Blog

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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Apr 27
2020

Should Public Library Boards Embrace Intellectual Freedom as Their Institutional Soul?


I want to first address the fundamental role and value of the public library in Canadian communities – its “value proposition,” grounded in intellectual freedom – and then make a case for intellectual freedom as the institutional soul of the public library. I will review the complexity of intellectual freedom as a boundary and balancing issue and comment on hate speech as a particularly contentious example, concluding with a call for the public library to brand itself as an intellectual freedom champion. (i)


By Alvin M. Schrader / Posted Monday April 27, 2020

Intellectual Freedom

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Apr 14
2020

Educating for Democracy in the Time of COVID-19


For those of us who have young people in our lives, the COVID-19 pandemic can present a unique opportunity to engage them in exercises that focus on democracy. Whether those young people are stuck in your home with you, or are distanced from you and only reachable using some kind of media (including your basic telephone), you can spend a little of the rather too abundant time we now have asking and considering important questions. 


By Danielle S. McLaughlin / Posted Tuesday April 14, 2020

Teachers & Students Speech Rights

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Apr 6
2020

A Cautionary Tale: Dangers to Collegial Governance in the Time of COVID-19


On March 19th, the Executive of the General Faculties Council at the University of Alberta took the unusual step of acting on delegated authority, at a special meeting, to refuse to grant students letter grades for their Winter 2020 courses. The plan, instead, was for students to receive only a CR (credit) or NC (no credit) notation on their transcripts.


By Carolyn Sale / Posted Monday April 6, 2020

Academic Freedom

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Mar 31
2020

Even in the Age of Covid-19, Justice Requires Open Courts


The justice system is facing unprecedented challenges. Like almost every other sector of society, the new realities of province-wide “social distancing” have raised fundamental questions about whether — and perhaps even how — courts and tribunals can continue to function in the age of the pandemic.  


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Mar 25
2020

Freedom of Expression, Misinformation, and Anti-Vaxxers: The Right Thing to Do Is Not Obvious


As a parent of a small child, I’ve been to immunization clinics quite a bit over the past two years. During every visit, I’m curious to ask the public health nurses about the giant elephant in the room, at least as someone who researches freedom of expression issues: How do you satisfy your public health mandate at a time when vaccine skepticism or hesitancy seems to be on the rise? 


By Dax D’Orazio / Posted Wednesday March 25, 2020

Disinformation

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