March 2021 MP Report – Calgary Heritage – Bob Benzen

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Canada today is divided like never before. We face a crisis of confidence regarding not just specific policies, but the very foundations of our democracy. Increasingly, we hear calls to suppress views some self-appointed arbiters may regard as wrong-headed or harmful. This is exactly the opposite of what is needed. The best cure for division is more free speech, not less.

Some argue that we should just trust science. But labelling something science cannot put it beyond questioning. The credibility of science rests on open debate. Not long ago, repugnant theories about race and other now discredited ideas reflected the scientific consensus of the day. It was only open, often acrimonious debate that resulted in their overwhelming rejection.

In a diverse society, harmony must be built on the solid foundation that only open debate can provide. Vigorous discussion of both goals and methods must be encouraged. The reason Parliament has an Official Opposition to critique government policy is that it makes policy better, and the freedom to criticize increases the legitimacy of the outcome. But free speech must not end at the doors of Parliament. It must infuse our whole society.

Free speech is messy, but it is what makes our society strong. We must all do our part. Governments must stop subsidizing media they find congenial and freezing out those they dislike. Courts must limit libel chill. Educators must prepare students to debate and to differentiate between reality and rhetoric. Journalists must spread understanding, not sensationalism. And ordinary Canadians must accept being offended at times as the price of living in a society where we are not afraid to seek, and to stand up for, the truth.

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MP – Calgary Heritage Bob Benzen proudly serves the following Communities: Bayview, Braeside, Bridlewood, Canyon Meadows, Cedarbrae, Chinook Park, Eagle Ridge, Evergreen, Evergreen Estates, Haysboro, Kelvin Grove, Kingsland, Lakeview, Oakridge, Palliser, Pumphill, Southwood, Woodbine, Woodlands