Limits?

A short article in the Toronto Sun says that “The Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Nadia Shoufani %E2%80%8EBoard has suspended a teacher for allegedly speaking in support of terrorist groups at a recent rally … Teacher Nadia Shoufani was allegedly at al-Quds Day in Toronto last month, voicing support a for Hezbollah and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine — listed as terror organizations in Canada.” The report goes on to quote the school board: “The concerns raised by the community and public at large regarding Nadia’s professional conduct, have been referred to the Ontario College of Teachers for investigation and review.”

Let me be clear: I have no sympathy for Hezbollah or the PLFP nor for groups who hold rallies to support them, but ~ and this is a Big BUT that will annoy many conservatives ~ it ought not be a crime to speak out for or against any cause or group, no mater how odious, so long as one does not incite others to violence or to break the laws.

I have no idea what Ms Shoufani said but, so long as she did not incite violence etc then her employer, and the community at large, ought to have no quarrel with her.

This (from 2006, by the way) …

National Socialist Movement

… is odious, but it ought to be “protected” as free speech. This …

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… is equally odious and ought to be equally protected, subject only to those rules about inciting to violence. So what’s different about this?

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Yes, the message it sends out is odious, filled with hatred towards Israel and towards Jews in general. Provided no one incites others to violence or to break any laws then we ought to accept it.

Freedom of speech only really matters when it is the freedom to say something that I abhor. I need to speak out in support of Ms Shoufani because, unless she actually broke a law, she is being punished just for doing something (attending a rally for a cause that many of us oppose) and saying something that many of us find hurtful.

We ought to have no protection insult or even hatred, so long as it doesn’t cross a legal line.

The limits must apply to us all.

 

4 thoughts on “Limits?”

  1. Edward, I respectfully disagree with you. The teacher in this case is not facing criminal sanction for her speech (that I am aware of). In that important sense, her right to free speech has been protected, in that the weight of state legal sanction has not been applied to her. I would make the important point that free speech does not equal consequence free speech. I would expect that employers equally have a right not to employ those who embarrass them or say things that are incompatible with a particular work place.

    This is tricky for me to say, since I too share your view that the free exchange of ideas (even ideas viewed as odious by the listener) is one of the most important freedoms in Canada.

    1. Yes, it does … which I why I think Conservatives (liberals, in my parlance) need to think about it, not just have a knee-jerk reaction pro or con as most Liberals (conservatives, in my opinion) will

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