Presto! Just like that and our liberty has been compromised.
Can you imagine a more contradictory statement than that of our Finance Minister this past week?
"To protect the vital role that independent news media play in our democracy and in our communities, we will be introducing measures to help support journalism in Canada."
This is what the man said – and with a straight
The Federal Government has just allocated $569 million to support media in this country.
How can news media be independent if that are financially supported by the government? It defies
any reasonable definition of a free press.
Canadians are asleep, they need to wake up!
Freedom of speech likely has its origins in fifth century Athens and
later in Cicero’s Rome.
John Milton in his Areopagitica (1644) articulated a passionate defence of free speech and it was influential in free speech policies being introduced later.
England’s Bill of Rights addressed freedom of speech as did the Declaration of Human Rights of the French Revolution.
Freedom of the press was first enshrined in a written constitution in 1766 when Sweden passed the Freedom
of the Press Act.
Then in the USA in 1791 as part of The Bill of Rights press freedom was written into the Constitution:
"Congress shall make no law respecting
an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."
And in the Canadian Constitution of 1982 through the Charter of Rights and Freedoms press freedom was guaranteed:
has the following fundamental freedoms:
- (a) freedom of conscience and religion;
- (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;
- (c) freedom of peaceful assembly; and
- (d) freedom of association.’
We must not forget Montesquieu’s Spirit of the Laws of 1748 or John Stuart Mills' Essay on Liberty of
1859 or our more recent Giants of Liberty, Milton Friedman (Free To Choose) or Fredrick Hayek (Road to Serfdom and Constitution of Liberty) .
Sadly this latest incursion of the
Canadian government ignores history, flaunts our constitution, and seeks to rationalize Government's involvement because the major media companies are in financial trouble. These companies failed to adopt new technology in a timely manner and are now being
outflanked by that technology. Rather than let the companies go out of business and new ones replace them, the state sacrifices free speech and free press on the altar of corporate medias’ balance sheets.
I read that
Paul Godfrey of Post Media is out supporting the government’s action. Once a great defender of limited government, Godfrey, now intertwined in the media corporate vortex, finds lame excuses for State Intervention.
Kent, a former journalist, now Conservative MP said:
"When the media, or media organizations, or in fact, individual journalist jobs are dependent on government subsidies that is the antithesis of a free and independent press."
Even the Canadian Publishers Association is on side. However, In 1981, the Daily Newspaper Publishers Association denounced any government support recommended then by the Kent Commission.
Andrew Coyne, whom
I have often criticized, is a hero on this issue. His column in the National Post should be required reading for anyone who cares about what’s happening now. He demolishes the arguments of an independent panel and questions who is too decide on what
is professional and worthy of Government support. He ends his column:
"To Hell with it, to hell with all of it. No newspaper publisher should have anything to do with this plan. And no journalist worthy of the name should go anywhere
near that cursed panel."
Anyway, it looks like the Principle of a Free Press has been shattered, left gasping for breath on the altar of corporate profits and greed. Crony capitalism in full bloom.
And the Union representing the workers for the media? Their only concern, as reported by CBC News, is how the money is to be doled out.
I don’t know if I can remember one single act that so endangers our democracy
as this one action of the federal government; and tragically with the backing of many of the media, falling over themselves to circle the trough.
Who's left to provide independent thought and opinion?
I am waiting to hear from the Canadian think tanks to see where they stand, ones like Fraser Institute, Frontier Institute on Public Policy, McDonald Laurier Institute, and CD Howe Institute. I have just scanned their websites and could find some nothing.
However , I just found something on the Conference Board of Canada website. Their reaction to the Federal Fiscal Update, where this attack on press freedom came from, they have this – entitled "Federal Fiscal Update Targets Business"
"Additional measures include support for Canadian journalism" (plus others).
Seven words! No opinion!
Then there are the Universities. But they are almost all publicly funded
and the lineup at the trough for grants and special studies means their bona fides are in question and also they are obsessed by political correctness.
When a PRINCIPLE is broken the dam breaks and all you have left are the
animals scurrying for a piece of what’s left.
The Press, the one last bastion of a semblance of independence and liberty in our country has just been badly wounded.
So, control is now complete
– the bureaucrats, the judges, and the PMO – and perhaps in that order.