Saturday, April 19, 2008

Elections Canada vs Free Speech

Yesterday in a National Post column I suggested revenge was behind that Elections Canada "raid" on Tory Party headquarters.

Today, in the same paper and on the same page, David Frum suggests a more sinister motivation.

Frum argues the raid may have revealed the agency's "deep, sustained and highly ideological hostility to ordinary rights of free speech."

Elections Canada, he writes, is choosing to interpret its mandate in a way that is "indifferent to core freedoms".

I wholeheartedly concur with this analysis.

In all my dealings with Elections Canada bureaucrats (and I had a lot) they never gave the slightest inkling that they understood the importance of free expression. In fact, if anything they saw free speech as nothing but a nuisance.

And when it came to enforcing things like election gag laws, they displayed the close-minded-zealotry of the Spanish Inquisition.

And yes Elections Canada does have an ideological bias. Check this Globe and Mail column I wrote a few years ago for more on this.

How do we defang this monster?

Frum has the answer: "Stop gagging speech. Stop telling the public and the candidates what they can and cannot say."

7 comments:

Luke said...

“How do we defang this monster?” You’re doing a good job of it now.
Your idea of democracy is to allow the rich conservative party (oil money) to spend unlimited amounts of money during an election campaign, to advertise, brainwash, spew out half truths, and lies. In short, buy an election.

Anonymous said...

The paranoia and over-analysis and over-hype on conspiracies is just too much.

You people are beginning to look like idiots.

All Harper has to do is change the election laws.

Roy Eappen said...

So Luke how about the grits who subverted elections for years using stolen sponsorship money. The Tories got donations from over 150000 Canadians. The grits have no grass roots and raised far less money. Thats how democracy works. i guess you favour librano larceny.

Fay said...

I believe all Canadians should have the right to question Elections Canada or any other government department. If that is deemed to be paranoia then as a democracy our freedom of speech is finished.

Scott Merrithew said...

Freedom of Speech, as a principle, is a non-partisan issue and represents one of the foundational elements of democracy in Canada.
Liberals and Conservatives agree on this as a "motherhood" statement.
However, the difference between them becomes clear when someone exercising their right to speak freely, makes statements offensive to partisan sensibilities.
When Conservatives are offended by free speech, their general reaction is to either ignore it, or to respond with a public statement. There is an understanding that the right to free speech equals the right to offend, and that all opinions are open to debate in the forum of ideas.
Conversely, when a Liberal is offended by someone speaking freely, their reaction is to immediately seek to shut the speaker up, and establish new laws that ensure legal charges can be brought against anyone else who dares say such things.
In other words, Conservatives truly believe in Freedom of Speech, but Liberals only say they do, while pressing for even more creative means of censorship.
You can find hypocrites in all parties, but in the case of Liberalism, the very mindset is hypocritical.

zolton said...

I guess Freedom of speech doesn't apply to ex wheat board CEO Adrian Measner.
A gag order was placed on him by the conservative government when they were trying to privatize. I guess he had too much information that bugged them out.

Too bad the conservatives only support freedom of speech when it supports their cause!
Wait that's not freedom of speech at all that's fascism!

(Omission is lying, you just lying to yourself.)

It's bloody insane that the right wingers who support Harper and his perverse ways call the left haters of free speech.
You guys are the ones who never tell the truth and abuse the emotional condition in order to gain support for your crazy backward idea's.
Do the members of the conservative caucus have their own free will?

I wonder if Harper bullied any of those candidates to pony up the local cash for national media advertising?
The answer is a no-brainier so I think you guys can figure that out.

Institutions outside of government control should be protected from government in order to function effectively. Is this so hard to understand?

Read the comment above this post.
What color is the Koolaid this kid is drinking?
This rhetoric doesn't measure up to reality sorry bud.

Anonymous said...

Moron Zolton...............