North Okanagan—Shuswap MP Mel Arnold. (Contributed)

North Okanagan—Shuswap MP Mel Arnold. (Contributed)

Column: Democratic rights and freedoms must be protected

From the Hill by North Okanagan-Shuswap MP Mel Arnold

By North Okanagan Shuswap MP Mel Arnold

Canadians have fought and sacrificed in conflicts to protect democratic rights and freedoms of speech because these fundamental rights and freedoms must be protected.

Canadians must be allowed to express their views and trust in systems of democracy in which representatives elected by the people can ask tough questions and hold governments to account.

Last year, members of Parliament representing Canadians exposed the Trudeau government’s involvement in the WE charity scandal in which Trudeau’s family members and those of former finance minister (Bill) Morneau received benefits from the very organization that Trudeau and Morneau awarded a contract involving over $900 million.

As Conservative and other opposition MPs investigated this scandal amid a pandemic, the questions and revelations that followed escalated to the point that Trudeau prorogued Parliament because he wanted to escape the scandal. The investigations continued and Morneau was found to have broken the law, but an enduring concern is Trudeau’s blatant disrespect of Parliament and representatives of Canadians.

In June, the House of Commons issued multiple orders requesting uncensored documents from the government regarding two federal scientists dismissed for reasons of national security, but the Trudeau government consistently refused to comply. MPs passed a motion declaring the government’s noncompliance to be in contempt of Parliament and how did Trudeau respond? He filed a lawsuit against the Speaker of the House of Commons in federal court to seal the documents that MPs representing Canadians have requested, repeatedly.

Read more: Scheer calls on Trudeau to resign over WE deal

Read more: ‘Toxicity’ and ‘obstructionism’: Trudeau tells Canadians Parliament is dysfunctional

Representatives elected by Canadians were fulfilling their duty to demand accountability which Trudeau has denied and obstructed.

Last November, the Trudeau government introduced bill C-10, stating it was aimed at benefiting Canada’s artists and musicians by forcing web giants like Netflix and Spotify to increase investments in Canadian content. The government also stated it was committed to introducing another bill aimed at social media platforms like Facebook, but user-generated content would not be subject to new regulations.

Then, Trudeau Liberals suddenly amended the bill to extend its powers to regulate user-generated content on social media platforms and smart phone apps. A bill originally presented as essential to protecting and ensuring continued Canadian content suddenly became a government bill seeking to regulate what Canadians say or share on social media.

Preserving rights and freedoms requires vigilance and, as your elected federal representative, I will continue to fight for accountable government and the democratic rights and freedoms of all Canadians.

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