Blog

Jun 19
2017

Intellectuals, Disinformation and Repression


Events of early 2017 in Canada and the US raised once again the question: why are Islamic people so often subjected to discrimination, repression and violence in our societies and abroad? Among the reasons is denigration of Islamic religion and culture by intellectuals whose writing has long been given prominence by Western mainstream media. Their disinformation helped to generate a political environment in which some people in the West uncritically accept severe actions against Muslims by governments, groups or individuals, and curtailments of rights for all.


By Jon Thompson / Posted Monday June 19, 2017

Disinformation

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Jun 12
2017

Why Muslims don’t need to condemn terrorism


Freedom of expression creates a metaphorical “marketplace of ideas” where truth and falsehood can do battle, the eventual victor given time, always being truth. This concept is a foundational principle of liberal democracy found in the philosophies of John Milton and John Stuart Mill. The concept even exists in Islamic theology where the Quran states “Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error” (2:256). 


By Abbas Kassam / Posted Monday June 12, 2017

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Jun 5
2017

Out on A Librarian Limb


We should applaud the public outcry that recently helped to restore Saskatchewan library funding. This situation served as an important signal work needs to be done to protect libraries and the people who work in them, who are often in difficult political situations, including over the freedom of expression.


By Toni Samek / Posted Monday June 5, 2017

Academic Freedom, Censorship

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May 29
2017

Ontario’s Anti-SLAPP law: off to a good start, but important concerns remain


[Co-written with Andrea Gonsalves and Carlo Di Carlo] In late 2015, the Ontario Legislature identified a problem:  it saw an increasing number of defamation cases in which the plaintiff’s goal was not to obtain compensation, but instead to drag a defendant into interminable and costly litigation as a form of retribution against the defendant for speaking out against the plaintiff.


By Justin Safayeni / Posted Monday May 29, 2017

Speech Restrictive Laws

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May 18
2017

Local News: Connective Tissue That Holds A Community Together


As local newspapers across Canada are being downsized or shut down and the discussion increasingly turns to addressing the growing problem of fake news (indeed, the U.S. President calls any information he doesn’t like “fake”), there are still local newspapers valiantly determined to inform their communities and to speak truth to power. 


By Anne McNeilly / Posted Thursday May 18, 2017

Freedom of the Press

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May 9
2017

Our Anxious Supreme Court


One gets the sense that the Supreme Court of Canada does not have a good feel for free speech questions. It took some time, for instance, for a majority of the Court to acknowledge that legal constraints might ‘chill’ free speech. The Court confidently proclaimed, on more than one occasion, that civil and criminal legal prohibitions should not be expected to deter speakers.


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Apr 20
2017

How to Stand on Your Head


The Free Speech movement at Berkeley in the 1960s is within the memory of many of us. In Canada as in Europe, the 60s saw lasting improvement in the way universities run themselves, along with important reforms in the whole society. There was a push for access, equality, and fairness, a campaign led as much from below (the growing popular sentiment for egalitarian policies in health care and education, for instance) as from above (Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society).


By William Bruneau / Posted Thursday April 20, 2017

Academic Freedom

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Apr 5
2017

What Do Chicken Soup and Motion 103 Have in Common? Rather A Lot, As It Turns Out.


On March 23rd, Parliament passed a motion tabled by Liberal back-bencher Iqra Khalid. The motion differs from a bill in that it has no effect in law; it acts as a suggestion, recommendation, or opinion. It is important to read the actual words of the motion -- the full text of which is:

Systemic racism and religious discrimination


By Danielle S. McLaughlin / Posted Wednesday April 5, 2017

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Mar 27
2017

Component Parts of Effective Anti-SLAPP Legislation


Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (“SLAPPs”) are when Big Resources (private or public sector) sue Little Resources (individuals, non-profit organizations) in order to silence them.  If the person or organization being sued (often for defamation) can’t afford to fight the case, they are effectively prevented from speaking out on the subject that got them SLAPP’ed. The case may be weak or even ludicrous, but the merits of the case don’t matter if you can’t afford to defend yourself in court. 


By Micheal Vonn / Posted Monday March 27, 2017

Speech Restrictive Laws

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Mar 20
2017

Climate Change Information and Disinformation


Disinformation, claims of competing economic imperatives and an inadequately informed public account for why governments have not acted effectively in response to the grave dangers posed by climate change.


By Jon Thompson / Posted Monday March 20, 2017

Disinformation

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