Letters: ‘Bullying behaviour’ is not democracy

There is no definition of what “detrimental to the public interest” means.

Editor, The News:

Re: ARMS worried it may be silenced (The News, Oct. 29).

Environmental groups are concerned that the provincial government is planning to bring in legislation under the Society Act that will result in unfair court actions against them.

The contemplated act states that a court order may be issued against a society if it is “carrying on activities that are detrimental to the public interest.”

There is no definition of what “detrimental to the public interest” means.

However, the phrase is there for a purpose. It would discourage societies from criticizing the government.

This is bullying behavior that is not consistent with our democracy.

Governments and corporations are increasingly limiting the freedom of expression that is essential in an open democracy.

This is evident in the actions of the federal government, which is having organizations that have been critical of them audited. This has included environmental organizations and societies such as the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives and Amnesty International.

Organizations that are aligned with the aims of the federal government, such as the Fraser Institute and the CD Howe Institute, are not being audited.

The blatancy of this move is astounding and disturbing.

This misuse of power is simply not acceptable in Canada.

Citizens must make it clear to all governments that we will not be coerced into giving up our right to freedom of expression.

Michael Sather

Maple Ridge