Can Public Libraries Maintain Their Commitment to Intellectual Freedom in the Face of Outrage over Unpopular Speakers?
An unprecedented number of public disputes have erupted across Canada in recent years about meeting room bookings and speaker’s events in the country’s public libraries. Most disturbingly, critics have ignored, disparaged, and frequently rebuffed the time-honoured commitments of Canadian public libraries to freedom of expression and unfettered access to library services.
On June 24, Sidewalk Labs, a sister company to Google, released its three-volume, 1,500-page Master Innovation and Development Plan (MIDP) containing its draft proposals for a smart-city project in Toronto. This post focuses Sidewalk Labs’ discussion of “Creating a Trusted Process for Responsible Data Use” (Part 3 of a chapter on “Digital Innovation” -- Volume 2, Chapter 5--) (Volume 2, Chapter 5. Part 3 proposes the use of a “civic data trust” to govern the “urban data” generated within the proposed smart city project area.
You will likely have seen quite a few opinion pieces lately about what’s being called variously the “Canadian” media bailout, the “government” media bailout and the “Liberal” media bailout.
So, yes, there’s a media bailout afoot.
George Orwell’s 1946 essay “Politics and the English language” is my suggested summer reading for Toronto city councillors and anyone interested in the ‘smart city’ plan that Sidewalk Labs/Google has proposed for Toronto’s waterfront. This is where you can peruse the multi-volume work, but if plowing through googlespeak for 1500 pages doesn’t appeal, you can instead read the informative ‘
Recent events at the University of British Columbia show again the powerful allure of censorship as the way to deal with deeply concerning social issues. In this case, the issue is sexual identity and gender identity.
If you care about corporations monetizing data generated by people’s desire to communicate, you may have read worrying stories featuring some of the Google octopus of companies, including Sidewalk Labs, whose ‘smart city’ proposals for Toronto’s waterfront have drawn much critical attention in this blog and elsewhere.
Almost 12 years ago complaints were made under the Canada Human Rights Act [CHRA] and the BC Human Rights Code [BCHRC] against Maclean’s Magazine following its publication of an excerpt from Mark Steyn’s book, America Alone. The substance of the complaints was that in publishing this material (on-line and in and print) Maclean’shad exposed Muslims to hatred and contempt contrary to s. 13 of the CHRA and s. 7 of the BC Code.
By Richard Moon / Posted Tuesday April 2, 2019
In February 2019, public school students of the United States marked a major victory. Fifty years ago, the decision in Tinker v. Des Moines Independent Community School Districtexonerated one middle school and two high school students who had been forbidden to wear black arm bands to school to protest the war in Vietnam.
Your Ward News (YWN) is a publication of unremitting offensiveness – in truth it is little more than a senseless and grotesque cartoon. Yet that is largely beside the point under the Charter. Though it took time and a concerted campaign by those offended by YWN’s existence, the law’s force was eventually brought to bear on its publishers.