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“Freedom is a fragile thing and it's never more than one generation away from extinction. It is not ours by way of inheritance; it must be fought for and defended constantly by each generation.”


There couldn’t be a more apt quote for this period of time than this one by President Ronald Reagan, particularly when it comes to the protection of free speech.


Perhaps the most fundamental right in a free and democratic society is the right to free speech. Without the liberty to speak freely, we cannot profess to be truly free.


It is through the use of speech that most of us share our thoughts, ideas, and beliefs. It also provides us with a means to criticize, challenge, and correct those we believe to be in error. The exercising of free speech, especially in the public square, is what allows us to discover the truth and progress as a society. It is the very foundation of a democracy.


Given this fact, it is beyond alarming that our current government is intent on regulating and censoring speech. This is not a partisan quip. It is not a matter of interpretation. It is reality.


The Trudeau Liberals are planning to push through three separate pieces of legislation, all having to do with restricting freedom of expression.


Not only is there a concerted effort to restrict speech with which the government disagrees, but there is a less overt effort to place greater control in the hands of the government and grant less autonomy to individuals. This is the very opposite of a free and equal society.


Under the guise of fairness, equality, and safety, the Liberal government is attempting to regulate the content you see, hear, and post online. In a bizarre attempt to cover up the real impetus for one piece of legislation, Bill C-11, the Liberals are claiming their only aim is to “level the playing field” among traditional and non-traditional artists in Canada, while promoting Canadian culture.


They claim they will do this by putting a commission in place to evaluate content on YouTube or TikTok according to how “Canadian” it is. If it is deemed to be very Canadian, it will get forced in front of the eyeballs of Canadians, whether they want it or not. If it fails to pass the government’s definition of “Canadian,” it will be pushed down in the queue where it can’t be found.


Effectively, the government, through the commission, will pick which Canadian creators get to succeed and which ones don’t—what you get to watch and what you don’t. There’s no doubt about it, this is censorship at its finest.


Furthermore, digital first creators—those who function outside the box by working hard to generate an online audience, rather than depending on traditional broadcasters—will be forced to pay 30-percent of their revenue into an arts fund used to support conventional artists who produce material for which there is dwindling demand. Essentially, digital first creators will be forced to supplement the failure of traditional artists. Does that sound like “leveling the playing field” to you?


But I digress. The main point I wish to make today is how this legislation is a direct attack on our freedom to speak (and be heard).


This may not seem like a big deal at first glance, but it is. The government is trying to position itself as the arbiter of what speech you should be exposed to, as opposed to you making those selections for yourself. It’s wrong.


Bill C-18 mimics C-11 in that it gives more power to the government-appointed commission to determine which news outlets are approved to pursue monetary compensation for articles being shared on social media platforms and which media companies are plain out of luck.


In other words, the state will determine whether a news source is legitimate. Does this remind you of any other countries where the state dictates to the press?


This is another crafty way for the government to control what information is shared, and therefore what information you can freely see. Yikes!


The third, and perhaps most horrifying piece of censorship legislation, is one that will regulate “online harms.” This was presented as bill C-36 last spring, but it died when the election was called.


Currently, the new draft is at the proposal stage, and so far, the feedback is damning. In documents the government tried to hide, but were accessed through an Access to Information Request, we learned that many individuals, academics, and industry experts are concerned this bill would put ethnic minority groups at risk, violate freedom of expression, and even liken us to countries like North Korea, Iran, and China.


Under the pretext of safety and protection, the proposed legislation would move what is currently legal language into the category of hate speech, thereby criminalizing language that is “likely to” cause offense or harm. Also troubling is the possibility that someone could preemptively accuse someone else of hate speech because of what they fear is possible. In other words, a person will be punished for something that could happen, rather than what did happen. Have you seen the movie “Minority Report” with Tom Cruise? I recommend giving it a watch.


It’s undeniable the federal government has launched an attack on free speech.


We must take a stand against this infringement on our rights and defend freedom, not only for ourselves, but for generations to come. To take action, please write the Prime Minister: Justin.Trudeau@parl.gc.ca




OTTAWA, ON— Member of Parliament for Lethbridge, AB, Rachael Thomas, reacted to the federal government’s budget shortly after it was tabled by the Liberal Finance Minister in the House of Commons.

“The NDP-Liberal government has doubled down on their uncontrolled borrowing and higher taxes. The budget projects more than $56 billion in new spending. Sadly, this will offer short- term relief followed by long-term pain. The cost of living will continue to skyrocket due to inflation and those who are already struggling will bear the brunt of it.

“Think about what this means for Lethbridge. We currently have the highest level of child poverty in the province and foodbanks are already overwhelmed by the present demand. Imagine what will happen when more and more people are unable to afford to pay their bills and feed their families.

“To control inflation, you have to control spending. To put it simply, the government has failed. Mr. Trudeau is continuing his tax-and-spend agenda to satisfy the demands of the NDP made during their backroom negotiations.


"Today’s government spending becomes tomorrow’s taxes, but tomorrow has arrived. It has come in the form of inflation. We currently have an inflation rate of 5.7 percent, the highest in 30 years. Instead of reigning in the excessive spending, the NDP-Liberals are pouring gasoline on the fire.

“The Prime Minister promised to grow “the middle class,” but in reality, his policies are making it more and more difficult for Canadians to make ends meet, let alone make financial gains.

“Many have come into my office, heating bill in hand and tears in their eyes, because the cost of heating their homes is overwhelming—especially for someone like Charlie or Emma who are seniors on fixed incomes.

“It’s not hard to spend money—especially when its someone else’s. It seems the NDP-Liberal solution to everything is spend, spend, spend, but since when is the amount of money spent a credible metric for success? Never! Success is not measured based on how many government cheques are written. Success is measured based on what’s achieved by that spending.


“People are always better off when they are empowered to be masters of their own destiny, not slaves to an over-taxing government.

“It pains me to know that we are dead last among the OECD countries when it comes to economic growth. This is due to the government’s negative attitude toward business owners and entrepreneurs, along with their insistence on driving out investment.

“In this budget, there is no grand vision to restore Canada’s reputation on the world stage, nor is there a plan to harness the economic power of our natural resources and generate wealth for the country.

“The NDP-Liberals like to say they have Canadians’ backs, but all of this excessive spending is driving up the price of goods and crushing the value of hardworking Canadians’ dollars. This is the very opposite of care, compassion, and support.

“So, what is the solution? Less government and more Canada. It is not a leader, a political party, or the government that is going to restore economic prosperity and future success for this country—It is the Canadian people.

“Despite the misguided agenda of the federal government, I remain confident in our future because I remain confident in Canadians.”

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Several years ago, I was in a car accident and suffered severe whiplash. I was told I needed physical therapy to heal and regain the full function of my neck. Though the treatment was uncomfortable and even painful at times, I saw positive results so I kept going.


People are usually willing to keep doing something, even if its painful, as long as it produces the desired outcome.


The carbon tax went up by 25 per cent yesterday. It was April Fools, but the devastating impact of this tax is no joke! Canadians will pay extra for gas, home heating, food, and so much more.


No doubt, it makes some Canadians feel good to know they’re “doing their part” to save the planet.


I don’t blame them.


Millions of dollars have been spent on environmental campaigns with a single agenda: to end the use of fossil fuels.


The impetus for this type of action is varied. There are links to alternative energy corporations and green technology investors who get a huge economic bump from the government cheques they collect. Meanwhile, environmental ideologues get a morality boost from eating plant-based meat and driving electric vehicles to work.


There is a growing agenda to persuade the Canadian people into adopting certain behaviours with the promised reward of reducing emissions and protecting against climate change. The approach is moralistic, rather than practical.


We’ve been told oil and gas are bad, plastics should be banned, pipelines should be blocked, electric cars should be purchased, a price should be placed on carbon, and taxes should be increased.


Without studying whether the promised effect is being achieved, we get on board.


Are we doing what we’re told because it’s making an impact, or because it makes us feel better regardless of the outcome?


Are we truly stewarding Canada’s land, water, and air? Or are we simply marching dutifully?


If we are forced to change how we live, evidence of the desired outcomes should be provided. When it comes to the federal carbon tax, the government has failed to do this. In fact, on the contrary, carbon emissions continue to climb.


In other words, the government’s prescribed solution seems to be therapy for the guilty conscience, but not a solution for the planet.


The fact is, when it comes to resource development, Canada has some of the highest environmental regulations in the world, while many other oil-producing countries have none. The global demand for oil and gas continues to climb. By reducing our production to “protect the environment,” Canada is effectually boosting production in countries like Saudi Arabia, Venezuela, and Russia.


While the NDP-Liberals like to preach they are doing the right thing by crippling our oil and gas industry and congratulate those who comply with their anti-energy agenda, the fact of the matter is, they are doing the exact opposite. They are boosting oil production in countries that don’t care about environmental protection, or producing oil and gas ethically, or paying workers well.


The current government’s environmental policy is nothing more than therapeutic moralism.


It’s disastrous! The environment isn’t being stewarded, the economy is tanking, and dictators are being empowered.


Instead of cancelling pipeline projects that could get more of our product to market, we should be investing and building our export capabilities. Boosting oil and gas production in Canada would create more jobs and generate more revenue that could be directed toward vital infrastructure projects. It would not only make us more prosperous economically, but it would also ensure energy security for our nation and allow us to export to other countries.


The Russian invasion of Ukraine has shown the world that energy security is integral to national security. Putin’s war machine is powered largely from oil and gas revenue brought in from European countries that are forced to purchase from Russia. Exporting Canadian oil and gas to nations that are currently dependent on dictators would help safeguard humanity.


Furthermore, Canadian LNG can play a significant role in lowering global emissions. A 2020 study in the Journal for Cleaner Production demonstrates that China’s emissions could be lowered by 62 per cent if coal was replaced by imported natural gas from Canada. Canada must plan and act globally if we truly wish to make a difference. Currently, that’s not the case.


It’s important to take a step back and question whether this false sense of gratification is worth it. Do we simply want to feel like we’re doing something worthwhile, or do we actually want to have an impact?


Knowing what I know about Canadians, I believe the majority of us truly desire to make our country and the world a better place. We don’t want to be swindled to advance someone else’s dishonest agenda.


Canadians have incredible grit, intelligence, and pragmatism.


Let’s insist on more than therapeutic moralism masquerading as a so-called environmental plan.

 

© 2022 Rachael Thomas.  All Rights Reserved.