Saturday, May 16, 2009

Be Ye Not Afraid

Recently I attended the AGM of my MP (Member of Parliament for my American friends...). Well, technically his riding association, but he was there to speak and I was fortunate enough to get to ask him a question. (I asked about Canada's archaic libel laws and whether there were going to be any changes... it was a moot point I suppose since the gov't doesn't change laws, but still... I want my gov't to know that writers are being hamstrung here in Canada by "libel chill")

Afterwards I approached him and asked some further questions. I explained that I had actually backed off of political writing because of the threat of libel. Maybe that implies that I was some super-politico-powerhouse (which I was not) but that's not really the point... the point is that in Canada, anyone can sue anyone else for libel and it onus is on the PERSON BEING SUED to defend themselves.


Most writers in Canada have heard about Ezra Levant and his fight against libel lawsuits and being dragged into a kangaroo court where he spent millions defending his right to publish "the Danish cartoons".

I realized that it wasn't about what I wrote, it was about someone with a bad case of The Crazies taking offense. At times we seem like a country about to put "the right to NOT be offended" in our charter. But as I spoke with my MP, he encouraged me to keep writing, keep voicing opinions. He was right that there had been recent court wins that defended free speech (an american term, not Canadian) so I should not be afraid. This is true, but still, I'm no Michelle Malkin, I struggle with concerns about whether voicing an opinion in the overpopulated political blogosphere really matters as much as my actions in real life.

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