There is no speech more important than political expression in a free
society. The Supreme Court found in favor of restricting third party
speech because it found a lack
of evidence supporting a notion that the wealthy will
"dominate" political debate if third parties are permitted to spend
real money. In the Court's words: "Given the difficulties in measuring
this harm, a reasoned
apprehension that the absence of third party election advertising
limits will lead to electoral unfairness is sufficient."
Quite frankly, this is ridiculous. First, individuals have the natural
right to free speech. Speech doesn't harm anyone. And every individual
should have the freedom to do things if they don't harm anyone else.
That alone should have been sufficient reason to overturn the Gag Law,
especially since it is supposedly protected in the Charter of Rights..
Second, there is plenty of evidence to suggest that the wealthy do not
dominate political discourse, even when outspending their opponents.
Did the Court reference the obvious example of the Federal government
outspending all opponents manyfold while supporting the Charlottetown
Accord, but still losing? People are not lemmings that simply do what
they read or hear on TV.
Third, the court made its decision without any evidence one way or
another. If they are so willing to dispose of our rights to speech,
Lastly, note that of the dissenting Justices, two of the three were
Albertans and all Albertans dissented: Chief Justice Beverly McLachlin
and Justice Jack Major. This is hardly surprising. Albertans dissented.
The case was originally brought by an Albertan, Stephen Harper (then a
private citizen). The gag law was struck down by the Alberta Court of
For more information on the case, click here.
Bill C-250 is the bill that makes "hate speech" illegal. It makes
speech against "identifiable groups" distinguished by color, race,
religion, ethnic origin and recently, sexual orientation, illegal.
Hate speech legislation is antithetical to free speech, period..
Moreover, it is legislation that is not applied evenly. For example,
bigot Carolyn Parrish said "Damn Americans...I hate those bastards."
According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, "ethnic" refers to
"large groups or people classified according to common racial, national, tribal,
religious, linguistic, or cultural origin or background." Americans,
quite obviously, are people classified according to national origin or
background. And saying you hate a group of people couldn't be a clearer
case of hate speech. I'm not saying that the bigoted Carolyn Parrish
should be arrested for her bigotry. As shameful as her bigotry was, she
has every right to be a bigot. That being said, this is a clear case of
hate speech that should have been prosecuted under the Criminal Code.
The fact she wasn't shows that such laws are not consistently applied.
Bill C-250 is a reprehensible restriction on free speech, and an
unintended consequence of such a law is that it is inconsistently
applied. Perhaps the next thing we could be seeing is a delay in
charging a self-confessed jewel thief, like Svend Robinson.
|CRTC: Censoring Radio &
Television in Canada
The CRTC is a government regulatory body that censors Canadians. Those
wonderful censors permit Canadians to watch Al Jazeera, but "protect"
Canadians from American channels such as HBO, ESPN and ESPN2. Perhaps
it is due to Tony Soprano making derogatory comments about identifiable
groups distinguished by color (check), race (check), religion (check),
ethnic origin (check) and sexual orientation (check). Actually, the
CRTC requires broadcasters that carry Al Jazeera to censor Al Jazeera's
anti-Semitic comments (which actually may serve to give Al Jazeera
credibility they don't deserve).
Other inconsistencies see people persecuted for using DirecTV or Dish
Network in Canada, but they are permitted to use Sky satellite (from
the U.K.) without fear of being thrown in jail.