A young man I know well is taking a Civics class in High School. For his ‘Civics’ project on how to improve our society, he had chosen to seek to raise awareness of the importance of Freedom of Speech. He chose to do this in two ways:
1. Following the example of FIRE, he considered setting up a ‘Free Speech Wall’ at his school. He asked for and received a meeting with his Principal where he proposed the idea. Due to School Board constraints (High School kids are still minors), this was deemed not possible.
However, his Principal was very supportive of his overall goal and they did agree that a ‘Freedom of Speech Page’ in the school’s newsletter would be a good idea: all students would be encouraged to write why Freedom of Speech is important to them. Since this high school has students from very diverse backgrounds, it might help to be inclusive for students who have come to Canada recently from more oppressive countries to be encouraged to share their stories of what life without freedom of speech was like and why we, in Canada, must protect this most core of our civil liberties.
He is still negotiating with the teacher in charge of the school newsletter, but he has volunteered to do the work on it and is hopeful that this will become a reality.
2. Drafting and collecting signatures on a petition to ask our legislators to strengthen the legal protections on Freedom of Speech. He had sent me the petition and the accompanying letter: I have taken the names out of it and turned it into a template that each and every one of us can use, collect signatures on the petition and present our own MPs with the demand to strengthen or Free Speech protections!
The accompanying letter:
NOTE: This article is originally posted at this website (see below) along with the "Petition" - where it can be seen AND where it is written: "If you would like to receive these files as an attachment to an email, where the formatting is prop
erly done up, please, drop me a line in the comments and I will be happy to send it to you."
Petition to strengthen freedom of speech in our laws
Member of Parliament of Canada
In the most recent Throne Speech, our Government stressed its committment to the protection of our core rights and fundamental freedoms. The most fundamental of these is the Freedom of Speech, without which no other right or freedom can be defended. There have been many attacks on freedom of speech as of recent, and despite it being the most crucial human right, many people see it as an optional bonus, despite how important it is.
Our Canadian laws are not in line with other democratic countries, like Australia and the United States of America, and make it very easy for unscrupulous people to abuse our laws to chill legitimate political debate. This type abuse was happening under ‘Section 13′ of the Human Rights Code, and you, our lawmakers, have listened to us, the citizens, and repealed that section. Thank you for that!
However, our other laws are now being similarly abused and I would like you, and all our lawmakers, to take steps to pass legislation to strengthen our freedom of speech!
Sincerely yours, (snip) ...