An op-ed appeared in yesterday's Globe and Mail under Stephen Harper's name. Whoever wrote the piece claims that,"Our duty is to stand firm in the face of Russian aggression." On the same day, in The Tyee, Tom Henheffer also wrote an op-ed, on the subject of the CRA's audits of Canadian non-profits, like PEN:
In effect, our government is censoring an anti-censorship organization. It makes me wonder, is this really Canada? If so, it’s a country I'm having a hard time recognizing.
So what is the justification for creating this clear chill on free speech?
Well, no one really knows. These audits overwhelmingly target environmental groups opposed to oilsands development. Many of these are the same organizations former Natural Resources and current Finance Minister Joe Oliver called out as being "radical groups" trying to undermine Canadian development. Yet the government maintains it has no control over who the CRA investigates.
Lawrence Martin was stationed in Moscow during the Cold War. He has noted that Harper's information control is reminiscent of what went on in Russia before the fall of the Berlin Wall. Certainly there was no such thing as free speech.
Yet Mr Harper presents himself as a Crusader for Individual Liberty. Vladimir Putin must be laughing.
We will be in Montreal for the next couple of days. But I plan to be back at this keyboard on Wednesday.