Monday, October 6, 2008

Freedom of expression does not include attempted murder

Ok, so I know I've been pretty obvious about my politics in the posts of the last few days, but despite how it might appear, what follows is not meant to be partisan.

Over the weekend, the election campaign got pretty ugly here in Canada. In two Toronto ridings, to be specific, where the cars of more than two dozen homeowners had their brake lines cut. The common link? All of the homes displayed signs supporting the Liberal Party of Canada.

Liberal supporters in the two ridings, St. Paul's and Parkdale-High Park, are being advised to check their brakes before leaving their driveways, to ensure their safety.

Vandalism at election time is nothing new, and supporters of all parties often have their signs removed from their lawns, or defaced. There have been several reports of such vandalism taking place across Canada throughout the course of this election campaign: Conservative signs on Gabriola Island were "hacked to the ground" last weekend; 150 Liberal signs in Etobicoke were removed from lawns and placed into the shape of a giant penis (no, the link doesn't send you to a picture, get yer minds out of the gutter!) on the grounds of a local middle school; and signs of every political stripe have been defaced in Montreal, the North West Territories, Ottawa and Nova Scotia, to cite just a few examples.

Most of the time this vandalism results in irritation, inconvenience and additional expense to candidates, who usually replace the signs. It is offensive to most people's sense of freedom of expression, and it reveals a definite lack of maturity and sophistication on the part of the perpetrators, (ok, sometimes, I'll admit, it also reveals a rather wicked sense of humour) but it isn't cause for serious alarm.

But not this time. One Liberal supporter didn't realize his brakes weren't working until he almost ran into a bus. This act of political expression (assuming that's what it was) endangers people's lives.

I'd love to know the how the Conservative/NDP/Green/other party supporter/yahoo without affiliation (the vandal(s) has/have not yet been identified) who cut the car's brake line would choose to justify his/her/their actions.

Obviously (I hope that is not overstating it), this is not the work of the average citizen, this is not the norm. Still, this really pisses me off. And it scares the crap out of me. Quite frankly, Canadians should all be grateful, and thank God/the Flying Spaghetti Monster/Mother Earth/their lucky stars/whomever that we live where we do, however imperfect our democracy is.

People in several countries would give their right arm to be as fortunate as we are. Many would kill for it. And, I dare say, doing so could be understandable, if not justifiable, in some places.

Not here.


  1. I'm going through the October blogroll on NaBlo to see what people are blogging about and to wish bloggers good luck this month.

    I have to say I really like your project counters! I have a gazillion unfinished projects, and have a hankering to start a new project right now. I love new projects.

    Anyway, good luck with NaBlo this month!