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Environmental Law Alert Blog: A new law is needed to protect citizens’ voices through the charities they support

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Canadian law and policy restricts the involvement of charities in public debate and public policy development – activities labeled by the Canada Revenue Agency as “political activities”. Limiting charities’ involvement in public debate and public policy development silences the voices of Canadians who rely on the charities they . . . → Read More: Environmental Law Alert Blog: A new law is needed to protect citizens’ voices through the charities they support

Dead Wild Roses: The Wriggly Can of Worms – Professor Jordan Peterson, Free Speech, and the Regressive Left

There is a controversy in Canada going on with with regards to the issue of free speech, Bill C-16, and the refusal of a Professor at the U of T to use the alternate pronouns people choose for themselves. This is the video that started it all (1h).

Three viewing options depending on your time . . . → Read More: Dead Wild Roses: The Wriggly Can of Worms – Professor Jordan Peterson, Free Speech, and the Regressive Left

A Puff of Absurdity: On Being Useful: a Necessary Shift in Radicalism

“Oh, what can we do in a case like that? Nothing to do but sit on your hat, or your toothbrush, or your grandmother, or anything else that’s useless.“

Those are the butchered words of a Burl Ives song I sang as a kid until my sister corrected me. The last word is actually helpless, not . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: On Being Useful: a Necessary Shift in Radicalism

The Canadian Progressive: For-Profit AT&T Spying Program is Worse Than Snowden Revelations

Telecommunications giant AT&T’s spying on Americans for profit on behalf of law enforcement agencies is “more terrifying than the illegal NSA surveillance programs that Edward Snowden exposed,” says rights group Fight for the Future.

The post For-Profit AT&T Spying Program is Worse Than Snowden Revelations appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

. . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: For-Profit AT&T Spying Program is Worse Than Snowden Revelations

Dented Blue Mercedes: Free speech, and the cruel shackles of empathy and mutual respect

In Canada, we tend to value freedom of speech very highly, and it’s often said that the best way to counter objectionable speech is with more speech.

That’s the first thought that crosses my mind in the case of U of T professor Jordan Peterson, who declares in a series of . . . → Read More: Dented Blue Mercedes: Free speech, and the cruel shackles of empathy and mutual respect

The Canadian Progressive: WTF? Yahoo spied on email customers for U.S. government

Yahoo secretly scanned all of its customer’s incoming emails in response to directives from the NSA and FBI. “This is a clear sign that people can trust neither their government nor their service providers to respect their privacy.”

The post WTF? Yahoo spied on email customers for U.S. government appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

. . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: WTF? Yahoo spied on email customers for U.S. government

Alberta Politics: Media scolding about ‘political correctness’ is baloney; hats off to MRU student who spoke out against Trump cap

PHOTOS: “Make America Hate Again.” (Jake May, MLive.com) Below: U.S. presidential candidate Donald Trump and Canadian politicians Kellie Leitch and Jason Kenney. They’re not the only ones, unfortunately. Can anyone in Alberta’s mainstream media seriously claim to have been surprised by the vile stream of threats, abuse and harassment unleashed on a Mount Royal University […]

The post Media scolding about ‘political correctness’ is baloney; hats off to MRU student who spoke out against Trump cap appeared first on Alberta Politics.

. . . → Read More: Alberta Politics: Media scolding about ‘political correctness’ is baloney; hats off to MRU student who spoke out against Trump cap

Politics and its Discontents: We Should All Be Outraged

My father lived to be almost 91 years of age. Should I enjoy such a long life, there are many things that I hope not to lose along the way. Near the top of the list is my capacity for outrage. This morning brought confirmation that at least for the tim… . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: We Should All Be Outraged

Politics and its Discontents: UPDATE: We Should All Be Outraged

My father lived to be almost 91 years of age. Should I enjoy such a long life, there are many things that I hope not to lose along the way. Near the top of the list is my capacity for outrage. This morning brought confirmation that at least for the time being, it is alive and well.

Some may remember a post I made in July about Nadia Shoufani, the Mississauga, Ontario Separate School Board teacher who participated in a rally protesting Israel’s brutal abuse of the Palestinians and the occupation of their land. At the time, the Jewish lobby demanded her head, conflating her criticism of the Jewish State with antisemitism, as they are wont to do.

It appears their efforts have paid off.

The CBC reports the following:

A Greater Toronto Area elementary school teacher has been suspended following a school board investigation after she was criticized for appearing in and speaking at what advocacy groups have called an anti-Israel rally.

Nadia Shoufani, a teacher at St. Catherine of Siena school in Mississauga, Ont., has been suspended with pay pending further investigation by the Dufferin-Peel Catholic District School Board, the board said in a statement.

The school board said concerns raised by the public about Shoufani’s professional conduct have been referred to the Ontario College of Teachers for review.

We should all be outraged over this craven capitulation of the Dufferin-Peel Board to the political pressure exerted by those who will brook no criticism of Israel, despite its well-documented record of human rights abuse and atrocities. Human Rights Watch notes the following:

Israel enforces severe and discriminatory restrictions on Palestinians’ human rights, and it builds and supports unlawful settlements in the occupied West Bank. Its security forces appear to use excessive force against Palestinian demonstrators and suspected attackers, raising the specter of extra-judicial killings. It has renewed the practice of punitive home demolitions. The Palestinian Authority has arrested students and activists allegedly for their political affiliation or because they expressed criticism. Hamas security forces also engage in torture and ill-treatment of people, including journalists. Israel’s closure of Gaza, supported by Egypt, amounts to collective punishment and has impeded reconstruction.

Says Amnesty International:

In the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, Israeli forces committed unlawful killings of Palestinian civilians, including children, and detained thousands of Palestinians who protested against or otherwise opposed Israel’s continuing military occupation, holding hundreds in administrative detention. Torture and other ill-treatment remained rife and were committed with impunity.

The facts are not in dispute here, but thanks to those public officials working in Dufferin-Peel who have neither backbone nor a belief in freedom of speech, only the kind of cravenness seen in the worst of our politicians, Shoufani is being made an example of. That the board lacks even a scintilla of integrity is evidenced by their refusal to acknowledge they are succumbing to outside pressure, instead hiding behind another excuse for her suspension, as revealed by the Ontario English Catholic Teachers’ Association (OECTA), which is representing the beleaguered teacher. They said,

the teacher wasn’t suspended for her conduct, but instead for appearing to not comply with the investigation. However, OECTA said the teacher has provided all of the information the board has asked for and met its timelines.

But not everyone is unhappy about this witch hunt:

Amanda Hohmann, the national director of B’nai Brith Canada’s league for human rights, praised the board for suspending the teacher this week.

“It is heartening to see the school board treating this matter seriously,” Hohmann said in a statement.

While Hohmann and her group may be gratified by Shoufani’s suspension, I expect and hope that fair-minded people everywhere will be appalled by this indefensible curtailment of one of our most valued Charter rights: freedom of expression.

UPDATE: Thanks to Marie for this video that clearly addresses the kinds of conditions that Nadia Shoufani was protesting against. Even if you watch even five or ten minutes, you will get the picture.

. . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: UPDATE: We Should All Be Outraged

Politics and its Discontents: Free Speech Is Fine

…. except when it is used to criticize Israel, as Mississauga, Ont. teacher Nadia Shoufani is learning. She addressed a downtown Toronto rally on 2 July, marking al-Quds Day, an annual event held around the world to support Palestinian rights and to … . . . → Read More: Politics and its Discontents: Free Speech Is Fine

The Canadian Progressive: The Curious Disappearance of Stephen Harper’s Climate Change Speech

Stephen Harper’s important 2007 speech, in which he stated that climate change was “perhaps the biggest threat to confront the future of humanity today” while visiting Germany, is missing from the official website of the Prime Minister of Canada. … . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: The Curious Disappearance of Stephen Harper’s Climate Change Speech

The Canadian Progressive: CRA revokes registration of charity that acted as a “receipting agent” for tax shelter arrangement

In December, the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) revoked the registration of a Canadian charity that acted as a “receipting agent” for a tax shelter arrangement. Le Refuge des Rescapés, a charity based in Saint-Nicéphore, Quebec, “improperly issued recei… . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: CRA revokes registration of charity that acted as a “receipting agent” for tax shelter arrangement

The Canadian Progressive: Trudeau: CRA must allow charities to do their work “free from political harassment”

In his recent Ministerial Mandate Letter to Diane Lebouthillier, the Minister of National Revenue, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) must allow charities to do their work free from political harassment. The post Trudeau… . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Trudeau: CRA must allow charities to do their work “free from political harassment”

The Canadian Progressive: Stephen Harper’s weird “thank you” letter to same public servants he terrorized

Stephen Harper has penned an I’m-a-nice-guy letter to the same federal public servants he terrorized, dictatorship-style, during his nine years in power.

The post Stephen Harper’s weird “thank you” letter to same public servants he terrorized appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Ontario defends freedom of expression, passes anti-SLAPP legislation

Ontario has passed a law to counter Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation (SLAPPs), lawsuits often used by deep-pocketed businesses to silence debate on public issues.

The post Ontario defends freedom of expression, passes anti-SLAPP legislation appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

A Puff of Absurdity: The Lives of Others

I have this poster on the wall of my classroom:

It’s important to know. It’s necessary to understand how things work. And then it’s vital to act rightly in the face of the truth.

That’s the message in The Lives of Others, a gripping film with one of the best final three words . . . → Read More: A Puff of Absurdity: The Lives of Others

The Canadian Progressive: Margaret Atwood leads artists’ rebellion against Harper’s Bill C-51

Celebrated author Margaret Atwood is leading a group of 200 notable Canadian writers and artists demanding an immediate repeal of Bill C-51, Stephen Harper’s “secret police” legislation. C­51, the artists argue, “directly attacks the creative arts and free expression in this country.”

The post Margaret Atwood leads artists’ rebellion against Harper’s Bill C-51 appeared first . . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: Margaret Atwood leads artists’ rebellion against Harper’s Bill C-51

The Canadian Progressive: All this Quebec candidate would ask for? A “cellphone, a penis and lots of chips”

All Bloc Québécois candidate VirJiny Provost would want in the event that she was the sole survivor of a catastrophic nuclear attack is a “cellphone, a penis and lots of chips.”

The post All this Quebec candidate would ask for? A “cellphone, a penis and lots of chips” appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

. . . → Read More: The Canadian Progressive: All this Quebec candidate would ask for? A “cellphone, a penis and lots of chips”

Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Miscellaneous material to start your week.

– Branko Milanovic answers Harry Frankfurt’s attempt to treat inequality as merely an issue of absolute deprivation by reminding us how needs are inherently social: “[Under necessities] I understand not only the commodities that are indispensable for the support of life, but whatever the custom of the country renders . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Monday Morning Links

Accidental Deliberations: On opinion evidence

There’s plenty of reason for concern about some of the views put forward by the Cons’ latest Supreme Court appointment. But keeping those concerns in mind, I’ll argue that we should be careful about putting too much emphasis on Justice Russell Brown’s past blog posts, rather than the more important question of his present suitability . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: On opinion evidence

The Tory Pirate - Politics & Policy: A Court Case With Serious Implications For Free Speech

National Post Article

Worth keeping an eye on. If law becomes a matter of personal opinion rather than some kind of objective standard we may as well close up shop and call it a day because Canada will be done for.

Bill Longstaff: Going to jail for words

One morning in early June, Aaron Driver was walking to his bus stop in Winnipeg’s Charleswood neighbourhood when a white, unmarked van pulled up, armed men got out, forced him into the van and drove away. This is Canada, so of course the men were police officers and they were taking Mr. Driver, or Harun . . . → Read More: Bill Longstaff: Going to jail for words

Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

Assorted content to end your week.

– Michael Schwartz and Kevin Young make the case for a greater focus on influencing corporations and other institutions first and foremost – with the expectation that more fair public policy will be possible if a dominant business sector doesn’t stand in the way. David Wessel points out that . . . → Read More: Accidental Deliberations: Friday Morning Links

The Canadian Progressive: Harper must clarify ‘zero tolerance’ for Israel boycotters: Church

The United Church of Canada wants “clear reassurance” that Prime minister Stephen Harper does not intend to criminalize Canadians critical of Israel.

The post Harper must clarify ‘zero tolerance’ for Israel boycotters: Church appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.

The Canadian Progressive: Harper’s effort to criminalize legitimate Canadian criticism of Israel is diabolical

Canadians have a moral obligation to revolt against Stephen Harper’s efforts to criminalize both legitimate criticism of Israel and support for Palestinians.

The post Harper’s effort to criminalize legitimate Canadian criticism of Israel is diabolical appeared first on The Canadian Progressive.