The Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) released their report card this week on the state of Freedom of Expression in Canada. It is a firmly substantiated, perceptive and wisely written report. It also leaves Canada with some scathingly low grades in many areas of freedom of expression. All Canadians need to be concerned.
Why? Canada has achieved its economic prosperity, international respect and strongly principled and socially progressive success because of upholding freedom of expression as well as other basic human and constitutional rights when most other countries have not. Unfortunately, the last five years have seen Canada enter a retrograde in most of these areas, including economic prosperity. Wealth has increased for only one segment of the population, the most affluent, while real wages and purchasing power have declined for the majority of Canadians.
Highlighting this economic decline is important as the myth has been perpetuated by various interest groups that as long as economic prosperity improves, then we should turn a blind eye to the decline in fundamental rights and freedoms. Since such prosperity is clearly not benefiting most Canadians, this disturbing ‘means’ of allowing rights to deteriorate in order to reach the ‘end’ of a richer nation is an argument which is not only empty deceit, allowing such rights to diminish is likely never justified.
For serving and retired military, RCMP and the families of all, the erosion of such rights is a particular affront to the sacrifices they make every day and have made their entire career based upon serving a nation which is worth the sacrifice, i.e., a Canada which is compassionate, fair, honest, legal, just and open.
Should Canada continue to violate such fundamental rights as freedom of expression, in and out of government, then military sacrifice becomes more of a dirty shell game swindling the nobly intentioned efforts and work of good men and women in uniform.
The entire report is worth a read. The article on Whistleblowers, the federal government and Veterans Affairs is worthy of particular attention. It is written by Philip Tunley, a lawyer who sits on CFJE’s board of directors.