|Sentimental? Yes. Corny? No. Don't you dare call this corny.|
Brazening past all that, my American readers might not be aware that the concept of free speech as they know it isn't as common or widespread as they'd presume, growing up in a country that has (at least up until now - more than a bit of diligence is required in these matters) enshrined the principle of freedom of expression explicitly in the founding documents of their country. It's not so simple here in Canada, where we inherited the more circumspect concept of free speech from the British and laid on it further conditions in a poorly-written document pushed by a leader more concerned with his reputation in posterity than with any enlightened, mature concept of liberty or civil polity.
The result is that speaking your mind - or even hosting a forum to let other people speak theirs - is a potentially actionable pursuit here in Canada, and increasingly liable to legal harassment, financial disaster and court-mandated prohibition of your freedom of speech, thought and association. Americans have, so far, been able to defend themselves from this assault on their liberties simply by saying that it's unconstitutional (though there are forces constantly working on attacking the First Amendment - as someone who envies your country's up front defense of liberty, can I warn you to be vigilant?) The rest of the world, sadly, is even further behind the U.S., perhaps even Canada.
So what's happening is that my friend Arnie, who runs a very good blog called Blazing Cat Fur, is being sued by an onerous individual who's learned to use Canada's pitiful statutes on speech to try and silence his fellow citizens. Arnie is, truly, one of the good guys, and deserves all the support he can get in a legal battle that, regardless of the outcome, is meant to punish him economically and warn other people not to even think about saying what they think in any sort of public forum. This is a skirmish in a battle that, if lost, will make Canada a country very much less free than any of its citizens could imagine.
So I'm asking you to go here, read the details, and consider donating something to help Arnie out and maybe even contribute to a legal precedent that will make the steady diminishment of liberty and free speech slow and - perhaps one day - even retreat in this country. We have a lot of battles to fight right now, but losing this one could make winning any of the others almost impossible.