From today’s Ottawa Citizen:
[Margaret] Somerville is not a member of the Order of Canada. A nomination submitted a few years ago by Anglican minister and preaching professor Carol Finlay was unsuccessful. Ms. Finlay was told it was because Ms. Somerville was too controversial.
Or, as Andrew Coyne pointed out a few days ago about the idea that controversial or divisive figures should not necessarily be banned from receiving civilian honours:
I would have more sympathy with the argument if it ever applied in the opposite direction. But it never – ever – does. A figure as controversial as Morgentaler, but of the opposite convictions would, if he were not behind bars, be shunned by all of the organs of polite society.
This is not confined only to the abortion issue. It applies across the board. The arbiters of orthodoxy are not content with perpetually skewing every debate to one side. It is necessary also to pretend, wherever possible, that only one side exists.
Thus, for example, a Rosalie Abella of the right, should one exist, would have no hope of ever being appointed to the Supreme Court. The chorus that would rise up against such a “divisive” debate would be made up of exactly the same people who burbled contentedly at her appointment, and quite unaware of the irony.
I say this as someone who subscribes to many parts of the orthodoxy. But the smugness of it, the heedless insensitivity to other points of view, can be a little hard to take.