Charest Opposes Poilievre’s Plan To Protect Free Speech On Campuses

The Charest campaign continues to demonstrate how out of touch it is with Canadian Conservatives.

With the far-left attempting to stifle all dissenting opinions, freedom of speech and freedom of expression has never been more at risk in Canada.

This is particularly true on university campuses, where those who deviate from communist-style thinking are often silenced.

Those universities often get much of their funding from our tax dollars, meaning millions of Canadians are forced to pay for institutions that would silence them.

On Monday, CPC leadership frontrunner Pierre Poilievre said he would fight back against this dangerous trend:

“My message to universities: Protect free speech and academic freedom to keep federal grants. I will appoint a Free Speech Guardian, a retired judge, to ensure academic freedom is defended.”

Here are the details of the policy as outlined by the Poilievre campaign:

“As a condition of receiving direct federal research and other grants, universities will have to commit to uphold section 2 of the Charter:

Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:
a) freedom of conscience and religion;
b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
d) freedom of association.

To get federal grants, universities will be required to not only promote section 2 Charter freedoms on campus, but also defend them when they are attacked, including by other students and faculty.

Poilievre’s approach will protect a culture of free and open speech, debate, and research. This includes speech that members of the university and the public may find disagreeable and offensive, so long as it does not rise to the level of hate speech that the Supreme Court of Canada has held may be lawfully restricted under section 2(b).

Poilievre will appoint a Free Speech Guardian—a former judge who will report on compliance by universities and will investigate claims of academic censorship. He or she will enforce the requirement by reporting to the federal government on breaches of the universities’ undertakings and recommending reductions in direct federal grants to specific universities that fail to protect free speech and academic freedom. No federal-provincial transfers will be affected by this policy.”

This is a smart policy, as it will provide a direct financial incentive (avoiding the loss of funding) for universities to protect freedom of speech.

It also represents a real and concrete measure that would help tilt the balance back towards freedom and away from the radical far-left stifling of debate that is increasingly prevailing in Canada.

So of course, Jean Charest opposes it:

“The Charter of Rights and Freedoms protects our freedom of speech. The judicial system further protects these rights and freedoms.

We don’t need more government policing our freedom of speech.”

This is the fundamental elitist attitude:

Do nothing about the increasingly authoritarian radical left, claim nothing is wrong, and then criticize those with the guts to actually propose ideas to defend freedom of speech.

Conservatives realize that this is how Charest would handle every issue Conservatives are angry about: He would claim there’s no reason to be angry, and then continue to enforce the far-left Trudeau-establishment status quo.

Over and over again, Charest demonstrates that he is completely disconnected from Canadian Conservatives.

Spencer Fernando

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