By Letter to the Editor on November 19, 2020.
In response to Rachael Harder’s opinion piece, “Freedom is not a freebie” (Nov. 6 Herald):
For being the former chair of the committee on access to information, privacy, and ethics, I would have expected better. I want to premise this piece by saying that I am not a fan of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or his policies. He has consistently neglected to go anywhere beyond tokenism when it comes to Indigenous rights and safety. It is, however, more than an exaggeration to say that Canada is being primed for authoritarian dictatorship. You are not being “silenced or punished” for your opinions or conservative beliefs.
If there is any group in Canada being silenced and punished, it is the Indigenous peoples that still don’t have clean drinking water and are sitting in prison for defending their land. I don’t see you fighting for their freedom. You have also neglected to fight for the rights and safety of people of colour in Lethbridge, posing for photo-ops rather than doing any actual work. Has it not been your party launching a continued assault on education?
I don’t see you fighting for the freedom of educators to teach about residential schools, global warming and equity. I didn’t see you calling out Alberta Premier Jason Kenney when he suggested that the oil and gas industry was more important than systemic racism and sexism. I don’t see you fighting for the freedom of queer people to exist in public spaces.
Canadians are not losing the ability to debate, be respectful or disagreeing. We are not trying to create a world out of a Louis Lowry novel. What we are doing is demanding that the rights of all Canadians are fought for. It is no longer a difference of opinion when discussing human rights, racism, sexism, homophobia or transphobia. I agree that we must fight for our freedom, but we shouldn’t have to. We should not have to constantly battle the conservative government for equal rights or access to education.
To use the memory of Canada’s veterans to push your conservative agenda is tactless and shameful. This is not what respect looks like.