The BC New Democrats launched a campaign at www.DontMuzzleBC.ca to fight proposed changes to the Society Act that would effectively muzzle non-profits and suppress free debate in British Columbia.
The BC Liberals are proposing to allow nearly anyone to file a complaint with the BC Supreme Court if they believe a non-profit group is “carrying on activities that are detrimental to the public interest.”
In an email to New Democrat supporters, Leader John Horgan outlined the potential impact of this policy:
“The changes would allow private interests to sue environmental and community groups just for opposing their projects, tying those groups up in expensive court battles. Environmental organizations, neighbourhood associations, churches, you name it — they could all find themselves targeted if Clark’s plan goes through.
The potential impact of this policy is chilling. It could effectively muzzle free expression and public debate across British Columbia, striking at the very heart of our democratic values and giving unprecedented power to those with the deepest pockets.
This is wrong and the NDP is going to fight it. But we need your help. Please visit DontMuzzleBC.ca right now to add your voice and show Christy Clark that we won’t stand for this.”
NDP Environment Spokesperson Spencer Chandra Herbert said that early response to the campaign has been very strong.
“In just a couple of hours, over 1,600 people have already joined the campaign to protect free debate in BC,” he said. “I think British Columbians are angry that Christy Clark is trying to silence small, volunteer-run community groups, and they are saying no.”
Chandra Herbert believes that if enough people sign on to the campaign, Clark will be forced to reverse course and abandon her plan.
“The more people who add their voices, the better chance we have of defeating this,” he said. “If you value free discussion and the important work of non-profit groups, please visit DontMuzzleBC.ca right now and add your name.”
(Next week Liberal’s turn)