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 ChrÃ©tien's brother, Gaby ChrÃ©tien), 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
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
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.