Freedom of Speech in Canada
What is freedom of speech?
In the truest sense of the word, freedom of speech is the right to say ANYTHING you want without being arrested or fined or met with any other opposing reaction by the government (executive branch) in your country. That might seem like a very broad statement to some and others will nod their head and totally agree.
Now, we do not live in an ideal world and different countries seem to have different ideas of what freedom of speech means. I happen to live in North America, Canada to be exact, at the moment. This article is about mainly the Canadian “idea” of freedom of speech but also touches on the US approach on the same topic.
Canadian Freedom of Speech in Reality
Having lived in Canada for 23 years, I do have some idea on what the Canadian government thinks on their supposed freedom to verbalise your opinions. And let me assure you that there is very little thinking going on.
Freedom of Speech in Canada is, like so many other things in this country, pure hypocrisy. The government talks big about freedom but really does not mean any of it (in the US there is definitely more of an “iron stance” when it comes to defending freedom of speech). The Canadian government wants its citizens to think that they can do and say pretty much anything they want without fear of persecution, but that is not so.
In Canada, your freedom of speech stops the second you say or write something “Negative”. Yes, you heard right, negative verbalisation and literature are frowned upon by the Canadian government. Positive statements in public are always accepted and you never have to fear if you say something that is commonly accepted as “good” or “right”.
a) I do not like people in big pick-up trucks and think they should all die
b) I love pick-up trucks and the people who drive them and think they should have a good long live and get rich
Now let’s analyse these two examples of freedom of speech real quick:
Both statements should be perfectly legitimate opinions based on an individuals perception on reality. However, example a) is Negative and will therefore be opposed in Canada. Example b) is Positive and will not be opposed in Canada. (the USA would in all likelihood defend both statements even though they have a coincidental love for big cars and trucks)
So, why is it so ridiculous and hypocritical to allow one and oppose the other in a country where freedom of speech is supposedly a right given to the citizens?
To oppose a Negative statement is to say that the statement is wrong. Are all negative statements wrong, then? To allow the Positive statement is to say that statement is right. Are all Positive statements right, then? It seems the basic principle is childishly simple:
“Positive Tone” = happy, good, all is well and you are a nice citizen
“Negative Tone” = angry, bad, you are evil, racist and belong in jail
Now, understand that this is ludicrous. Not all negative expressions are wrong and not all Positive expressions are right. To see, and feel and point out what you perceive to be a problem in the country or the world as a whole should not be allowed to be out-rightly rejected based on the “negative” feel of it. Neither is a optimistic and positive statement always right and accurate. In fact, positive speech can be a huge lie and misleading force. History is littered with such examples.
What Canada really means when it comes to Freedom of Speech
You can say anything as long as it does not sound “scary” or “outlandish” or “cruel” or “too emotionally strong”. You will not be opposed as long as your statements are positive even if the topic is an obvious white-washing lie.
Lastly, let’s take a favourite topic of West-Coast Canadians to illustrate the ridiculous state of affairs in Canada: The “Gay” Community
- If you say: “All gays are great and I want more of them here”, you will be applauded.
- If you say: ” All gays are losers and I want them all gone”, you will be scorned (and likely labelled a hater, disturber of the peace, fanatic, etc.)
Both statements are opinion and neither is necessarily wright or wrong. So, both statements hold the same value. This, however, is not so in Canada – freedom of speech falls apart in an instance when looking at the example above. Canada does not want you to say anything to upset someone, even if the upsetting would be justified. Canada wants you to be quiet if the topic becomes emotionally and could irritate someone. Canada wants you to just live your life, shut up and look the other way. Canada has no freedom – its “freedom” stops when things get “real” (so to say).
Final thoughts on the Freedom of Speech Fiasco in Canada
People should say whatever they deem right and just. Just because it may sound negative does not mean it is wrong. Just because Canada does not want anything stirred-up does not mean you should not point it out. How can there be change for the better if the current issues and problems lie quietly buried on the bottom of the ocean. The Canadian Government wants peace (and the money peace brings) at any price. A wealthy peace that would get disturbed if people started to get loud and tell it how they see it.
I wish people of Canada would wake up and stop pushing their real feelings so deep down they probably do not even know they still exist.