Free Expression Report Card 2012-2013: Poll Results

Monday, July 8, 2013

By Nouran Sedaghat

A key component of CJFE’s annual Review of Free Expression in Canada is the Free Expression Report Card. Here we grade various government entities and officials on their performance in upholding the right to free expression in our country over the past year. In the 2012/2013 report card the institutions we evaluated ranged from Quebec’s provincial government to the Department of Fisheries and Oceans.

After releasing our grades with the Review, we decided to turn it over to you and hear what you had to say. We asked how you would have marked the government bodies we identified in our feature — here’s how you responded:

In general, most respondents agreed with the grades we gave – especially when it came to the harsher ones. For example, 80% of respondents believed the F we gave Canada, excluding Quebec, for its Anti-SLAPP legislation was well deserved. In the case of the federal government, however, your feedback indicates that we weren’t being tough enough; 90% of you opted for a D in place of our C-, while 46% chose an F in place of our D- in regards to the government’s Access to Information Act.

When it came to our positive grades, your votes were a bit more divided. The two As we handed out — to the Parliamentary Budget Office and the Government of Quebec for its Anti-SLAPP legislation — were quite contested. This is especially interesting when it comes to the latter, given that Quebec is the only province in Canada that has any type of Anti-SLAPP legislation. Despite this, only 30% of respondents felt comfortable giving the province’s government an A, while the remaining 70% divided its grades from B through to D. This could potentially be because Quebec courts remain reluctant to dismiss SLAPP cases early on, despite having the legislation in place (as we pointed out in our feature). If anything, your responses demonstrate that just because a government has made a law does not mean it can proclaim to have taken action.

Thank you to everyone who took our poll and shared your opinions!

CJFE’s original grades

Read the full poll results by clicking "View Results" at the bottom of each entry, or view the original report card in PDF or below.