Ontario librarian fired for objecting to ‘hidden’ censorship of conservative books – LifeSite

NIAGARA-ON-THE-LAKE, Ontario (LifeSiteNews) — An Ontario librarian has been fired from her position after she challenged the clandestine censorship of conservative books in an op-ed in a local newspaper. 

On March 19, the Niagara-on-the-Lake Public Library dismissed their CEO Cathy Simpson after suspending her over an opinion piece which she wrote in The Lake Report arguing against what is effectively censorship in libraries.   

“Viewpoints that don’t conform to progressive agendas are rarely represented in library collections and anyone who challenges this is labelled a bigot,” she wrote in the February 22 article.  

In her article, which she was invited to write by the local paper, Simpson revealed that while it may not be readily noticed, libraries are increasingly impacted by censorship, mainly by the exclusion of books which offer viewpoints contrary to left-wing political thought.  

“This hidden library censorship takes two forms: the vigorous defence of books promoting diversity of identity, but little to no defense of books promoting diversity of viewpoint, and the purchase of books promoting ‘progressive’ ideas over ‘traditional’ ideas,” she explained.  

She added that more conservative viewpoints are often supressed in libraries through the claim that opposing ideas are “harmful.” 

Simpson referenced an instance in 2019 when LGBT activists attempted to prevent writer and feminist Megan Murphy from speaking on the impact of transgenders “rights” on women and children at the Toronto Public Library.   

However, LGBT activists took offence with her article, especially because Simpson referenced the Foundation Against Intolerance and Racism (FAIR), an American civil rights organization. 

Shortly after the article was published, local resident Matt French wrote to local news website NiagaraNow arguing that Simpson was supporting FAIR’s “right-wing dog whistles” and promoting “right-wing propaganda.”  

FAIR’s executive director Monica Harris, who states she is a “gay Black woman,” responded to Simpson’s dismissal in an opinion piece published by the National Post 

“While it is true that FAIR has challenged diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) programs at public institutions, it is important to understand the context and basis for these challenges,” she explained.   

“FAIR’s mission and founding principle are embodied in the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr., the man proudly quoted on the homepage of its website: ‘We should all be judged by the content of our character, not the color of our skin,’” Harris added.  

Nonetheless, the library board argued that Simpson’s article had caused library staff to lose confidence in her leadership. As a result, they fired their CEO who had worked with them for nearly a decade, just three years before she was eligible for her pension.  

The board’s decision seems to confirm what Simpson argued in her article, namely that a push for the inclusion of a wider range of political viewpoints on library shelves is met with censorship and personal attacks. 

“We will only be truly free to read when authors are no longer afraid to write on any topic, publishers no longer prioritize an author’s identity over their work’s merit, teachers no longer present students with only one viewpoint on issues, and library workers ensure their collections are balanced to include a variety of perspectives on controversial topics,” Simpson had written.  

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