Jan Wong and the Muzzling of Free Speech in Canada

Published Categorised as Personal, Brain Power

I caught the end of Jan Wong’s interview on Metro Morning on CBC Radio 1 Monday last week. Matt Galloway asked her why she wrote her book Out of the Blue. She answered with an experience I find so familiar.

People think we have freedom of speech in Canada, but lawyers routinely muzzle Canadians. Privacy legislations are used as a way to prevent people from telling the truth. Confidentiality agreements perpetuate anti-freedom of speech so we are left in ignorance about how things actually work.

I was not allowed to write or speak about my brain injury or my insurance battles. After pleading to keep a blog, I was given permission by my lawyer to do so only if I didn’t write about a whole host of things, including insurance law, health care, brain injury, me.

After all was wrapped up, it took me over a year, and only with the encouragement of a social worker, to write about my brain injury. I felt like a mole coming out into the light, blinking against it, and looking back to see if the darkness was still there, waiting to get me. I have not yet found the courage or figured out how to write about the insurance battles so many of us wage, that wearies thousands of us.

Wong must’ve been like me and managed to keep out the usual confidentiality portion of a settlement or found a way around it. After years of being silenced, she says it’s liberating to write her story. That is a lesson for me.

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