Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Mark Holland, Oppressor of Free Speech

Never heard of Mark Holland? He's a newbie Liberal backbencher from the riding of Ajax-Pickering. Yesterday he used his member's time to make the following speech:

Mr. Speaker, I rise today on a matter of great concern to me and, I would say, to all members of the House.

Flyers have been mailed out across Canada to a variety of different members' ridings stating that members are against families or are trying to destroy marriage. Even though I think that position is intolerant, I do respect the opinion. However, what I do not respect is tens of thousands of dollars being spent anonymously with absolutely no way to contact this organization.

My office has been contacted by hundreds of residents who are extremely upset. Maybe this is acceptable to the opposition but I would like to know who is behind it. We do not know who is behind it. Is there foreign money? Is there a political party behind it? These are the questions we have to ask.

To have anonymous money being spent in this way from a post office in a 7-Eleven in Toronto is absolutely unacceptable. Canadians deserve--

At this point he ran out of time, but I think you get the gist.

Mr. Holland is complaining about junk mail. Not hate mail -- junk mail, the type you toss into the recycle bin after one glance. An everyday annoyance, certainly. Among the issues of the day that Mr. Holland could have chosen to comment on -- SSM, the sponsorship scandal, La Francophonie, the upcoming three-leader summit, etc. -- he decides to wax eloquent about junk mail. One suspects that, if Mr. Holland stays in the House, his spot on the backbench will always be warm.

But what moves Mr. Holland's speech into the realm of utter fatuity is his last statement:

To have anonymous money being spent in this way from a post office in a 7-Eleven in Toronto is absolutely unacceptable.

This pretty much ranks right up there with CNN executive Jonathan Klein's rant about bloggers and pyjamas. Mr. Holland's sneering implication is that the authors of those flyers are amateurs with no right to do what they did. It does not seem to occur to him that amateurs, like professionals, have a right to express their opinions, no matter how annoying their methods.

Unacceptable? Not only is this acceptable, it's damn well guaranteed, courtesy of that pesky little section 2(b) in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Ah, well. I suppose we should be generous and chalk this one up to Mr. Holland's inexperience. Here's hoping his riding gives him better things to make a speech about.