A group called Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) is looking to censor an elected official from speaking out on matters important to her and her constituents because this group doesn’t like what she says.
That seems like a bit of a head scratcher, doesn’t it?
Until I tell you that the politician is long time Conservative MP Cheryl Gallant— loved by her constituents and hated by the media party— and the issue that set them off was that while blasting the media for their Omar Khadr coverage, she called them “Fake News”.
CJFE was so hurt by this that they wrote to the Speaker of the House of Commons to ask him to shut Cheryl down, even comparing her to Nazis and the current dictatorship in Egypt, and beyond denouncing her videos and comments, they want her to apologize.
“CJFE calls on Ms. Gallant to acknowledge the pressing risk her statements make to Canadian democracy and to apologize to Canadians for her unabashed attack on democratic foundations.”
Isn’t allowing our Parliamentarians to speak their minds without thin skinned journalists demanding apologies because they don’t like the opinion they just heard, also a democratic foundation? It is, and here’s where they want outright censorship:
“We further call on the Speaker of the House of Commons, the Honourable Geoff Regan, to review Ms. Gallant’s purported use of her parliamentary office to produce this independent media endeavor as well as to work with the relevant bodies to determine whether funding for the production was procured in accordance with parliamentary ethics procedures.
Finally, CJFE calls for the term ‘fake news’ to be added to the officially recognized list of unparliamentary language contained in Beauchesne’s Parliamentary Rules and Forms.”
Watch as I tell you a bit more about what happened and also go over CJFE’s spotty record as free expression watchdogs.
And while they seem concerned about security agencies being closed off from prying eyes, they’re not jumping up and down over a PM and PMO that shuts out journalists, in one case even threatening a Globe reporter that dared to ask the PM an unscheduled question.
I think CJFE should be more concerned about that than what an MP wants to say to her constituents.
Freedom of speech, freedom of expression, whatever you want to call it is constantly under threat from people that want to use the state to shut down views they don’t like, so we need groups that will stand up against that inclination.
What we don’t need is a group that claims to defend free expression becoming the new censors.