Saturday, August 29, 2015

Be careful what you write, what you sing

Acclaimed prize-winning author Margaret Atwood's satirical column lambasting Canada's conservative prime minister Stephen Harper's hair was removed within hours of publication on The National Post's website.  [Source]
And an environmental scientist working for Environment Canada has been suspended and will be investigated for recording a protest song about the prime minister.

Turner was being accused of having “violated the departmental code of values and ethics in that the writing and performing of this song somehow impeded his ability to impartially study migratory birds”.

“We will stand up for its members who face the prospect of being disciplined for exercising their democratic rights as citizens. The supreme court of Canada has confirmed that public service workers, like all Canadian citizens, benefit from freedom of expression,” Debi Daviau, the president of the Professional Institute of the Public Service of Canada (PIPSC), the union which represents Turner.

“Can’t we make jokes or say anything? Are we all muzzled? This is the politics of fear. I am an activist and singer but mostly I am a citizen and I care about democracy and freedom of speech,” Diane McIntyre, who sang a solo in the song, told the Ottawa Citizen. [Source]

It is getting so that if you work for the government, you cannot publicly sing out your opinion of its leaders. And if you're a writer, you will be censored for calling attention to the actions or non-actions of those in government - and don't even think about daring to make fun of them.

So . . . Orwellian.