Editorial: The mayor is a dummy head and other thoughts on freedom

“The Mayor of Morinville and his Council are a bunch of idiots that couldn’t lead a parade, let alone a growing community.”

The following statement is not one that this publication agrees with – far from it in fact. But it is one that we have published nonetheless because freedom of the press gives us the right to make provocative, controversial and even ill-informed statements – published opinions that can freely criticize our municipal, provincial and federal leaders for the actions or inactions they take without fear of execution, imprisonment or even reprisal.

You are free to read such statements or not. You are also free to agree with such statements or not. Such is the nature of a free society and such is the message behind Freedom to Read Week, an annual event that celebrates the great freedom we have in this country to (with reasonable exceptions) write what we want and to read what we want.

And yet in this day and age where the free exchange of ideas and ideologies (both well-informed and ill-informed) travel with the rapidity of an Internet Tweet, there are those who would still ban and censor the written word for no other reason than it does not agree with their particular worldview.

Fortunately such challenges are few and far between in Canada, and the days when a book like Rabbit’s Wedding (which depicts a black and white rabbit holding hands on the cover) could be removed from library shelves for its seemingly interracial agenda are over.

And yet it was only a few years ago that Harry Potter was challenged and removed in some areas because it was a book that dealt with magic, much like the Chronicles of Narnia, which are often praised by those who would ban Harry Potter or the Twilight series.

Censorship or attempts at censorship remain in our modern society and the freedom to write and the freedom to read is something we must never take for granted.

The Morinville Community Library has brought together a collection of banned books for Freedom to Read Week (Feb. 24 – Mar. 2) and are encouraging patrons to read the books and to appreciate the great freedom we enjoy in this country, a freedom that allows us to read books that are provocative, controversial or simply at odds with the most vocal of opponents, people whose ideologies and worldviews are challenged by the free exchange of ideas that are the very cornerstone of a free society.

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