The launch of the Clarion Fund documentary Iranium in Canada was disrupted when Library and Archives Canada, a Federal agency, knuckled under to a request from the Iranian Embassy in Ottawa to cancel showings, the latter claimed it was “biased and on-sided.” The documentary showing was cancelled a second time because of security concerns given the receipt of threats. This clearly frosted the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper and especially Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore. Moore ordered that the film be shown in the Canadian government facility under his jurisdiction. He considered it an affront to free speech in Canada and didn’t appreciate the Iranian Embassy dictating what films will be shown, especially in a Canadian government facility, even when there is a threat of violence. He did not “appreciate being dictated to by the government of President Ahmadinejad.”
Watch this interview with CBC journalist Evan Solomon. Note Solomon comment about Moore’s actions playing into anti-Islamic propaganda. Solomon cites Clarion Fund productions like “Obssession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West” and “The Third Jihad: Radical Islam Agenda for America” to bolster this dhmmi-like posture. Moore sweeps that allegation aside with his focus on the interference of a foreign government in the affairs of Canada thereby stifling free speech.
A news release issued by Clarion from New York, today, notes the range of Harper government official comments and the film’s schedule for release in the US in February, including special events in Washington, DC.
Canada had defied Iranian attempts to prevent the film from being viewed.
The Canadian government led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper sent a diplomatic note to Iran following the incident reiterating that Canada is a free country and that freedom of expression is a core value that won't be compromised.
Canadian ministers were furious over the cancelation, seen as bowing to diplomatic pressure from Iran, and restricting Canadian's rights to freedom of speech. Mr. Moore made strong statements condemning the cancelation of the event. Mr. Moore insisted that a screening would in fact take place in the federal building.
"This movie will be shown, the agreement will be kept and this movie Iranium will be shown at Library and Archives Canada. We will not be moving it to a different facility, we're not bending to any pressure," said Mr. Moore.
"People need to be kept safe, but we don't back down to people who try to censor people by threats of violence."
"Canada does not accept attempts from the Iranian Embassy to dictate what films will and will not be shown in Canada," Mr. Moore added.
The National Archives buckled to pressure and canceled the event as threats of protest grew. The building was ultimately shutdown when two suspicious packages were found.
Minister of Immigration Jason Kenney called the cancelation "outrageous."
"The response to the cancelation by senior members of Canada's government, in particular Minister James Moore has been extremely refreshing," said Alex Traiman, Director of Iranium.
"It has been a principle of the Iranian government to stifle free speech inside Iran. I am glad that the regime will not get away with attempts to do the same in North America.
"Canada is standing up and defending its values against Iranian tyranny," Traiman added.
The film documents the statements and actions of Iranian leaders since the Islamic Revolution of 1979, including the buildup of Iran's nuclear program through the Presidential Elections of 2009.
The National Archives event was to be the first major screening of Iranium in Canada.The film is premiering in the United States < The film's flagship premiere event will take place on Capitol Hill, hosted by House Majority LeaderRep. Eric Cantor (R-VA).On the same date, the film will be screened in AMC theaters in select cities and in community centers across the country.The film will also be made available for free online streaming to the first 50,000 registrants at http://www.iraniumthemovie.com.
Narrated by Academy Award Nominee and Emmy Award Winning Iranian actress, Shohreh Aghdashloo, the film utilizes rare footage of Iranian leaders, and interviews with 25 leading politicians, Iranian dissidents, and experts on: Middle East policy, terrorism, and nuclear proliferation.
Excellent. The Canadian government is to be congratulated.
It would be appropriate, I think, for those of us who are not Canadian citizens, to convey in writing to the Canadian ambassadors in our respective countries, our appreciation of Moore's and Kenney's defence of the principle of freedom of speech.