Saturday, February 9, 2013

BRIAN LILLEY: The fight for free speech in Canada is not over


The fight for free speech in Canada is not over


Brian Lilley - February 8th, 2013


Last June many of us who had been fighting to end Canada’s ridiculous internet censorship law breathed a big sigh of relief. Conservative MP Brian Storseth’s bill to remove section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act had passed third reading and was on its way to becoming law.

Yet here we are eight months after the bill was voted through the House of Commons and it is still not passed into law. Why?

Because the bill is stuck in the Senate, that upper chamber of sober second thought.

The bill was introduced in the Senate, and is supported, by Conservative Doug Finley.  But since June when Finley introduced the bill two Conservatives have spoken out against C-304 and in favour of section 13 – Pierre Claude Nolin and Nancy Ruth.

This bill, which is a private members bill and therefore does not have the full endorsement of the government, is not assured of passing the Senate.

Those of us who want to see a balance restored in the area of free speech and who support this bill need to take steps now to ensure its passage. We need to write to our senators and let them know that this bill is important and has public support.

You can find a list of senators here, find one or two from your province and write them a well thought out and polite letter. No sense making them think only angry people support this bill.

I’ve been on this story from early on. This is how I met both Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn.

As the Wonder Twins of Canada’s human rights systems were going through their respective ordeals, I was working as a reporter for Newstalk 1010 in Toronto and CJAD 800 in Montreal. I reached out to both of them and asked for interviews so that I could bring their stories to a wider audience.

Remarkably I was the first reporter to ask Prime Minister Stephen Harper about section 13 despite Macleans being part of Steyn’s ordeal and the magazine having several reporters on the Hill.

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