Thursday, January 04, 2007

Gag Laws vs. Freedom

Yesterday I posted about Carol Goar's column in the Toronto Star praising Canada's election finance laws.

Well I also sent the Star a letter to the editor on the subject, which was not published.

So here it is:

Re: Election financing comes clean – January 3, 2007

Before Carol Goar deifies the politicians behind Canada’s election finance laws, she should realize there is another side to the coin.

Simply put, these laws infringe on important democratic rights and freedoms.

Imposing excessive restrictions on political contributions, for instance, clearly limits the right to free expression.

Likewise, the election “gag law” --which makes it a crime for citizens or non-partisan groups to spend their own money to express their own views –undermines the right to democratic free speech.

Nor will these draconian finance laws make for “cleaner” elections.

If anything, they will simply help incumbents and drive political influence seeking underground.

In short, you can’t improve democracy by destroying freedom.

6 comments:

blue drew said...

The “gag law” is controversial. There are points to be scored on both sides of the debate. But limiting political donations is much more one-sided. On one hand you have arguments over money and influence; in the other there’s nothing but superficial nods to “freedom” or “democracy.” The truth is limiting political donations strengthens our democracy by distributing influence independent of wealth. You may define freedom as wealth; I define it as equality.

Harper is working hard for the Canadian people, not securing influence for the elite.

Gerry Nicholls said...

As Milton Friedman once said: "A society that puts equality … ahead of freedom will end up with neither equality nor freedom. "

blue drew said...

Perhaps you could explain this quotation. I would think that equality and freedom are tied together. Without equality, some people would not be free, or some would be freer than others. A free society would require equality.

Gerry Nicholls said...

I recommend you read Friedman's book Capitalism and Freedom. It pretty much explains it all.

William E. Demers said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
William E. Demers said...

Equality does not imply freedom Blue Drew. In fact forcing equality on one group of people at the expense of another group requires the violation of that group's freedoms.