Sunday, October 31, 2010

Speechys Hosed Again

Several controversial resolutions were proposed -- among them, scrapping part of the government hate crimes legislation.

Members of an Edmonton constituency said right now, the laws cater to people who are easily offended and restrict what other people can say.

"I think we're all concerned with maximizing opportunities for freedom of speech. We have to balance that with people who are vulnerable," says Fred Horne, MLA for Edmonton-Rutherford.

In the end, that resolution was defeated...

In Alberta, Canada's most Conservative province and home to Ezra Levant, a conservative majority government refuses to change its hate-speech legislation despite the support of every editorial page in the province. Furthermore, that government's right-wing opposition has vowed to leave section 3 (the hate speech provision in the provincial human rights law) intact. How can this be?

Imagine yourself a politician: suddenly, Ezra, Margaret Atwood (representing PEN), a fistful of Neo-Nazis, and another handful of journalists, appear in your office demanding changes to your human rights legislation. Do you a )flee through a back entrance, or b) just kill yourself now because you've probably been seen together with this crew and your political career is over.

Remember: politicians are expert at one thing, and that's counting votes. They see this gang coming, and they see votes going the other way. Ezra and crew couldn't do any worse if they hired a known cannibal as their PR guy. And I wish the journalistic community would wake up to the fact: people don't like you, and no politician is going to be caught dead supporting a radical extension of scribblers' rights.

PS. And Kinsella's right, too. Editorials and Op-Ed don't do diddley in the way of moving the voter. The great Canadian speechy conflict is proof of that.

1 comment:

KC said...

The article is pretty scant on details. Did they release the numbers pro and con? Also the article refers to a union related resolution that one would think should have passed easily amongst the Alberta PC crowd. How many union members bought membership to defeat the latter resolution and did that effect the outcome on the former? Regardless of whether politicians would head to the hills to avoid this issue it seems a little odd that the Alberta PC party rank and file defeated the resolution after the federal party approved a similar resolution overwhelmingly.