Blog

May 18
2017

Local News: Connective Tissue That Holds A Community Together


As local newspapers across Canada are being downsized or shut down and the discussion increasingly turns to addressing the growing problem of fake news (indeed, the U.S. President calls any information he doesn’t like “fake”), there are still local newspapers valiantly determined to inform their communities and to speak truth to power. 


By Anne McNeilly / Posted Thursday May 18, 2017

Freedom of the Press

Read More



May 9
2017

Our Anxious Supreme Court


One gets the sense that the Supreme Court of Canada does not have a good feel for free speech questions. It took some time, for instance, for a majority of the Court to acknowledge that legal constraints might ‘chill’ free speech. The Court confidently proclaimed, on more than one occasion, that civil and criminal legal prohibitions should not be expected to deter speakers.


Read More



Apr 20
2017

How to Stand on Your Head


The Free Speech movement at Berkeley in the 1960s is within the memory of many of us. In Canada as in Europe, the 60s saw lasting improvement in the way universities run themselves, along with important reforms in the whole society. There was a push for access, equality, and fairness, a campaign led as much from below (the growing popular sentiment for egalitarian policies in health care and education, for instance) as from above (Lyndon Johnson and the Great Society).


By William Bruneau / Posted Thursday April 20, 2017

Academic Freedom

Read More



Apr 5
2017

What Do Chicken Soup and Motion 103 Have in Common? Rather A Lot, As It Turns Out.


On March 23rd, Parliament passed a motion tabled by Liberal back-bencher Iqra Khalid. The motion differs from a bill in that it has no effect in law; it acts as a suggestion, recommendation, or opinion. It is important to read the actual words of the motion -- the full text of which is:

Systemic racism and religious discrimination


By Danielle S. McLaughlin / Posted Wednesday April 5, 2017

Read More



Mar 27
2017

Component Parts of Effective Anti-SLAPP Legislation


Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (“SLAPPs”) are when Big Resources (private or public sector) sue Little Resources (individuals, non-profit organizations) in order to silence them.  If the person or organization being sued (often for defamation) can’t afford to fight the case, they are effectively prevented from speaking out on the subject that got them SLAPP’ed. The case may be weak or even ludicrous, but the merits of the case don’t matter if you can’t afford to defend yourself in court. 


By Micheal Vonn / Posted Monday March 27, 2017

Speech Restrictive Laws

Read More



Mar 20
2017

Climate Change Information and Disinformation


Disinformation, claims of competing economic imperatives and an inadequately informed public account for why governments have not acted effectively in response to the grave dangers posed by climate change.


By Jon Thompson / Posted Monday March 20, 2017

Disinformation

Read More



Feb 28
2017

Authority and Freedom at UCLA, Toronto, and UBC


March in Los Angeles is a sweet month full of sunny, windless, dry days. In 2016 just after Presidents’ Day, I was at UCLA to visit two museums. The weather was fine and the university was outdoors. To get from one museum to another, I passed through the central campus where students staffed busy kiosks flogging popular causes—complete with boom boxes and street dancing.

Soon I was nose to nose with four energetic students, two men and two women who wanted my signature on petitions.


By William Bruneau / Posted Tuesday February 28, 2017

Academic Freedom

Read More



Feb 16
2017

Fighting Bans with Gags? A Consideration of the Academic Boycott of US Conferences


Scholars in the United States and abroad have called for an academic boycott of international conferences in the United States in reaction to Donald Trump’s Executive Order banning people from seven Muslim-majority countries.


By Lara Karaian / Posted Thursday February 16, 2017

Censorship

Read More



Feb 13
2017

Minorities and Free Expression


Free expression may be the most important freedom in a democracy. It is the lifeblood of truth. Free expression rights are ostensibly a measure to protect minorities, especially oppressed minorities. Enabling a minority to speak truth to power is a beautiful thing. Nevertheless, free expression can pose difficult challenges for minorities.


By Abbas Kassam / Posted Monday February 13, 2017

Censorship

Read More