Democracies need reporters who follow their curiosity, ask uninhibited questions, and tell unwelcome stories.
In the last provincial election, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney joined other Conservative politicians that have purportedly become stalwart defenders of free expression on campus. Details I have obtained through access-to-information requests tell a very different story. But first, some background.
Some years ago, a high school history teacher I know told me that he had received an essay that supported Holocaust denial. The student, who was told to use primary and secondary sources in his research, cited his grandfather. Grandpa had been in the army of an Eastern European country and had assured his grandson that the Holocaust was a hoax. He had seen Auschwitz. It had a swimming pool. It was actually like Club Med, reported Grandpa.
What lessons have been learned for Canadian smart-city governance from the long-running Sidewalk Labs saga?
By Mariana Valverde / Posted Tuesday February 23, 2021
Co-written by Alexandra Flynn
Violent Hate Groups Must Be Held To Account — Using Rights-Violating Anti-Terrorism Laws Isn’t The Way To Do It
The violent attacks on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, on January 6th were, in large part, a culmination of four years of a political regime that incited violence and hatred based on racism, white supremacy and xenophobia.
In the aftermath, governments, law enforcement and the public are searching for ways to hold the perpetrators accountable and ensure such violence isn’t repeated, even as threats of similar mob violence on inauguration day rise.
When extremists grab the spotlight, journalists face tough news choices. The question isn't free expression. It's how to do needed reporting while avoiding amplification. A consensus is forming on how to tread that line.
I don’t know about you, but I am not fond of humour that is aimed at humiliating or degrading individuals, even if those individuals are public figures. It is one thing to point out the foibles of people’s actions and another to make fun of someone’s appearance or other characteristics that are immutable. I am truly over racist, sexist, and body-shaming humour.
Well, hello again. Having ended last month's column with a candid appeal for readers to "talk back" about free speech, I was grateful to those who took me at my word. They made me think new thoughts, which is, of course, the whole idea.
By Ivor Shapiro / Posted Wednesday November 18, 2020
Freedom of Information, Universities & Transparency: Lessons from Emily Eaton and the University of Regina
Access to information (ATI) is animated by a simple principle: the public ought to know. Despite governments unfortunately tending towards secrecy and risk-aversion, a free flow of information is absolutely vital for democracy. ATI, then, is an important democratic safeguard, to mitigate the negative predilections of government and ensure a robust state of public discourse. ATI legislation first emerged in Sweden in 1766, but it wasn’t until the postwar era that it began to flourish in a number of other liberal democracies.
By Dax D’Orazio / Posted Thursday November 12, 2020