Blog

Oct 1
2020

Free Speech Caution Tape: Can We Trust Those Lines?


An easy mistake to make in any discussion of freedom of expression is to believe there is absolute certainty anywhere in the definition of that term. If you are jumping into a debate on free speech certain you know exactly what you believe (plus all the implications of that belief), chances are you’ve grossly over-estimated your own position. If you’re doing that on Twitter, either get your thumbs familiar with the block/mute functions, or free up a lot of time for an epic Twitter fight unlikely to solve anything for anyone.


By John Degen / Posted Thursday October 1, 2020

Artistic Expression, Speech Restrictive Laws

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Sep 28
2020

Contest Over “Restructuring” and Collegial Governance at University of Alberta Could Set Dangerous New Precedent Across Canada


All eyes on the University of Alberta! Collegial governance is under attack there, along with the capacity of faculty to exercise their academic freedom rights. It is not clear whether the elected representatives of the General Faculties Council will have the meaningful opportunity to discuss and debate the restructuring process and proposed scenarios. If they cannot there may be serious consequences for the University of Alberta, and a harbinger of what may be facing the entire Canadian academy.


By Carolyn Sale / Posted Monday September 28, 2020

Academic Freedom

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Sep 21
2020

The Supreme Court’s judgments on Ontario’s anti-SLAPP legislation: Seven key takeaways


On September 10, 2020, the Supreme Court of Canada released its highly anticipated decisions in two cases addressing the interpretation and application of Ontario’s “anti-SLAPP” laws.  The two appeals — 1704604 Ontario Ltd. v. Pointes Protection Association and Bent v.


By Justin Safayeni / Posted Monday September 21, 2020

Speech Restrictive Laws

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Aug 12
2020

The Professor, the Petition and the President: Professor Bhabha, B’Nai Brith, and President Lenton


On June 23, 2020, B’Nai Brith issued a press release and posted an online petition calling on York University President and Vice-Chancellor Rhonda Lenton to bar Professor Faisal Bhabha from teaching any “human rights” course at Osgoode Hall Law School. More than six weeks later, the President has not provided an open or transparent response to B’Nai Brith’s widely publicized condemnation of Bhabha and petition to remove him from the classroom. 

The professor


By Jamie Cameron / Posted Wednesday August 12, 2020

Academic Freedom

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Jul 13
2020

The Kids Are Not All Right: Freedom of Expression and the Online Classroom


I don’t want to read one more piece that begins, “In these difficult (unprecedented, challenging, etc.)  times,” and neither do you. However, since the world changed, I have serious and long-term concerns about teaching and free expression. Now that the greater part of the K-12 experience has moved online or to other internet based instruction, and at the same time society has become less tolerant of unpopular opinions, I fear that we may be developing a generation of students who do not know how to disagree without becoming disagreeable.


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Jun 9
2020

Not Trampling on Anyone’s Rights: Doug Ford, the Better Local Government Act, and s.2(b) of the Charter


On July 30, 2018, the newly elected Ford government introduced legislation reducing the size of Toronto City Council from 47 to 25 councillors. Bill 5 was enacted in haste on August 14, 2018, about two weeks later.


By Jamie Cameron / Posted Tuesday June 9, 2020

Speech Restrictive Laws

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Jun 2
2020

Academic Freedom and Perceptions of Harm


Something very wrong has happened at the University of Alberta. A professor has been fired from part of her academic job for views on sex and gender that break with current orthodoxy.


By Carolyn Sale / Posted Tuesday June 2, 2020

Academic Freedom

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May 19
2020

Censorship in Canadian Schools


When there is a news report about books being challenged in a school library learning commons, it is often because the item was removed at the direction of the school or district administration following a parent complaint about a specific book and that the proper ‘Request for Reconsideration’ process was not followed.  


By Richard Beaudry / Posted Tuesday May 19, 2020

Censorship, Intellectual Freedom

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May 11
2020

Just doing their job: why we all need professors to exercise their academic freedom in Premier Kenney’s Alberta


Academic freedom, the “cornerstone” of the academy, is always under threat, often in subtle and invidious ways. But sometimes it is under threat in explicit ways, in the form of full-throated calls from members of the public demanding that academics who have publicly taken positions with which they disagree ought to be either disciplined or fired.


By Carolyn Sale / Posted Monday May 11, 2020

Academic Freedom

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May 6
2020

Making it illegal will not stop the spread of misinformation


As we have seen in recent elections and in the present pandemic, misinformation can do real harm.  But the Canadian government’s plan to consider legislation to criminalize the spreading of misinformation is the wrong response. Criminalization will not stop misinformation. In fact, it often draws more attention to it, as well as undermines civil liberties and human rights essential in a democratic society. 


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