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Freedom of Speech is such an invaluable right, but like what happens with any one of our precious Rights and Freedoms when it is taken for granted, those of us living in the western world don’t appreciate its value.
We fail to understand what it is like to live in Iran or Egypt or China, where simply speaking your mind about the government can land you in prison for the rest of your life. Say something the party doesn’t approve of and you can pretty much kiss your life, your loved ones and your liberty goodbye. Forever.
Here in Canada we take for granted our ability to say what we think about our politicians before, during and after elections. In fact we take it so for granted that we allow politicians to take that right away from us without so much as a single bleating cry of dissent.
Election spending limits are placed on what politicians like to call “third-party groups”, as though you and I have no real stake in the outcome of an election. Federally and provincially, politicians do anything and everything they can to shut the rest of us up so they can have the “stage” all to themselves.
Which is more shameful though, I wonder; our collective silence in the wake of our Right to Freedom of Speech being stripped from us piece by piece, or those self-serving politicians who, like Ontario Progressive Conservative Leader Tim Hudak, claim to support our Right to Freedom of Speech while simultaneously attempting to strip us of that very same right.
Tim Hudak is a disgrace when he claims to support Freedom of Speech, for he does so in only the most limited way possible.
He believes that you and I have a Right to Freedom of Speech just so long as we agree with him. The second we do not, he believes our right ends immediately.
Tim Hudak’s conservative principles are about as shallow a pond as there is. They are in play for about as long as he personally finds them useful and not one instant longer.
To paraphrase Ezra Levant, Freedom of Speech is the only right that we must give to our enemies if we expect to claim it for ourselves. That’s the only way it works, although Tim Hudak would like to believe otherwise.
Right now Tim Hudak doesn’t like what the Working Families coalition in Ontario has to say about him and the Ontario Tories.
That’s no shock. I don’t like what they say in general about pretty much any topic. They’re left-wing ideologues who will say and do anything to keep the Great Canadian Nanny State alive and well, something I, Tim Hudak and probably you, as well, disagree with.
The solution to their repulsive rhetoric is not to strip that group of their Right to Freedom of Speech, however. It is to encourage and empower all voters and all groups to speak up during an election.
That’s not the Hudak conservative way, sadly. Hudak would rather place third-party election spending limits on everyone because, as he said so pathetically, “other jurisdictions do it”.
Should we all run off the nearest cliff too, just because all the other lemmings are doing it? Of course not.
There should be no limits federally or provincially on what an individual or a group can spend during an election. Does that mean some folks who utterly I despise will be able to say what they want?
That’s the cost of Freedom of Speech and it’s a cost that I, for one, pay gladly.