Untimely Observations

"Free Speech" in Canukistan

Canada is given short shrift by most Traditonalist and conservative writers. Yet despite the relatively small role Canada plays in the worldwide power nexus, it lends itself to interesting case studies for right-wing Western commentators should they learn to take this small but politically intriguing country seriously.

Readers of Alternative Right will undoubtedly remember the controversy surrounding Ann Coulters prospective visit and speech to Canadian university students, where she was warned beforehand about a possible arrest should she say something that contravened “Canadian Speech Laws.” Unfortunately, a public admission that such “speech laws” exist did little to spark a debate on the nature of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Nor did it provide the impetus to question and/or analyze the nature and limitations of federal and provincial authority, or even the merits of free speech itself. In fact, the average Canadian seemed hardly bothered by the notion of a speech law, although they were perhaps aghast (momentarily) to learn that the Canadian project does not include an emphasis or focus on freedom.

However, if Canadians were to look closely, or at all, at their Charter of Rights and Freedom they would discover section 2(b), which explicitly designates freedom of expression and opinion as a right for all Canadians.

However, what has consistently remains glossed over by marginal right-wing commentators in Canada is the provision in Section 1 in the Charter which states,

The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees the rights and freedoms set out in it subject only to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.

The disconcerting aspect of such a proclamation is that the vagueness of “subject to such reasonable limits prescribed by law as can be demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society” exposes Canadian “citizens” to arbitrary state rulings regarding what is and is not acceptable speech. The root of the problem lies in the definition of what is “reasonable” as this is a consideration whose contextual meaning also changes depending on the overarching goal of any, but in this case Canadian, society. Should one express a truth or even an opinion that sheds light on the dubious nature of the Canadian project, or exposes any inherent contradictions in it, one is liable to have his freedom of speech restricted regardless of the veracity of ones opinion, as long as this restriction is considered “reasonable.”

In other words, Canada has lawfully inscribed limits to any freedoms in the Charter if the restrictions of these freedoms are deemed justifiable in a “free” society. Personally, I choose to read the charter in this way:

Our self-proclaimed “free society” can and will restrict your freedoms if need be in order to better facilitate our social-engineering project. Even though what makes us a free society is that our society is composed of citizens who are free, if we restrict your freedoms, we are still a free society.

This of course begs the question—how free are we really?