Letter to the editor: What happened to freedom of speech?

A response to Harris defends China-Canada treaty agreement, Observer Nov. 9.


Re: Harris defends China-Canada treaty agreement, Observer Nov. 9.

I must agree that Canadians need to get more involved and active; at the same time I am concerned that journalists who question the Harper government in particular are vulnerable to intimidation and being fired from their jobs.

The following is copied from an article found at this web address, www.canadianawareness.org/2012/11/journalists-being-silenced-for-criticizing-fippa/ and illustrates the concern that this government is becoming more and more intolerant of free speech and prepared to use its power to bully those who oppose it.

The Canada-China Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement (FIPPA) has people all across this great country up in arms.

Not one single person I have spoken with can agree that the way the Harper government is handling the trade deal is democratic or appropriate.

Rick Mercer has done a fantastic rant about it.

Now, if you do not find this whole situation disturbing enough as is, I feel we are now seeing that conservative MP’s will go as far as having good journalists fired over their personal thoughts on the agreement.

On November 6, 2012 Jim Mosher published this on his blog:

Sadly, there’s nothing new in the government of Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s penchant for shutting out criticism often using deplorable tactics.

It’s impossible for an ordinary citizen to change this “new normal” in Canadian federal politics.

However, when my MP appears to work from the same script, I must speak.

Selkirk Record reporter Jill Winzoski was fired Oct. 19, the day after her paper’s owners received an e-mail from her MP, Selkirk-Interlake MP James Bezan. Winzoski is a boots-on-the-ground reporter. She is not a columnist or an editorialist.

(I have lived in Bezan’s riding since 1986, though he was only elected in 2006. I have worked at two newspapers here in Manitoba, though there was a four-year hiatus (1996-2000) when I was the founding and only editor of a newspaper in Kenora.)

Mr. Bezan’s e-mail contained a message Winzoski had sent to him and others regarding her personal opinion about a looming investment deal between China and Canada.

It’s a deal, one should note, that has been the centre of a protracted, if truncated, discussion across this country.

Winzoski, to her credit, had signed an online petition, changing only the subject line of the pre-written petition. She replaced the petition’s anaemic subject line with one of her own. She wrote, simply, that she opposes this deceptive government.

Tens of thousands would agree.

After Jim had posted on his blog and Facebook about Jill being fired (and what was behind the firing), Jim has now also been fired from his position with enterprisenews.ca.

Is this what we have allowed Canada to become?

Where a journalist who writers her MP on a personal capacity ends up being fired.

Then subsequently, a colleague who speaks up about the injustice is also fired. Is this not a clear cut example of how the main stream media in this nation is in essence controlled?

This is how we have ended up with nothing but Presstitutes in our media.

The real press, who are willing to voice concerns and speak up are quickly silenced.

If you care about a free press or democracy, this cannot stand!

I encourage all of you to write to MP James Bezan and your own MP.

Let them know that this will not stand!

MP James Bezan’s website, www.jamesbezan.com.

Colleen Mackenzie



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