Sunday, December 11, 2011

Canadian Universities Given Failing Grade On Free Speech

Pro-Life groups most affected:
The 2011 Campus Freedom Index rates 18 public universities, and their student unions, in terms of their commitment to upholding the rights of students to express their beliefs, opinions and philosophy on campus.

No Canadian university was found to rate “good” in all categories, however the University of New Brunswick, the University of British Columbia, and Simon Fraser University received the best marks.

Carleton University, the University of Western Ontario, and the University of Calgary were ranked the worst.

The introduction to the Index states that one of the biggest threats to free speech in Canada comes from universities which condone illegal activities on the part of people who interfere with, and effectively shut down the events and speeches of people they disagree with. It notes that universities in Ottawa, Montreal, Waterloo, Halifax, Vancouver, and Calgary have turned a blind eye to people physically obstructing and disrupting speech with which they disagree.
No surprise here, especially when so many universities believe that their campuses are somehow exempt from the constitutional provisions that guarantee freedom of speech. And even when the university doesn't mind the debate on a controversial subject - there are so called student unions, which are by all means redundant bodies, with no real purpose but playing useless politics and censoring opinions they don't like.

I believe it's time for a law that would affirm freedom of speech on campuses and make "student union" membership voluntary (on an "opt-in" rather than "opt-out" basis). These should be the first steps to ensure that universities no longer pose one of the biggest threat to freedom of speech in Canada.

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