by JRajotte on February 23, 2015 - 11:31pm
Many countries have been attempting to reduce or limit freedom of expression. Canada for has not been spared. After the attacks in Ontario and Quebec in October 2014, the federal government want to create laws that would silence citizens and certain views. In the article New anti-terror bill could put chill on freedom of speech written by Lucas Powers and published January 29, 2015 on CBCNews it is stated that the government of Canada would like to create a law that would prevent or make it illegal to express radical viewpoints. It is done so in order to prevent home grown terrorist recruitment efforts. According to some discussion about this subject is essential and by making certain type of speech illegal then it can be possible to have further radicalization and strip communities of the ability to deal with the issue of radicalization through dialogue.
The situation is also becoming worst internationally. For example certain views or statement going against France’s value can result in arrest. The article Leaders Who Vociferously Backed Charlie Hebdo's Right to Expression Suppress Speech Too written by Sam Adler-Bell publish on February 4, 2015 on UsNew.com states that at “least 69 individual have been arrested for speech acts. An 8 year old was also questioned by the police for having expressed views in favour of the gunman of Charlie Hebdo attack. One of Frances most controversial comedian was also arrested after posting “I feel like Charlie Coulibaly” which was one of the attackers. In general there seems to be a sense of censorship on the views of individuals. The United Kingdom has also been facing critizim concerning the fact that it is capable and has intercepted communication between newspapers such as the NewYork times along with BBC, Reuters and LeMonde. The article also States that a double standard does exist in the United States when it comes to freedom of expression. For example a teen used emoji in a way that demonstrated an Anti-New York city police department and was arrested for doing so. While on the other side of the spectrum the article claims that “Hundreds can threaten violence against Arabs online without risking arrest.”
In Quebec a wave of anti-fundamentalist seems to be sweeping across Quebec municipal scene. The article Officials walk fine line between fear of terrorism and intolerance in Quebec written by Steve Mertl and published in Yahoo’s News on February 20, 2015 describes how Quebec has been censoring certain type of religious material such as fundamentalist views. The article claims that “Outremont also cancelled plans to allow an Islamic school to hold a graduation event due to two fundamentalist teachers attending”. Other attempts to making area or building available for religious purposes where barred to the Muslim communities on fear of radicalization. In itself fundamentalist is not illegal, by preventing individuals from accessing buildings in which to preach and practice religion, Quebec is contributing to the radicalization of the society in general.
As an individual the situation seems to be grim since the attack perpetrated in various countries. This is sad since in Canada it took two individuals to change the way in which society view minority groups but also their freedom of expression and religion as protected in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom. It is essential to keep in mind that the few who did do atrocious acts do not represent the majority, which are currently paying for the actions of others. Solutions exist: inclusion should be sought rather than exclusion. Societal debate is essential in order to clarify the views which represents our society, by preventing freedom of expression Canada could regress when it comes to human rights. Communication and understanding is essential in order to stop radicalization. The proposition of the federal government could cause more harm than good as it prevents some subjects to be openly disscused.
Adler-Bell Sam. "Leaders Who Vociferously Backed Charlie Hebdo's Right to Expression Suppress Speech Too." US News. U.S.News & World Report, 4 Feb. 2015. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
Mertl Steve. "Officials Walk Fine Line between Fear of Terrorism and Intolerance in Quebec." Yahoo News Canada. YahooNews, 20 Feb. 2015. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.
Powers, Lucas. "New Anti-terror Bill Could Put Chill on Freedom of Speech." CBCnews. CBC/Radio Canada, 30 Jan. 2015. Web. 23 Feb. 2015.