Blog

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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Mar 19
2020

What’s Up with Waterfront Toronto? Why The Silence From City Hall And Other Governments?


The news on the coronavirus are dominating our newscasts so much that many other stories are being neglected. That’s natural. But some stories, like Waterfront Toronto’s relationship with Google sister company, Sidewalk Labs, planning the Toronto waterfront “smart city” project, were being neglected for many months before the virus struck.


By Mariana Valverde / Posted Thursday March 19, 2020

Smart Cities - Connected Communities

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Feb 19
2020

Have we Lost the Plot with Polanski?


Roman Polanksi’s back in the news again, this time because of the 12 César Academy nominations he received for his latest film, An Officer and a Spy. Outrage ensued, as it always does, whenever the fugitive director receives any recognition for his work.  In response to the criticism, the entire César Academy Board resigned last week. 

While some may view this as a #metoo victory, I wonder if we have allowed punitive impulses to misplace our priorities.


By Ummni Khan / Posted Wednesday February 19, 2020

Artistic Expression, Censorship, Speech Restrictive Laws

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Feb 3
2020

Political boycotts are protected expression in Canada


Dr. David Kattenburg is a wine lover and activist. Recently, he merged these two passions together by litigating the issue of whether political boycotts are a form of Charter-protected expression. Specifically, in a judicial review before the Federal Court, Dr. Kattenburg challenged the Canadian Food Inspection Agency’s decision to maintain the labeling of wines produced by Israeli settlers in the West Bank as “Products of Israel”. In the evidence before the Court, Dr.


By Abbas Kassam / Posted Monday February 3, 2020

Censorship, Speech Restrictive Laws

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Jan 13
2020

Is Picketing a Teachable Moment?


You may have noticed your kids sleeping in on school days a bit more this academic year. Or maybe you haven’t noticed because they are up and out the door, marching on a picket line in front of their local school.


By Danielle S. McLaughlin / Posted Monday January 13, 2020

Teachers & Students Speech Rights

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Dec 16
2019

Intellectual Freedom Debate: Why Meghan Murphy and Why Now?


In 2019, we seem to have crossed a professional threshold where discourse is still possible and ongoing but, like many other instances in our everyday lives, it is becoming politicized and polarized around rigid presumptions of someone’s opinion being right and the opposing viewpoint being wrong. There is no place for a middle ground discussion.


By Richard Beaudry / Posted Monday December 16, 2019

Intellectual Freedom

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