Who has the right to comment? Just those who do not disrupt ?

By Pepper Parr

March 9th, 2023



What can people say when they comment?  Should comments be edited?

The views of some people don’t, at times, sync with the wider community. Their rights don’t disappear just because they have a different view.

We read every comment carefully.  If we see it is as factually wrong – we ask the person commenting to back up their view with facts that can be substantiated.

A number of comments are abusive and amount to personal attacks on some other commentor.  Those do not get published.

From time to time we have suspended a commentor when they get a abusive.

It is not our place to decide if a comment is valid.  One recent commentor made remarks about Burlington’s Member of Parliament that disturbed a Gazette reader to the point where she asked to have her name taken off the subscription list saying:

“I have been a fan of the Gazette until I read (name withheld) comments on Karina Gould….this is a disgusting comment that you should never have printed. Painting her as a communist is absolutely atrocious…my husband and  I both want you to suspend our receipt of your publication…bad for our health and bad for creating division.”

Later we got:

“Anyone with these wild accusations that are obviously false should not be permitted to make statements that slander a person like Karina Gould who has great integrity.

“I understand your position is to stir some controversy but this kind of far right comment is just too anti-Canadian for me. We have enough negativity in this world.

“I will miss  the information that your column provides but allowing such unedited comments sows divisiveness that is totally unacceptable.”

I know the person who complained, have met her, she is a fine person and appreciate that she looks to the Gazette for local information.

This monument is in place for a reason – to remind us that the democracy we have needs to be defended – every day.

Where I have a problem is being expected to censor a person’s point of view.  It is not our place to decide that a point of view is divisive. Readers can come to their own conclusion.

What I found difficult was a viewpoint that asks us to censor a person’s view.  If we start doing that who do we censor next?

The right to express a point of view is a fundamental pillar of a democratic society that many lost their lives defending.

We believe the man who wrote the comment is dead wrong – but he has the right to express an opinion.

I do regret losing the reader but the principal is too important to let others decide what a person can say.

They of course have to be polite, respectful of others and have their facts right.

Canada is sending money, munitions and tanks to Ukraine to help them defend the democracy they have – we think it a mistake to side with people who want to take that right away from people they see is as disruptive.

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4 comments to Who has the right to comment? Just those who do not disrupt ?

  • Keith Demoe

    The notice is just a threat, these people will still tune into your articles…human nature. They are just trying to establish a narrative for the Gazette that supports who they support. It concerns them, mainly because you have a platform with readership and they don’t want people to start seeing those they support in a negative view. We rely on the media to point out inconsistencies and call politicians out on certain topics. Keep it up!!

  • David

    People lose their way in life with labels, Marx and Friedrich Engles collaborated on their communist manifesto in London England as a way to help the poor and down trodden in an era of extreme poverty, being a Communist was a noble stance to bring people together and work for the common good of the working class, the enemy of the people is clearly defined as capitalists who exploited the common people.

    Fascism is a kind of lazy top down form of rule where the leader imposes his will through intimidation and violence on a population, usually backed by government forces, the enemy in this case is the population at large.

    Nazism was just another form of control laid out in ‘Mien Kampf’ by a charismatic leader who promises to purge undesirables from the population so the remainder achieve some form of nirvanic state, the enemy is whomever the leader deems to be undesirable at any given point in time, anyone can be made undesirable, you just need to play one part of the population against another, the compliant will fall into line the not so compliant will stay silent and who’s ever left will be the enemy of the state.

    Justin Trudeau on behalf of the Liberal party as a whole has stated in a heady moment that he admires China’s basic dictatorship, oddly he doesn’t mention communists? (Dictators are usually part of fascist regimes?) He also stated giddily we could beat climate change by using mandates such as the ones used to combat Covid, and went on to say we could accomplish anything with mandates?

    The Emperor Caligula ordered his legions to battle Neptune and defeat the sea, he triumphantly returned to Rome with chests full of seashells as the spoils of a war well won.

    Pol Pot of Cambodia ordered anyone with soft hands be executed.

    Stalin executed (the intelligentsia) that is anyone smarter than him.

    There are many more examples of promised but failed governance in the thousands of years of earths history.

    The above is just a very quick view of how complicated it is to correctly identify what labels should be assigned to people who are so willingly and faithfully followed, democracy is incredibly fragile bad leaders are becoming ever more sophisticated a free thinking people and free institutions are essential to hold democracy and progress together.

    As a Conservative I regularly lambasted Harper by e-Mail, I’m not that happy with Ford either, trust is not free you have to continually earn it.

    Feel free to fill in any blanks iv’e missed and to soundly spank my remembrances of historic events.

  • The right to comment and make a noise about issues that may well land you in hot water with those who do not appreciate your perspective at Halton Board of Education was finally taken up by our MPPs and then the Minister of Health. We first heard of the issue during the municipal election. Anne was asked her opinion on whether it was right for a gigantic breast prosthesis that was being worn by a teacher was not being dealt with appropriately and what she would do to support her position. Her position was every student has a right to learn in a comfortable environment and this was clearly not such with such a prosthesis being worn by a teacher.

    It took months and months and the closing of the school due to threats before the right to comment etc. finally got the desired action from the Board. We hope next time there is an issue that disturbs a particular envrionment that the comments wield more power and are actioned a lot earlier than they have done in the past.

  • SteveW

    Before there was the internet there was public forums like Hyde Park – Speakers Corner. Read about it here:
    Now anyone can get up and make the most ridiculous statement/arguement and be saluted, booed, insulted but mostly ignored in the end. This is a fundamental right of a democracy (providing the statement is not slander)
    That is what I think of comments on social media and on forums like Burlington Gazette. Everyone has the right to make a comment and sometimes you even learn a perspective you didn’t previously consider.