Freedom of Expression

Harper’s deputy attacks free speech

The following is from the blog The Sixth Estate, a place that is on my regular reading list, although it’s not on Margaret Wente’s list.

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…
Keep reading at The Sixth Estate

11 replies »

  1. If only Ben Franklin and others had not been permitted to publish under pseudonyms. There would have been much less trouble with rebellious terrorists in the colonies.


  2. I hope Del Mastro isn't as intellectually deficient as he seems. He might be surprised to learn that a number of famous people have written without using their real names. Here are a few of the “fake” names: Mark Twain, Zane Grey, George Orwell, Stan Lee, George Eliot, Franklin W. Dixon, Ellery Queen, Ann Landers, Abigail Van Buren, C.S. Forester, Anthony Burgess, Dr. Seuss, Joseph Conrad, George Sand, etc. Oh yeah, also Del Mastro's hero: Ayn Rand.


  3. Dean, unfortunately .. is like an overloaded ship that despite fully reefed sail
    a working compass & barometer.. and lots of legal and Cabinet advice & Prime Ministerial support
    headed directly and resolutely toward a pounding unforgiving lee shore..

    Actually.. its quite likely he is hard aground already …
    The one overspending, personal bank account claim he might dodge ..
    the other re his cousin's campaign 'support' is stupid, fatal ..
    Looking like a deer in the headlights .. politically
    is being a deer in the headlights .. politically

    Verdict ? Political Toast … Burnt Black, every smoke, CO2 and fire alarms set off
    What's odd is that Political cretins like Peter Kent and Peter Mackay
    are impervious to damage for far worse idiocy…

    Go figure …


  4. “That is certainly why you are allowed to continue speaking, you pompous, egotistical, hypocritical fool…” Gosh, Norm, did you go out for dinner with Alex T. last night? LOL!

    I don't know all on your list above (that's a REAL surprise about “Stan Lee”) — but Twain, Dr. Seuss and sisters Ann and Abigail were at least easily identifiable people. Today's anonymous contributors get to make their pot shots or significant blows without showing themselves for who they are. To me, whatever is written has more weight if the writer is known.

    Mind you, if my house is on fire, I don't care if it's “Deep Throat” or Bob my neighbour phoning to wake me up. If it's a prank call, though….

    Score it 2-2 for the unnamed vs. named sources here, so far on this thread. Be brave. Use your name.


  5. When people are required to use their real names then comments decrease dramatically (see the Globe&Mail vs the Province). For the media stories I follow, I often learn more from the comments. The best blogs with the most active participation don't require real names.

    Having to provide a name shuts down public discussion which is exactly what the corporate elites want. They don't want an active, engaged citizenry figuring stuff out for themselves. They want a silent, mute and powerless flock of sheep. We are so close to living in a police state and a free internet may be our only hope of escaping that fate.

    Prank calls, or nasty comments, are already being effectively addressed.



  6. Good points G.B.S. I didn't have dinner with Alex nor did I adequately label someone else's work. A reader had to follow the link near the bottom to realize I was only providing Sixth Estate's introduction.

    You are right that using a pen name without concealing one's identity is different than writing anonymously. Yet, the latter is appropriate at times. On this modest little blog, a few comment writers I know do so anonymously because they would be subject to professional attack were their names published.

    When there are millions of dollars at stake – in the private power industry, for example – larcenists will try to destroy citizens who stand in their way.


  7. Ah — now I get it, Norm. You have retained your gentle demeanour… (while still carrying a big stick.)

    I understand the value of being able to “whistle-blow” without sticking your head too far out of the hole. I also understand that I have an advantage, being near the end of my career, as opposed to someone just getting established.

    It's pretty tough to keep multiple “anonymous” writers sorted out, though. Solid pen-names would be preferred.


  8. Agreed. Consistent tags are better than anonymous but I do agree that going on the record with the real name adds weight to any comment. Most important though is making a comment that adds value to a discussion.


  9. Egads Norm! Del Mastro is totally intellectually deficient. That is why he his a Harper lapdog after all…The party is full of them and not by accident either.


  10. I don't get paid for my opinion, so don't have to provide my name. Just a nameless, faceless person in the crowd that you walk amongst everyday. I figure knowing what all these people are thinking is valuable, don't you?


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