On free speech and Canadian politics
William Watson,writing in the Ottawa Citizen, [external] argues that Tom Flanagan’s ordeal has been “Orwellian,” except inasmuch as “it wasn’t organized by the state” which rather takes some of the sting out of the term, doesn’t it? We certainly agree that Flanagan didn’t say anything that should instantly torch the career of an academic or a CBC commentator, and that it’s healthier to explain forcefully why he’s wrong than to demand “firing” or “shunning” —but then, if he wasn’t also Tom Flanagan, hard-bitten political strategist, his remarks wouldn’t have caused such a furor in the first place. As for the notion that Flanagan was “surreptitiously videoed” or somehow entrapped, we’re just a bit baffled. The problem is what he said, surely, not why or how we came to learn that he said it.