Ezra Levant delivers opening remarks at Rebel News LIVE in Toronto

Every new idea, every step of progress comes from someone disrupting the norms.

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Freedom of speech is a strategic freedom upon which all other freedoms depend. It doesn't matter if you have an election if you're not allowed free speech — you can't campaign honestly.

Freedom of association, freedom of assembly as we gathered at the event — it doesn't matter if you don't have free speech underneath it. It's a core belief and a reason Western civilization has progressed.

Let truth and falsehood grapple — we don't know for sure the truth until we bang it out. Galileo thought he knew what was true while others said "that's a falsehood."

And I say to my friends on the left who have forgotten what Glenn Greenwald remembers, that freedom of speech is the tool that equalizes power for people who have no power.

Every new idea, every step of progress comes from someone disrupting the norms, disrupting the understanding. Let me put this in left-wing terms. The idea that women could vote used to be "outrageous and against the laws of nature" to some — you could imagine the arguments that were put 100+ years ago.

Women in society did not have the vote, they were not powerful. But they had an idea whose time had come. Think of the black civil rights movement, think of the gay liberation and equality movement.

In each of those cases, the arguments put forward by the progressive left were by definition offensive to the order of the day. So I think that the left used to understand the importance of free speech when they were using it.

But now that they've colonized the institutions, they want to shut the door behind them and not allow anyone to challenge them, anyone to disrupt them, anyone to upset them or offend them.

But the miracle of Canada is that there's no human right to not to be offended. But there is a right to be offended — which is actually wonderful when you think of totalitarian regimes like North Korea or Iran, you're not allowed to be offended to the government.

Being offended is OK, and if you don't want to be offended, don't go on social media, don't engage in debates. But don't stop those who want to.

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