Free Speech

Voices-Voix documents and denounces federal government smearing of another target: Voices-Voix

October 1, 2015—In an ironic twist, today the Voices-Voix Coalition - which documents instances of the Canadian government attacking dissent and debate - is releasing a case study on itself.

"We never expected this when we started," says Robert Fox, a longtime social justice advocate and member of the Voices-Voix Strategy Group. "But Steven Blaney's accusations in parliament made it clear that we were no longer just documenting organizations that have been targeted, but had become a target ourselves."

In the National Interest? Criminalization of Land and Environment defenders in the Americas

By International Civil Liberties Monitoring Group, September 2015

The ICLMG and MiningWatch Canada released a report today that squarely links Canadian mining interests throughout the Americas with intensifying repression and violence against mining-affected communities.

Here in Canada and throughout the Americas, many governments have embraced resource extraction as the key sector to fuel economic growth, neglecting other sectors – or even at their expense. This is creating unprecedented demand for land and other resources, such as water and energy. In Latin America, economic dependency on intensive primary resource extraction has become known as ‘extractivism’.

Open letter supports fired Alberta park employee, warns of 'deep fear' in civil service

By Edmonton Journal, 23 September 2015

The firing of federal scientists who voice concerns about national parks has instilled a “deep fear” across departments in the civil service, more than 100 former Parks Canada employees warn in an open letter.

The unprecedented missive, released Wednesday and signed by 118 former Parks Canada managers and employees, adds fuel to the controversy about the muzzling of federal scientists by the Harper government.

Protecting Canadian Charities: A comparison of federal parties' positions on charitable rules in Canada

22 September 2015 (Toronto, ON) – Today, leading Canadian organizations have released a new summary of the federal party positions on protecting Canadian charities. This initiative is to protect charities and the voices of Canadians they represent and to encourage federal party leaders to establish new legal and policy protection that enables charities to participate more fully in public policy discussions.

It is critical for a healthy democracy that charities are involved in shaping public policy. Charities voice the concerns of millions of Canadians and provide subject matter expertise, which results in better, more effective policies and laws.

CBC President Hubert Lacroix: Public Broadcasters ‘Risk Being Boiled To Death'

By The Huffington Post Canada, 18 September 2015

The president of CBC/Radio-Canada says public broadcasters are caught in a “vicious circle” of budget cuts and service reductions that threaten their continued existence.

He said public broadcasters have been too slow to react to changing technologies and a changing political environment.

The Conservative government slashed the CBC’s public subsidy starting with the 2012 budget, reducing the broadcaster’s $1-billion annual subsidy by $115 million.

Fix Canada’s Broken Access to Information System

By Canadian Journalists for Free Expression, 14 September 2015

The undersigned organizations have issued a joint letter to the major political parties in Canada calling on them to make concrete commitments to reform Canada’s access to information system.

A strong access to information system is vital to maintaining a healthy democracy. The public has the right to obtain the information it needs to participate meaningfully in the democratic process, while also holding Canada’s public officials and Members of Parliaments accountable. The current system is failing Canadians.

Public servant investigated over political 'Harperman' song

By Ottawa Citizen, 27 August 2015

Tony Turner, a scientist in habitat planning at Environment Canada, was recently sent home on leave with pay while the government investigates the making of Harperman, a music video posted on YouTube in early June that has attracted about 48,000 hits.

The Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada, which represents federal scientists, said the union was representing Turner. It said he was put on leave pending the outcome of the probe into allegations that he violated the ethics code by writing and performing a political protest song.

Research Centre reports latest to be destroyed

By Lethbridge Herald, 25 August 2015

For more than a century, Lethbridge researchers have been spurring improvements for Canada’s farmers. Over that time, they’ve created a wealth of reports and studies while working at the city’s Agriculture and Agri-Food Research Centre.

But last week, much of that material was consigned to a dumpster under orders from Ottawa. The Lethbridge centre has become the 16th casualty of a Conservative government war against science, according to the federal scientists’ professional organization.

Media Advisory: United Nations Human Rights Committee to release report on Canada tomorrow, July 23, at 7:30am EST

22 JULY 2015--Tomorrow, July 23, 2015, at 7:30am EST, the United Nations Human Rights Committee will hold a press conference and release its report on the committee's latest review of Canada's adherence to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

Members of the Voices-Voix coalition who are experts in human rights and can speak to the importance of this report will be available for comment throughout the day.

New report from Voices-Voix says federal government “dismantling democracy”

Cover image of Dismantling Democracy

Since 2010, we have published more than 110 case studies that ‘connect the dots,’ showing a pattern of actions by the federal government to silence critics, stifle debate, diminish knowledge, and dodge accountability.

In Dismantling Democracy: Stifling debate and dissent in Canada, we document the abuse of parliamentary rules, the intimidation of public servants, and the defunding and intimidation of organizations that hold views at odds with the government.