Thursday, September 06, 2007

Free Speech?

Hmm, I have heard this argument before.

The Conservatives are defending themselves against allegations they broke election spending rules by arguing it's all a matter of freedom of speech.

From the NCC which used to be run by our current PM.

This, says NCC president Stephen Harper, is a gag on free speech. But it’s not the amount of the limit that troubles him. “I object not simply to the limits. I object to the entire scheme of regulation," he says. "Our view is fundamentally that communicating a political view to fellow citizens is a right; it is not a privilege granted by the government.”

The NCC argues that “In a democracy all citizens should have the opportunity to freely express opinions and to criticize or praise politicians.”

Sounds pretty good, but if you recall that what the law restricts is paid advertising in excess of $150,000, what they’re really talking about is freedom of speech for those few who can afford to spend huge sums on election advertising.

When are national election TV ads not national election TV ads? When you tack on the MP's name at the end of the ad.

A Conservative advertising initiative designed to allow Tory candidates to claim expenses for TV commercials produced for the party’s national campaign in the 2006 election was a potential fraud that subverted spending limits under the Canada Elections Act, the Liberal party says.

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