Have our hate crimes gone too far? In something akin to Communist Russia of old, and present day government monitored China, Canada is now persecuting its citizens and guests for the thoughts that they choose to share with the rest of us.

Former First Nations leader David Ahenakew was convicted this month of hate crimes for stating that Jews are poison and that they started WWII. He was fined $1,000 and will most likely be stripped of his Order of Canada.

While many applauded this decision, I personally am horrified. I am not anti-Semetic, nor do I agree with the statements made by this individual. I do, however, firmly believe that our freedom of speech is under a full attack. I cannot imagine how these statements constitute a threat to a person of Jewish heritage. They are stupid, nonsensical arguments that any educated person can see through, and they actually make this man look senile. They are, however, this man’s opinions and as a free Canadian, he ought to be able to express them, whether the rest of us agree with them or not.

Back in February, Canada deported Ernst Zundel to Germany and labeled him a security threat because of his anti-Semetic views. Ernst claims that the holocaust never happened. Would someone explain to me how this poses a security risk? This man was obviously mentally ill, and his ramblings for the most part were scoffed at by many, including this writer. One who can overlook so much historical proof is just a racist, period. Regardless of his views or opinions however, there was a time when he would have been able to express himself in this manner in our country. Not anymore.

The issue I am trying to raise is that we are becoming not unlike the communist countries that we used to scorn. One in China has to be careful of every spoken thought, and more so of the written word. I rather enjoy the fact that I can sit down and write whatever I so please. I also wish to continue to be able to do so without the threat of the police coming to my home to arrest me. It just doesn’t seem like something that could happen in our country, but apparently I am mistaken.

A great deal of good comes from a free and open debate. People have always spoken their minds to try to convince an audience. Debates have helped to shape our country, our laws, and our society. Debate is healthy and is an integral part of being a free nation. While we may not agree with the Ahenakew’s and th ‘s, we can’t pick and choose who is allowed to say what. We are going down a very dangerous road. I have read of people that have traveled it before, and their writings were always done from prison.

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