Freedom of speech - just not in Canada

Greg Vandermeulen


There are times when it’s embarrassing to be a Canadian. Some are recurring, like when anyone in the Harper government opens their mouth and calls child soldier Omar Kahdr a terrorist. But sometimes its embarrassing to be part of a country that is so resistant to actual free speech.

Sure we give free speech lip service all the time. We teach our children that Canada is a wonderful democracy where you can say what you think without being persecuted.

Of course, we actually mean you can say what you want, as long as it’s what we want you to say.

In our most prejudiced province, Quebec, store owners can’t even choose the language they want to use to say their message.

But we encountered a new low on Oct. 11, when we refused to allow Florida pastor Terry Jones into Canada.

First of all, Terry Jones is the idiot who decided to burn a Muslim Qur’an even though he knew violence would likely occur afterward.

He’s a despicable human being who, in his zeal to attack another religion has decided to completely ignore the central message of his own.

Yes, he’s human scum.

Most of us agree with this label, because we disagree with his message. But that doesn’t mean he shouldn’t be able to deliver it.

He should be able to come into Canada like any other law abiding citizen.

He should be able to have a bonfire stoked with the Qur’an, Book of Mormon, Torah, and Holy Bible if he chooses.

And we have the right to condemn him in our speeches, and writings.

That’s how free speech works.

The only true test of free speech is how we react when the people use it to put forward despicable views.

Canada fails time and time again.

We failed when it came to Ernst Zundel and his bizarre holocaust denials. Instead of letting him vent like the crazy man he was, we jailed him, and ultimately kicked him out of the country.

We fail every year when prominent politicians criticize Israeli Apartheid Week held at universities. It’s not their distaste for the event that’s wrong, it’s their contention we should legally stop it from happening.

And we failed again when it came to Terry Jones.

We stood up once again and said Canada is no better than any other country, and we do not support free speech. That’s not the Canada I want to be a part of.


Reader's comments »

By adding a comment on the site, you accept our terms and conditions