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Fire alarm silences controversial Wilfrid Laurier guest, organizers plan to bring her back

Last Updated Mar 21, 2018 at 9:29 am EDT

570 News/Mark Pare

Faith Goldy is a polarizing figure.

After Tuesday night’s events at Wilfrid Laurier University, the hundreds who  gathered to support, and protest the event will be marking their calendars.

As Goldy was getting ready to address the capacity crowd inside the Paul Martin Centre, a fire alarm was pulled and the building was evacuated.

Event organizers plan to reschedule.

“She never even got to speak one word,” Lindsay Shepherd — who organized the lecture — told 570NEWS, “The fire alarm was pulled while we were doing our introductury remarks.”

The event was called off soon after.

Shepherd says the turn out was fantastic, adding many are fans of free speech, even if they don’t agree with the subject matter.

“Even if at the end, they just want to ask a challenging question,” she added.

“There were some people who were clearly very antagonistic, and they still bought memberships. But you could tell, they were handing me hate mail at the same time and looked quite growly, but that’s fine.”

“Unfortunately, I don’t even know what to expect from that side of the political spectrum any more.”

Outside, faculty and students held signs, sang songs and chanted messages.

A woman took to the microphone in front of the protesters, and didn’t mince words.

“This currently is called Canada, and apparently, free speech does have curves on it in this state. We are not allowed to use free speech to dehumanize other people in ways that promotes ongoing genocide.”

She notes it wasn’t hard to conclude the university was the “perfect place and space for an intrusion like the one that is happening tonight,” before briefing the crowd on the history of Wilfrid Laurier, the seventh Prime Minister of Canada.

Among other things, she brought up the Order-in-Council signed by Laurier in August 1911 banning black immigrants from the country because they were “deemed unsuitable to the climate and requirements of Canada.

It never got invoked and was repealed two months later.

The fact Tuesday’s event was called off didn’t come as a shock to Goldy. Shepherd says Goldy was expecting this to happen.

“I was very surprised, actually,” Shepherd admitted, “I had received emails, warning me today that ‘I don’t think we’re gonna get to hear her speak tonight, but I was so optimistic.”

She said she has some faith in “the left.”

“I wanted to think the best of them,” she said, “Obviously, I didn’t have to think the best of them because they just did the usual in their tactics of disruption and shutting down…they don’t want to hear anything that they’re not happy with and they don’t even want to question it.” Said Shepherd.

Shepherd says everyone is disappointed, noting people drove from out of town and signed up for memberships at Laurier to see Goldy’s event.

However, she adds this won’t stop her from trying this again.

“Now we know that we’ll invite her back. We’ll figure out a way to do this and I don’t know how many hundreds of people were here, but we know we need a bigger room now.”