Legislation aimed at protecting democracy

Today's Citizen (Dec. 28) brings yet another outraged screed courtesy of J.J. McCullough. It's important to hear differing points of view, but I do wish The Citizen could find writers who were more balanced.

Take today's guest editorial: McCullough delivers an extended rant on new federal legislation that subjects third-party activity during Canadian elections to more stringent rules, with the goal of making such activities more transparent. McCullough casts this legislation as part of an ongoing attack on political discourse, as if Canada were in danger of becoming an authoritarian state with no political freedoms. But what's the context?

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Is there evidence of Canadian governments shutting down political parties? Attempting to disenfranchise voters as they do in the U.S.? Imprisoning opposition politicians? I think not.

So if the legislation in question is not part of a malign campaign by the "political class" (whatever that is) to keep power for themselves, is there some other reason for the Liberals to have passed it?

Oh, right! Pretty much all Western democracies are under a sustained barrage by anti-democratic actors, primarily Russia. Robert Mueller in the U.S. has provided extensive and compelling evidence for Russia's role in undermining free speech and fair elections there.

Furthermore, the Liberals may have looked at the electoral chaos sown by the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that allowed unlimited third-party spending in U.S. elections. This has led to a ridiculous and wasteful advertising race, in which even local elections may involve tens of millions of dollars in campaign spending. The only beneficiaries are the media outlets that carry the advertising.

Given the clear need to protect Canada from the political chaos afflicting our friends to the south, why would McCullough bash this legislation without mentioning the context?

Well, one obvious possibility is that he could be on the take from the Russians. This would fall well within their playbook, to funnel cash or divisive ideas to unwitting (or witting!) agitators, who are only too happy to sow division and discord for their own benefit.

One need only look at all of the American dupes - like the guy who made his truck into a "jail" for Hillary Clinton and staged a protest rally; or the fool who believed Hillary was running a pedophilia ring out of a pizza restaurant and rushed in with a rifle to liberate the child sex slaves - who were taken in by Russian agitprop to see that in fact the Liberals are quite right to be concerned about election interference from abroad.

Until there is actual evidence that this legislation is harming honest, Canadian political speech, I am grateful that the Liberals are trying to protect us from outside political interference.

Stephen Rader,

Prince George

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