Free speech with a potential cost

Last year, we reported on Campbell administration attempts to stifle political debate by suggesting New Democrat accusations against senior Liberals may be defamatory. And that trend has continued in the most recent legislative session. According to a reading of Hansard, the Liberals have made such suggestions at least five times. And that's not even including the heckles Hansard doesn't record. The following is a list of examples.

Hon. M. de Jong: I predict that we have just heard commentary in this House that won't be repeated outside.

- March 12, 2008

Hon. W. Oppal: If the opposition is so preoccupied by Ms. McDonald and is making the allegations against her, why don't they step outside and make them?

- March 11, 2008

Hon. M. de Jong: This is pretty straightforward, Mr. Speaker. If the members opposite want to allege bad faith on the part of the deputy to the Premier, they should go out in the hallway and do so. If the members opposite want to allege some kind of improper conduct on the part of the deputy to the Premier, they should go outside and allege it, free from the kind of immunity that exists out here. I have never seen such a despicable attack as what I see from this opposition today.

- March 11, 2008

Hon. M. de Jong: Again, blanketed in the security that the immunity of this chamber grants all members, the opposition continues to cast aspersions on individuals.

- March 11, 2008

Hon. R. Neufeld: You know what? It's easy to say words in here where there's immunity. When you have to go out in a hallway and actually accuse a chief from the northwest that he was actually going to do something illegal...I would challenge that member to go out there and do that right now, right after question period. Go out there and actually accuse that chief of maybe doing something illegal.

- March 5, 2008

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