Existing laws already give the government the ability to confront hate both online & offline. Power-hungry politicians like Trudeau ignore that reality, in order to ‘justify’ restricting your right to speak freely.
Politicians will rarely openly admit their plans, particularly when those plans involve restricting your rights & freedoms.
In a rare slip up before he was PM, Justin Trudeau spoke of his admiration for China’s ‘basic dictatorship.’
During his time in office however, Trudeau has made it clear that his remarks weren’t just a random mistake.
Indeed, they showed his true attitude towards things like democracy and freedom of expression.
Trudeau clearly wishes he had the power to silence any opinion he disagrees with.
Notably, he often uses arguments that are similar to that used by authoritarian rulers, when he accuses government critics of ‘damaging trust in institutions’.
In a free country, institutions – particularly institutions that exercise a great amount of power – should always be under suspicion, because history has shown that abuse of power is commonplace.
To keep powerful institutions in check, citizens must have the right to criticize those institutions, and sow doubt in them. It’s the job of institutions to earn the trust of the population, and to constantly renew that trust, even in the face of withering criticism.
But Justin Trudeau doesn’t see it that way.
In his view, institutions should be given trust simply for existing, and those who question those institutions should be silenced.
Under the cover of ‘fighting hate.’
As I noted at the outset, politicians will rarely admit their true plans, and will never openly say they want to expand their power at the expense of your freedoms.
Instead, they will find a clever and seemingly popular excuse.
As of late, that excuse has been ‘fighting hate’ and ‘fighting misinformation.’
At a recent internet panel, Trudeau used that exact rhetoric:
“Hate speech, disinformation and online extremism can’t be allowed to prevent people from enjoying the freedom that cyberspace offers, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Thursday at an international discussion on the internet.
“There is no doubt: the digital space has incredible power for good. But from disinformation on vaccines to online extremism, we’ve also seen the threat it can pose to our democratic values, systems and our citizens,” Trudeau said via video link from Ottawa to the Paris Peace Forum.
“We can’t allow the benefits of the digital space to come at the expense of people’s rights or safety.”
The forum bills itself as an effort to revitalize global institutions, and is focusing this year on the vast inequalities exposed by the pandemic.”
Trudeau also criticized ‘populism’ for weakening trust in institutions.
Beyond the obvious conflict of interest of a government official complaining about people not trusting the government, the fact is that the Liberals are pushing legislation (Bill C-10, C-36) that will significantly reduce freedom of expression.
Consider that the idea of what constitutes ‘hate’ and ‘misinformation’ is quite subjective.
Much of what we may consider comedy is considered ‘hate’ by those without a sense of humour.
‘Misinformation’ is often simply an opinion or fact the government and establishment press disagree with.
Remember, it was ‘misinformation’ to talk about how inflation was surging, because all the top institutions said it was no big deal and would be ‘transitory.’
But now, those institutions have admitted that inflation is sticking around, and is higher than they previously claimed or predicted.
The danger of course is that we cannot allow what is true to be defined by who says it.
Truth is truth, and opinion is opinion.
We have a right to be ‘wrong’ about things, and to share our opinions even if others disagree.
We can only really find out who is right and who is wrong by testing ideas out.
The back and forth of ideas in free and open debate is the cornerstone of freedom and innovation, and giving politicians the power to restrict that freedom is antithetical to our values.
Attack on our rights
What this means is that under the cover of ‘fighting hate and misinformation,’ what Trudeau and politicians of his ilk are really fighting against is our rights and freedoms.
In fact, the Canadian Association of Research Libraries has warned that the Liberals ‘online harms’ legislation will amount to censorship and the violation of our rights:
“The Liberal government’s proposed online harms legislation will “all-but guarantee that the system will lead to the mass removal of content,” according to the Canadian Association of Research Libraries.
And that “will impact individual freedom of expression rights, increase the spectre of censorship and damage the historical record,” says the association.”
Furthermore, “Experts have warned various aspects of the proposal, including the mandatory monitoring and removal of content, as well as sweeping new powers given to the regulator, would violate Canadians’ Charter rights.”
The legislation appears designed to restrict freedom, because the requirements placed on social media platforms will be so onerous, and they will face such heavy potential fines, that they will default to removing far more content than would actually ‘violate’ the law.
That’s exactly what Trudeau and the Liberals want: A system where the bounds of free expression become more and more narrow, and centralized government institutions control what we can and can’t say.
Rather than use existing laws, the push for new legislation and new powers for government tells you everything about what is really going on:
Politicians like Justin Trudeau are tired of debating, and feel themselves to be so above the public that they won’t deign to consider criticism from those ‘below’ them.
It’s elitist arrogance taken to a whole new level, not merely disdaining the opinions of Citizens who disagree with them, but actively seeking to silence those Citizens.
Surely, it’s not lost on us that we recently honoured Remembrance Day, and gave thought to the rights & freedoms so many gave their lives to defend.
Now, our own government has become the central opponent of those rights and freedoms, and everything Canada is supposed to represent and stand for us on the line.