If this column is ever read by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau or by one of his CBC minions, it’s possible my bank account might get frozen.
After all, I plan to express an opinion that many in the Liberal Party and in the mainstream media might find offensive or even dangerous.
Yet, I’m taking the risk because I’m concerned about how the principle of political anonymity is coming under attack in this country.
Yes, let me be clear, I think it’s OK for a citizen to keep his or her political views confidential.
To me, it’s a key principle for any free and democratic society; it’s why we have a secret ballot.
Political anonymity also has a long tradition. The Federalist Papers, for instance, were penned anonymously.
Yet, in the past few weeks some people have gotten their knickers in a knot because many of the online donations to support the “Freedom Convoy” were anonymous.
To them, such political anonymity is both worrisome and frightening.
Indeed, a panicked CBC even suggested that one of those anonymous donors to the trucker protest was none other than Russian President Vladimir Putin!
Consequently, I’m sure it won’t be long before demands will arise to ban anonymous donations for private causes in the name of “transparency.” (We already have such a ban in place, by the way. for people donating to political causes during federal elections.)
I think that’d be a really bad idea.
Well, the way I see it, making anonymous donations illegal is a direct attack on free speech.
And yes, making a financial donation to a cause you believe in is a form of free expression.
I know all about this issue because once I worked for a conservative advocacy organization called the National Citizens Coalition, which kept the names of its donors confidential.
Some in the media criticized us for such a policy, calling it “secretive,” but we knew the NCC had a lot of powerful enemies, enemies who could certainly make life extremely difficult for anyone they found supporting us.
As a matter of fact, after the NCC became involved in supporting a unionized teacher who was legally challenging the right of unions to use his forced dues to finance the NDP and other left-wing causes, an Ontario labour leader threatened to tear up the union card of any unionized employee found donating money to the NCC.
Anyone losing their union card, would also lose their job.
Of course, you don’t have to go back in time to see why confidentiality is important when it comes to political donations.
Just consider what’s happening to those unfortunate people who donated to the “Freedom Convoy” and then had their names made public after a cyberattack on a crowdfunding site leaked the names of donors.
To take one example, a woman who made a $250 donation to the truckers had to close her business after someone threatened to throw a brick through her window.
Please note, the media has also been gleefully tracking down anyone on the leaked donor list.
All of this is too much even for left-wing Congresswoman Ilhan Omar who tweeted, “I fail to see why any journalist felt the need to report on a shop owner making such an insignificant donation rather than to get them harassed. It’s unconscionable and journalists need to do better.”
Let’s hope nobody gets hurt or faces financial ruin because of a donation.
Mind you, there are those who’ll argue that anyone who supports the truckers deserves to be threatened and persecuted.
As Gerald Butts, Trudeau’s former principal secretary, tweeted, “These guys think you should be able to donate to an insurrection anonymously. Give me a break?”
I’d only respond to that by saying, I seriously doubt anyone who donated to the “Freedom Convoy” did so thinking it would topple the Trudeau regime. I, for one, can’t remember any insurrection in history that featured bouncy castles and hot tubs.
At any rate, I fully realize I’m probably fighting for a lost cause here.
It’s depressing to ponder, but our democratic rights are easily sacrificed on the altar of unfounded fears.
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to check my bank account.