More Enemies of Free Speech

Note that this has become, by accident, my growing post on the Canadian Sponsorship scandal.

The Right (justly) is criticized by the Left for interfering with First Amendment rights by trying to legislate morality in broadcast television. 

However, I find that most people who claim to be free speech supporters, well, aren't.  Here are a couple of examples.

First, the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, the very heart of the American left, is attempting to regulate political speech by licensing and regulating bloggers, (not to mention trying to reinvigorate the Fairness Doctrine).

OK, so if both the Left and Right are threatening free speech in GWB's Amerika, then I guess we need to run off to Canada.  However, now we get to watch Canada's ruling party suppressing reporting on its malfeasance, trying to hold off public disclosure long enough to call elections to keep their jobs.  Even Karl Rove might fear to try that.

UPDATE:  Captains Quarters reports that at least one Canadian web site that linked to their story on the Canada mess is being threatened with legal action by the Canadian government.  Here is the original story, with a description of what's going on.  Are you tired of Enron-like financial scandals where you have to take someone's word for it that illegal things are happening, because all the financial shenanigans are too complicated to understand?  Well, this will be a relief, because it is pretty easy to understand that this is bad:

The sponsorship program eventually became a huge slush fund into which over $250
million was poured, over $100 million of which was paid in fees and commissions
to these five advertising firms, with little or any evidence of work done or
value for money.

In exchange for these large contracts for little or no work, Brault kicked
back generously to the Liberal Party, putting Liberal organizers on his payroll
while they continued to perform party work (including, at one point, Prime
Minister Jean Chrétien's brother, Gaby Chrétien), paying invoices to other
companies for work actually done for the Liberal Party, and giving large
donations -- in cash -- to the Liberal Party through Renaud or Liberal Party
organizer (and close associate of Public Works Minister Alfonso Gagliano) Joe
Morselli.

Update #2:  Winds of Change has more detail about what is going on and the context of the Sponsorship program.  I remember a while back GWB rightly caught hell for using government funds to promote administration policies.  The sponorship program seems to have gone way beyond this:

An important note the Captain missed - the $250 million Sponsorship Program was
concentrated in Quebec, where it was used to undermine the separatist Bloc
Quebecois. I'll note for the record that I don't really have an issue with that
aspect of it, though the Bloc sure does; they're Canada's 3rd largest federal
party.

This scandal may well put the separatists in power in Quebec, leading to yet another separation test for Canada.  Its not clear to me how hard, if at all, the rest of the country would fight separation.

Update #3: More on Canadian (non)free speech here.

Update #4: San Francisco officials claim blogs are exempted and some of the quotes in the original article are suspect.  However, to be fair to the original author, there is nothing in writing that blogs are exempted from the regulation - only a verbal assurance.  When evaluating these verbal assurances, remember that when the nationa income tax was initially passed, the country was given the verbal assurance that the tax would never ever apply to more than then richest 1% of taxpayers.

  • Correction

    Calm down. Even in the USA, federal grand jury proceedings are secret, and transcripts of testimony are rarely unsealed.

    This is a special case, where the right to a fair trial conflicts directly with the right to a 3rd party's free speech. The general inquiry is open: in fact, it's on TV. Only testimony by three people up for separate counts of fraud and conspiracy asked for their testimony not to be published until the separate trial is over, probably in June.

    If you had read the opinions of the judge in the case you'd know that these issues were carefully considered. And nobody's going to call an election and win in six weeks just because three people had testimony kept secret temporarily.

    There are far stricter restrictions on speech in the US and Canada in the case of rape trials (publishing names and sexual histories of victims is not generally allowed, for example), but I don't think too many people argue that the country is less free because of this.

    Also, due to the nature of the ban, basically anyone who wants to know what was said can find out: it just won't be splashed on the front pages, so their right to a fair trial in separate fraud cases won't be compromised.

  • redhaired_girl

    This isn't about free speech. It's about the right of three men who have criminal charges laid against them to a fair trial. Get your facts straight, please.

  • scotty

    Screw the fair trial b.s.I am tired of discussing the rights of criminals while the Canadian taxpayers are getting abused!!!!

  • oscar

    "criminals"? who has been found guilty? let me guess, more fascism masquerading as right wing indignation

  • Marc Authier

    Fair trial. That is lot of hot air. Fundamentally they don't want this type of information circulating. They tried to isolate ex Prime Minister Jean Chrétien out of the scandal. This bastard testified at the Gomery Commission, that he knew nothing. Ya sure ! And now we learn that HIS OWN BROTHER worked in the firm implicated in stealing the 100 millions. We call this nepotism of the worst kind. These guys really takes us for morons. The federalists in Canada really smell roting dead fish.

  • We Ban on Guard for Thee

    A friend and I were recently discussing the differences between the Canadian media and European media (specifically, the British media)....

  • Paul

    It's about time the truth came out about those crooked bastards in Ottawa.
    The present leader of the libearl party is such a good canadian that he moved his family company offshore to save paying taxes in Canada. What a great Canadian, I don't think!!!!

  • Marc Authier

    And who voted for these crooks. Not the West. Not even Quebec !!!!! WHO ? Ontario !!!!!! and the Maritimes !!!!! Quebec and the West should separate from Ottawa and leave the liberal mafiosos to dear Ontario... People in Ontario should be ashamed. Shame on you !

  • Donald

    If you want to send a clear message to the politicians of Canada that Canadians won't stand for corruption in the government, try:

    http://sstopthesshame.blogspot.com/