energy bills, or about the right of free expression.
Generation Screwed is a group that deals with how governments are passing debts to the next generation, which in our view is an important but uncontroversial topic. Any suggestion by protestors that there is a fascist or racist element to this topic or to our organization is laughable and false.
We will continue to offer events across Canada. While we are disappointed that a small group of protesters caused panic and unnecessarily burdened first responders by pulling a fire alarm, the majority of yesterday's event went smoothly and uninterrupted. When protestors did arrive, there was no violence and the Generation Screwed students conducted themselves responsibly.
We look forward to hosting more student conferences in the future. There is clearly more work to be done on both government debt and the right to free speech.