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…

Is intolerance doing permanent damage to artistic integrity?

Special interest groups demanding a say in casting choices flies in the face of diversity and freedom of expression

Is intolerance doing permanent damage to artistic integrity?Visiting the Globe Theatre in London, England, is an unforgettable experience. When viewing the modest grounds and realizing that the ‘groundlings’ – the people in the cheap seats – were sometimes privileged to see original Shakespeare plays, it brings home the long and important history of the performing arts. On our tour of the theatre,…

We can’t put a price on free speech

Universities should defend unpopular speech, not politicians who use funding as leverage

We can’t put a price on free speechLike a soundtrack on endless repeat, universities have come around again to the one about free speech. It’s an old song. The chorus goes something like, “Universities must support freedom of expression.” It’s not the catchiest tune but like the national anthem, it’s a song to sing with heart. One person who sings loudly and…

Support for multiculturalism declining in Sweden

The influx of immigrants into Sweden in 2015 is threatening the country's vaunted beliefs in multiculturalism, immigration and political conformity

Support for multiculturalism declining in SwedenAs the final votes are counted in Sweden’s general election, the rifts in this famously conformist society are getting deeper. Sweden may be the western world’s most self-consciously liberal state, but significant cracks are appearing in the foundation. To get a sense of the trend, look at the trajectory of the gradually-building support for the…