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Why do we need to protect people who want to upstage or interrupt our celebrations, or other public gatherings?
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For numbers of year now, there has been a movement that seeks to "indigenize" education in Canada. This means that our institutions will have to create an appropriate curriculum for non-indigenous and indigenous educators alike to deliver to a very diverse student body. Can this be done? If so, who will get to say what is appropriate and what is appropriation?
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Our society and our universities need a renewed ethic for how we are to navigate deep social divisions with one another, including how we advocate for the protection of rights, respond to the violation of rights and how we contest the terrains of rights and our responsibilities to one another in a pluralistic society.
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What is it about hair that ruffles so many feathers? Last week, despite having been told not to do so, an Ottawa teacher chopped the hair off a child, ostensibly because the child was chewing on it. The teacher appears to have believed that somehow, he was acting in the child's best interests. Had he decided the child's identity for him? Had he decided that a child with a disability cannot make his own choices as to his appearance?
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The RCMP feels that its voice and the voices of other law enforcement agencies aren't being heard in the government's public consultation on national security, which runs online until midnight PST December 15. Could something so weighted towards police powers have truly excluded the police?
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The reality is that every single person who wants to engage in free expression on university must deal with the campus thought police, first. The Canadian Taxpayer Federation's (CTF) student initiative, Generation Screwed, which deals with government debt and fiscal issues, has had its own share of challenges.
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Freedom of speech does not only protect one's right to be offensive, it also protects individual and communities' right to express their diversity. By staging the debate, focusing on anti-trans and anti-black freedom of speech, the University of Toronto is inflaming the toxic environment its trans and racialized students are facing.
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Badawi has been languishing in a Saudi prison since his first arrest in 2012, and his subsequent sentencing in 2014 to 10 years imprisonment and 1000 lashes, itself constitutive of torture and a standing violation of international human rights law. Raif Badawi's "crime"? Establishing an online forum and exercising his right to freedom of expression.
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The past week has brought a number of important issues to the forefront -- and many revolve around athletics. So, can we talk about freedom of expression in gym class?
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As the former director of education for the Canadian Civil Liberties Association, I have had to stand up for the rights of people I don't like very much, people who say and write things that I had hoped never to hear or read. But I have also taken the opportunity to let them know that, just because I will fight for their right to free expression, I have no intention of respecting what it is they say or represent. I am going to use MY free speech to let the ugly, abusive, and racist people out there know that they are wrong.
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If I were a teacher starting my career, or even in a well-established position, I would be very concerned that any publicly unpopular view I might hold could affect my employment. Even if I never chose to let my students know my views, my public political participation would be deeply chilled.
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Like it or not, Canada is a country that celebrates freedom of expression. Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms states that "Everyone has freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication." That "Everyone" includes people who say objectionable, false, foolish, misguided, or even ugly things.
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Being an adult, a parent, grandparent, caregiver, teacher or other adult who interacts with children is very hard work. If we are doing our job, we must tread in dangerous waters. How can we do this in a diverse and multi-layered society? Can we nurture, protect and educate children, all at the same time?
More authority and less freedom can be an attractive answer. And that's the problem. Legislation of this variety forces us to sacrifice our right to freedom of expression for the chance that some good might come of it. It's a trade off, and it's too high a price to pay, especially when there are less costly options available.
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Now, you may not like Confess's music. You may not like that they've chosen to express themselves through a loud and vociferous medium. But that's just a matter of taste, not of principle. Consider this fundamental tenet of a free society: it is too dangerous to grant a monopoly over expression to any government.
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Should York University accept funding that is contingent upon agreeing to remove a controversial piece of art? Without the ability to explore and express ideas that are troubling and even transgressive, universities would become mills that deliver pre-approved doses of information in community sanctioned packets.
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We have heard so much about students who want a "safe space" in which to learn, when what they seem to mean is that they refuse to face any unpleasant new ideas or contrary opinions. But professors? Could we be seeing a new wave from those in authority who would like to be protected from the noxious views of students?
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The law should not allow UVic to become a lesser and distorted version of itself, by denying students the right to peacefully express unpopular opinions. It's time to return universities to their central mandate of educating robust, thinking minds.
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Canada has received a rebuke from a United Nations treaty monitoring body for its lack of respect for human rights. The Human Rights Committee (HRC) released a lengthy list of issues it cited as concerning as part of its concluding observations on the country's review of civil and political rights. Included was an important reference to the federal government's efforts to silence human rights organizations and advocacy through the Income Tax Act -- a welcome expression of support for charities under audit.
Tech giants like Google, Facebook, Uber and Airbnb have entered unchartered policy territory where ethics debates, grey areas and government relations are the daily norm. While the seeming nuisance of having to deal with all these new policy implications all at once may seem cumbersome, the economic benefits and progress that has been made far outweigh the work.
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Democracies must protect freedom of expression, which includes the right to blaspheme. Freedom of expression and the right to dissent is either for everybody or for nobody, or the principal falls apart entirely.
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On January 7, I happened to be driving through the 11th arrondisement of Paris when I saw a police van jolt to a stop and a half dozen officers jump out and throw on bulletproof vests. My friend and I...
I couldn't help but puzzle over why it's called satire and freedom of expression to demean sacred tenets of the Muslim religion in cartoons on the cover of a magazine on the one hand, but an offensive Facebook posting mocking the Je Suis Charlie slogan by Dieudonné got him arrested on the other hand. As I was mulling over what all this meant, a friend challenged me, "when does freedom of expression end and hate speech begin?" It's an important question to ask in light of the events of last week.
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So much has been written about the cartoons published in the satirical magazine, Charlie Hebdo. But should main stream print media re-publish them? What if children see the images? What then? Or, alternatively, should we actively show them to our children? If we want our children to live in a democratic society, we had better teach them that freedom of expression has two ends to it.
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Wednesday's deadly attack on French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo has been roundly condemned around the world as an attack on free speech and the right to a free press. It's also a reminder tha...
In the past few years, I have made a handful of requests, dutifully paying my $5 in the hopes of receiving documents that will shed some light on Canada's human rights record. What has transpired is Kafkaesque. I requested information from the Department of Justice, Foreign Affairs, and Heritage Canada on our government's process for implementing human rights treaties. Between two departments, I was told that processing of my request would cost... wait for it ...more than $4,000 in search fees.
On April 25 of this year, the Ethiopian government made news by arresting six bloggers and three freelance journalists. It is now over 100 days, and counting, since the six Zone 9 bloggers and the three freelance journalists were thrown into Ethiopian prison cells. The nine writers are facing terrorism-related charges, standing accused of inciting violence through social media.
Proponents of Canada's Anti-Spam Legislation (CASL) have touted it as a giant leap for economic efficiency in e-commerce by making spam illegal. And CASL does list the promotion of "efficiency" as its purpose. But contrary to the good results this efficiency may bring, CASL could have a decimating effect on charities. Here's how.
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The University of Calgary recently reversed the guilty verdict of seven pro-life students who were found guilty of non-academic misconduct for setting up a display with graphic photos comparing abortion to the Holocaust and the Rwandan Genocide. The court decision has been heralded by some as being a victory for free speech on campus. But it's not.
In Norway, 1814 is known by many as "The Year of Miracles" because of the huge national and political changes that suddenly and rapidly took place that year. 1814 is the starting point for modern Norwegian democracy. It had both a national and a democratic element: independence for the state of Norway and liberty for Norwegian citizens
Most Canadians probably do not know what blasphemy is, let alone that publishing blasphemous materials is still a criminal offence in this country. But there is some irony here, because the Canadian government publicly defends the freedom to publish cartoons that mock a religious figure and looks abroad to protect religious minorities from oppression while at the same time punishing that at home.
One of the easiest ways for a municipal politician to keep his constituents happy is to give them what they want. Sometimes this means enacting popular yet dubious bylaws.
Perhaps this is the impetus behind the Town of Airdrie's push to amend its Public Behaviour Bylaw to prohibit bullying. After all, nearly everyone will rally behind politicians who enact laws to protect children from harm, regardless of those laws' faults.