Township council threatens free speech
Editor: I am writing to express my concern about the recent notice of motion that will soon be under extended discussion at Langley Township council.
The crux of the conversation will address whether or not a Township councillor can be restricted to a specific number of notices of motion annually. I understand that Councillor Kim Richter received a legal opinion indicating that such a move would be contrary to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, but the majority of council voted to continue to consider the matter at a later date.
Many of our paid representatives on council seem to believe this is the direction that citizens support. The policies of openness, transparency and free speech, which are the hallmarks of democracy, must be based on concrete principles that reflect what generations have fought and died for.
Although there may be merit in fine-tuning the current process, I suggest it is inappropriate to continue to discuss such a flawed proposition. This restriction would largely block an important mechanism through which citizens can have their concerns raised. Any diminishment of this access is problematic.
David Eby, former executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association, says attempts to gag those who disagree with you politically “marginalize democratic citizen participation and deliberately treat the most valuable form of individual expression as inappropriate, invasive, threatening and bad, when in fact it is the prohibition on political speech that should have drawn those pejoratives.”