Stop fretting about social media giants and build a competitor

If enough people band together, they can finance a new platform. This is a free and open market

Stop fretting about social media giants and build a competitorAgainst the frenzy of inaccurate and manipulative information consistently roaring through social media sites, the companies that manage these sites – like Facebook, YouTube and Twitter – have been trying to combat misinformation. However, they always seem to be two steps behind. Initially, in an effort to keep up with the sheer volume of material,…

Elections Canada’s limits on free speech a sign of the times

There’s nothing more fundamental to the democratic ideal than the freedom to speak one’s mind and sound as wise or foolish as that happens to sound

Elections Canada’s limits on free speech a sign of the timesThe news that environmental groups have been warned their speech will be regulated during the upcoming federal election campaign has finally drawn attention to the stifling impact of the nation’s most recent election legislation. This latest twist is due to People’s Party of Canada Leader Maxime Bernier, who has expressed doubts about anthropogenic climate science.…

Questioning government is fundamental to democracy

Freedom of speech, freedom of the press and academic freedom are core principles in the functioning of a democracy. Yet today those who embrace these ideals are seen as anti-American

Questioning government is fundamental to democracyJewish-American songwriter Bob Dylan tells us, “Patriotism is the last refuge to which a scoundrel clings.” We put democracy in peril when we equate questioning government policy with being unpatriotic or even racist. This is why the current situation in the United States is so puzzling. They actually established the international standard for good government…

Jenn Smith’s campus cancellations put free speech at peril

All institutions of higher learning should make a robust free exchange of ideas a key part of their learning environment

Jenn Smith’s campus cancellations put free speech at perilLast month, the Association of Administrative and Professional Staff (AAPS) of the University of British Columbia (UBC) wrote a letter to university president Santa Ono on behalf of its 5,000 members. The letter claimed UBC was serving as a platform for “bigoted, anti-transgender hate speech” by bisexual transgender anti-SOGI 123 activist Jenn Smith. The association…

Federal digital charter just a new weapon in the censorship arsenal

Politicians and tech firms can co-opt legitimate concerns to restrict speech, stifle criticism and tilt public debates

Federal digital charter just a new weapon in the censorship arsenalOn May 21, the federal government unveiled a lengthy “digital charter” with the noble goals of expanded Internet access and more trust online. If you peel back the feel-good 10 principles and stated justifications, however, you find a new weapon in the censor arsenal. “The platforms are failing their users, and they’re failing our citizens.…

Does federal panel pose a threat to net neutrality in Canada?

By early 2020, we’ll know what the members think the government should do to modernize decrepit legislation

Does federal panel pose a threat to net neutrality in Canada?If you want to know how much in extra fees you might be paying or how much Canada intends to meddle with online content to make sure you watch what the government wants you to watch, you should start paying attention now. This week, the government panel reviewing the nation’s broadcasting and telecommunications legislation (known…

Should the social media companies be considered monopolies?

How do we regulate the marketplace of ideas without compromising free speech?

Should the social media companies be considered monopolies?Are big social media tech companies such as Google, Facebook and Twitter monopolies? It’s a reasonable question since more and more they’ve come to control the public discussion of ideas. But the answer is not nearly simple. Based on active user counts, Facebook only has 36 per cent of the social network market share. But…

Baby, it’s too cold outside to simply ban Christmas songs you don’t like

Social and cultural change is most effective when it employs persuasion as opposed to heavy-handed tools such as censorship

Baby, it’s too cold outside to simply ban Christmas songs you don’t likeThe removal from air play of the newly controversial 1940s hit Baby, It’s Cold Outside represents a noteworthy shift in the way media companies defend artistic freedom in the eight years since the Dire Straits song Money for Nothing was banned in Canada. The Dire Straits tune, a monster 1985 hit, was forbidden from broadcast…

The pure university we apparently need

Author Warren Treadgold wants conservatives to be in charge. But that doesn't balance the scales, it merely flips them

The pure university we apparently needAre universities hotbeds of radical left-wing activism? The question has possessed conservative writers for decades. But only in the last few years have centrists and left-leaning scholars taken the question seriously. Recent studies of U.S. colleges and universities indicate that in most disciplines, conservative-minded professors are rare. Just nine per cent of American professors define…

Social media is fully weaponized, open discourse be damned

The Eden-like public square was swiftly overrun by a cacophonic rabble dedicated to crushing ideas to which they’re opposed

Social media is fully weaponized, open discourse be damnedThe Internet may very well be the innovation that liberated access to ideas, but the social media it spawned is swiftly evolving into the jackboot that suppresses them. To put what’s happening today to an increasing number of editors into perspective – Ian Buruma of the New York Review of Books is just the latest…
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