Thursday, March 19, 2009
How would you feel if you lived in a country where a pastor could be barred from discussing a religious issue even in his own pulpit? How would you feel if you lived in a country where a man can be banned for life from writing about a certain subject, even in private emails? How would you feel if you lived in a country where a newspaper could be brought to court for writing an article or showing political cartoons that some people considered offensive? How would you feel if you lived in a country where a university said that students have no right to free speech on Campus? What if I told you that you did?
Free Speech is under assault in Canada. Freedom of speech is a freedom that is guaranteed by our laws and supported by hundreds of years of common law precedent and tradition. The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees us freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication. What is happening now is an attack on the foundations that have made our country great. The freedom we have for a journalist to criticize the government. The freedom for a pastor to lay down the standards of their religion. These are in jeopardy. We have all heard that poem, In Flanders’ Fields by John McCrae. The torch be yours to hold it high, if ye break faith with us who die, we shall not sleep. That torch of what Canada is, is in danger of slipping, falling, going out.
The question that we have to face now is how did this happen and what can we do?
The story centers around the inaptly named Canadian Human Rights Commissions Although it was founded for a good purpose it has now extended it’s reach into the censorship business. It has decided that people have a human right not to have their feelings hurt. Not to have people say or do things that they don’t like.
And I must say that yes, we all know that freedom of speech is not absolute, no one is supporting fraud or incitement to murder. We understand the necessity of self censorship with dignity as one person put it. But that is not what we are talking about.
The Human Rights commission has proved time and again that it is becoming an organization that punishes the innocent and curtains our traditional Canadian liberties.
If you can be sued for writing a news article that someone thought was offensive? If you can be sued for saying that this is right and this is wrong, where will it end?
Are we becoming a nation that no longer recognizes that truth is more important than political correctness. Truth is more important than our political affiliations. Truth must triumph, but it cannot triumph unless we are free to speak it, and truth will be the casualty in this new regime of censorship because the truth will always offend someone.
Unless we stand for our rights we will eventually find that they are being washed away from under our feet. Edmund Burke said “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing." Nothing stays static for long, unless we are going up we will be going down. Freedom of speech will not stay unless we want it to and unless Canadians who love freedom are willing to stand up to those who would seek to erode it.
How would you feel if you lived in a country where these things happen? We already do, but we can stop it. We are at a crossroads, right now we still have the freedom to protest what is happening, but in five years, ten years… This is the time for good people to stand up and say thus far and no further. If we don’t, who will? And if no one does, what then?