Blog

Sep 1
2017

When Progressives Start Abandoning Free Speech


In the wake of attacks in Charlottesville, Virginia there were a number of rallies in Canadian cities.  The anti-racist counter-demonstrators hugely outnumbered their rally opponents, constituting phenomenal public solidarity against racism.  There was much to be cheered in these events.

One thing dampened this amazing response.  It was how, for some, denouncing hate slid into denouncing speech rights and into dangerous calls for governments to prevent rallies.


By Micheal Vonn / Posted Friday September 1, 2017

Censorship

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Aug 25
2017

Two Sides in the Debate: Racist Demonstrations


If we understand Donald Trump’s statement that there are two sides in the confrontation/demonstration in Charlottesville as a claim that there are two legitimate, morally serious, positions being presented in a debate about multiculturalism, then it is ignorant, disturbing, and harmful. 

But if instead we understand his statement as a claim that under the First Amendment Nazis and anti-Nazis have an equal right to present their positions to the public - and an equal obligation not to use force to silence the other side - then he is not wrong. 


By Richard Moon / Posted Friday August 25, 2017

Censorship

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Aug 18
2017

Ryerson Made a Mistake in Cancelling Panel Discussion


Ryerson University made a mistake two days ago. It lost sight of its mission in cancelling an upcoming panel discussion featuring controversial speakers that included University of Toronto psychologist Jordan Peterson and Rebel Media journalist Faith Goldy.


By James L Turk / Posted Friday August 18, 2017

Academic Freedom, Censorship

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Aug 2
2017

J’accuse! Maclean’s, McGill, and the Andrew Potter Affair


In early March of 2017, the Opinion editor at Maclean’s contacted me by email, inviting me to write a piece regarding the resignation of Dr. Andrew Potter as Director of the McGill Centre for the Study of Canada.  


By Len Findlay / Posted Wednesday August 2, 2017

Academic Freedom

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Jul 26
2017

Cultural Appropriation in Coldplay’s “Hymn For the Weekend” Video: An Orgasmic Defence


As a Brown woman, I have experienced some harassment over the years.  On the mild side, acquaintances have inquired whether I am a Muslim fundamentalist, it has been suggested that I landed a faculty position because I am racialized, and the epithet “Paki” has been hurled at me on occasion.  On the extreme side, a Molotov cocktail was placed under my mother’s car after we had an altercation with former White neighbors (they objected to our use of the front lawn, where extended family would sometimes gather for BBQ parties, Bhangra music and card-playing).  The bomb never went off.


By Ummni Khan / Posted Wednesday July 26, 2017

Artistic Expression, Censorship

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Jul 19
2017

Public Libraries and Freedom of Expression


Should we expect our public institutions to protect our freedom of expression?  The Toronto Public Library made a controversial decision in July 2017 to permit a memorial to the late Barbara Kulaszka to be held in a rental space in one of the library’s branches. Ms Kulaszka, a former librarian, was a lawyer best known for her legal defence of Holocaust deniers and white supremacists. Many people registered their objection to the event, both before and after it took place. These people include the President of the Toronto Public Library Workers Union and the Mayor of Toronto, John Tory.


By Danielle S. McLaughlin / Posted Wednesday July 19, 2017

Censorship

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Jul 5
2017

Repeal Defamatory Libel


On March 8th and June 6th, 2017, the Minister of Justice introduced bills to amend the Criminal Code. The purpose of Bills C-39 and C-51 is to repeal a number of criminal offences. Blasphemous libel is on the list, but seditious libel and defamatory libel are not.


By Jamie Cameron / Posted Wednesday July 5, 2017

Speech Restrictive Laws

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Jun 29
2017

Pornography as a “Public Health” Crisis: Censoring Sexual Speech Through the Back Door


Pornography has once again been thrust onto the public stage. This time, however, it’s been (re)framed as a “public health” issue (as opposed to a women’s equality issue or a source of criminal harm). I’ve been researching sexual speech for almost as long as I’ve been consuming it, which is to say a long time. It therefore comes as no surprise that we’re in the midst of yet another attempt to censor it and to surveille its consumers.


By Lara Karaian / Posted Thursday June 29, 2017

Censorship

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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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