Social Justice Requires Intellectual Freedom - Why the Toronto Public Library Should Refuse to Deplatform Meghan Murphy
Once again, the Toronto Public Library is under attack for upholding intellectual freedom. Some who find Feminist Current’s founder Meghan Murphy’s views offensive are demanding that the TPL abandon its principled commitment to intellectual freedom by withdrawing the space at a branch library it has rented to sponsors of Murphy’s upcoming talk on "Gender Identity: What does It Mean for Society, the Law and Women?"
Co-Authored by Nader Hasan
On November 12, 2018, the University of Toronto’s student newspaper, The Varsity, reported that Muslim Student Association executives had been regularly receiving surprise visits from RCMP and CSIS agents regularly since 2016. Since the events of 9/11 in the United States, security and intelligence officials have taken an interest in Muslim Students Associations (MSAs) across universities in both Canada and the United States.
Barely a day goes by without reading a new story about employees being punished, fined, fired or shamed for engaging in online conversations about the workplace. Social media is radically transforming the relationship between employees and their employers in a host of ways not the least of which is its capacity to simultaneously augment peoples’ ability to express their voice and employers’ ability to monitor and discipline employees.
By Charles Smith / Posted Wednesday September 18, 2019
Co-written by Daniel J. Paré
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.