Today's discussion:

Censuring an NDP MPP for pro-Palestine comments is not a free speech issue

Ontario NDP MPP Sarah Jama's censure and removal from caucus are not free speech issues due to the intricacies of parliamentary privilege. Whether these were advisable steps to take is another matter entirely.

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It looks like people will never accept the fact that political parties are not democracies. Parties control what their members say and do. Trudeau won’t let anyone who is against abortion on demand receive a party nomination! That is one way of handling the freedom of speech issue. Only allow into the party those who hold opinions that are in complete agreement with the party on all issues.

26th October 2023 at 2:12 pm
Luke Smith – deputy editor, The Hub

This is true. Alternatively, the American system has much weaker parties with less executive control, hence why someone like Donald Trump was able as an outsider to take over the Republican Party and the leadership was relatively powerless to stop him. Tradeoffs to both systems, obviously.

26th October 2023 at 4:18 pm
A. Chezzi

As I read this article, I think about the protestations of conservatives who argued that they were being silenced because they didn’t espouse the views of the left on social issues. These conservatives argued that they were being denied free speech. Many said they were afraid to express their views for fear of being ridiculed or harassed. Now the shoe is on the other foot. It is not considered right to criticize what the Israelis are doing in the name of self defense. True, Hamas committed heinous crimes but that doesn’t absolve the Israelis from the madness they are following in the name of self defense. To block humanitarian aid, to displace millions of people and deny them the basic needs for life, is not defense. We might not like what we hear when Israel is criticized but when a government or party silences a member, it is a strike against free speech and each strike weakens that right until it no longer exists. When social conservatives speak out against inclusion or threaten the well being of the transgendered, as in Saskatchewan or New Brunswick, no one questions their right to say what they think even if it is harmful. It is either free speech for all or no free speech at all. Let Jama have her say but work to show that it is not what the party believes. There is a danger when government censures members. Each time it is used it makes it easier to use again until the only voices speaking are those which agree with the powers that be.

26th October 2023 at 9:41 am
Jordan Shaner

Hamas is responsible for all civilian casualties and displacement. They use their civilians as human shields– a clear war crime.

26th October 2023 at 12:36 pm
Paul Crawford

She is there to represent her constituancy, the MAJORITY , not her own views!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! In Cana
da minorties always win, kinda screwed up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

26th October 2023 at 7:12 pm
Gordon Edwards

The article wasn’t about free speech in Canadian society, but rather the standard of acceptable conduct for a member of the Ontario parliament. Sarah Jama was censured as the majority of parliamentarians believed her comments were not appropriate. The NDP seems to – sort of – agree with that as she has been ejected from their caucus. Although for the rather timid reason of contributing to an “unsafe work environment”.

No reasonable person is saying that Israel should be beyond criticism, and I don’t see any effective push to shut down such criticism. There are certainly organized groups that do attempt this. Criticism of Israel is responded to quickly by groups such as B’nai Brith Canada and the Jewish Federations of Canada, and you don’t have to guess their position. No one is really stopping anyone from criticizing Israel. But perhaps days after a murder spree on Israeli soil isn’t the time.

What is currently getting attention is endorsement (including whitewashing) the actions of Hamas on 7 October. To draw a parallel between that and people challenging school boards on the teaching of gender ideology and hiding information about children from their parents is a false equivalency. What children should be taught and the role of parents in raising their children are issues which can be reasonably debated, although that is the last thing the devotees of gender ideology want. Endorsing or turning a blind eye to mass murder, mass rape, and abductions isn’t comparable to debates around gender ideology.

I am concerned about the potential for overreaction as those supporting Israel could adopt the cancel culture tactics successfully wielded by the social justice movement in recent years. Limits on free speech, even informal ones imposed by society at large, need to be very cautiously applied. If someone is concerned about free speech in other cases, such as parents being shut out at School Board meetings for questioning gender ideology or critical race theory inspired lessons, he or she should also be concerned about the free speech of even those they disagree with strongly.

However, there can be point at which speech has consequences. I would say the promotion or endorsement of violence (actual violence; not the imaginary kind) should be where that line is drawn.

26th October 2023 at 6:18 pm
Paul Crawford

Bottom line is a MPP MLA/MP,Alderman,councillor, ,etc etc is there to represent her/his constituents, not her own beliefs, she doesn’t even understand what her JOB is, representing the MAJORITY, not her narrow views.

26th October 2023 at 7:08 pm

Jamma speaks to the part of the Progressives Left that is what MAGA is to the US Conservatives.

The left wing fringe is imploding on itself over this subject. It’s a pleasure to watch it unfold. It should help the center/moderate left reorient themselves away from the rot.

Perhaps censure is over the top – but isn’t civil discourse one of the hallmarks of our parliamentary system?

Great article!

26th October 2023 at 7:06 pm
Ian Gray

I disagree with the recommendation. It is simply too Canadian, a means of not having to deal directly with right and wrong in terms of the values I would like to think this country still might hold, and basically excusing her because of her skin colour.I suggest leaving her right where she is and when the next election rolls around no party be prepared to sign approve her seeking nomination.

26th October 2023 at 5:55 pm