Saturday, May 10, 2008

Freedom of Speech In Canada Gains Another Defender

MP Lee Richardson (Conservative, Calgary Center) has declared his support for Keith Martin and his motion to remove section 13(1) from the Canada Human Rights Act.

Ezra Levant provides an excerpt from Richardson's short letter:

Freedom of speech is a fundamental right ... I support removing section 13.1 of the Human Rights Act and will vote in favour of [Keith Martin's] motion when the opportunity arises.

According to Free Dominion, Lee Richardson joins the company of Keith Martin (Liberal, Esquimalt—Juan de Fuca), Dan McTeague (Liberal, Pickering-Scarborough East), and James Rajotte (Conservative, Edmonton-Leduc) as the only Canadian Members of Parliament to condemn section 13(1) of the Canada Human Rights Act and promise to support the motion to remove it.

A contributor at Free Dominion puts it well:

These three [now four with Richardson added to the list] are worthy of re-election, regardless of their party affiliations, because they have chosen freedom over tyranny, principle over power, and courage over cowardice.

There's a beautiful park near my house. It makes for truly pleasant post-dinner walks. On a recent stroll, a squirrel caught my attention. I suppose the little bugger had spotted a nut or perhaps he had strayed for food and was now returning to his nest. Whatever his reasons, he was interested in crossing the path on which I was walking. As squirrels are wont to do, he timorously inched from the safety of the flora but, before long, he scurried back into the brush, frightened by some shadow and jumpy from a tremendous fear of being exposed.

Unsurprisingly, this anecdote was intended to function allegorically. You see, I have found many politicians to exhibit a similar pattern of behaviour. Most are only willing to stand on principle if somebody else has stuck their neck out first. In democratic politics, it's much easier - and safer, I should add - to pragmatically bide one's time until somebody has forged a path for you than to take the initiative yourself.

Luckily, the trail-blazers have already acted to oppose section 13(1) of the Human Rights Act and stand up for freedom of expression. Four MPs have now declared themselves in support of the motion to remove 13(1) from the CHRA and a ground-swell of support has erupted for Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn who are popular victims of the section. All in all, it's becoming significantly less risky for our squirrelly politicians to support Martin's motion.

Thank you, Lee Richardson, for defending free speech in Canada. Let's hope there's more where that came from.

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