The following is the official opinion of the Conservative government, as stated by Stephen Harper’s Parliamentary Secretary Dean Del Mastro, who by all indications is a man with a deep and abiding respect for the law:
This morning I read comments on a news story posted on an electronic news publication… The common denominator is that none of them identified the person that wrote them; this strikes me as something that Parliament should address.
I’m kind of surprised to have to tell a supposed Reform Party libertarian this, but freedom of speech is actually absolute. We don’t carve out exceptions just because someone is saying something we don’t like, or because we happen to think that they’re a useless brain-dead moron. That is certainly why you are allowed to continue speaking, you pompous, egotistical, hypocritical fool.
Sixth Estate and Blazing Cat Fur do not agree on very much, but it seems we agree on at least one thing: freedom of speech is freedom of speech. I would be interested in hearing how the Conservatives propose to enforce non-anonymity online. Will it be through fines, or through jail time? How many days in jail should posting an anonymous comment receive? One? Ten? Sixty? A year less a day? What about serial offenders? Should someone who posts three anonymous comments be banished from computers for life?
So in fact, I take back my hostile and negative remarks from two paragraphs ago. Del Mastro, please keep digging! Please explain, in considerable detail, what new powers you think the government should have to regulate freedom of speech, and exactly how long a jail sentence you think someone deserves to be given for failing to put their name next to their comments. Go on. Explain.
I don’t know about you, but I feel safer already.Tweet