Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Diefenbaker's Manifesto on Freedom of Speech

In my days as a young lawyer, I began the drafting of a Canadian Bill of Rights. The 1938 election manifesto of the Conservative Party in Saskatchewan, authored by me and issued under my leadership, began with the following statement:

"The Conservative party pledges itself to maintain the rights of freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, freedom of religion, and freedom of the press, reaffirms its implicit belief in democracy and democratic institutions, and its absolute opposition to the principles of both Fascism and Communism."

One Canada, Memoirs of the Right Honourable JGD, The Years of Acheivement 1957-1962, MacMillan of Canada, 1976 pg 252

That was 70 years ago.

In 1960, after winning two landslide majorities, the Rt. Hon. John G. Diefenbaker and his government prevailed, and passed the Canadian Bill of Rights.

That was 48 years ago. Have we "progressed"?