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Thursday, January 28, 2010

Intellectual Freedom in Canada: Further quick notes

- An exceedingly brave Ontario Catholic school board pulled Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird (scroll down), after a parent complained about a racial epithet. Everyone knows that the best way to deal with evil is to never mention it.

The worst part is that the two books replacing Mockingbird are these:
The books raise issues such as racism, inequality, hate, violence, culture, religion, feminism and the causes of war. Exploring these literary themes are part of the curriculum goals expected in Grade 10 academic English classrooms.

“These books augment the Grade 10 English Academic level text list, and are currently being used to supplement existing learning resources,” said Campbell.
In other words, they are either politically correct sludge or else - in fairness to the authors - the administrators assume that they are so, and will therefore give no offense and teach nothing.

Hat tip: Franklin Carter at the Book and Periodical Council's Freedom of Expression Committee.

- The Canadian "human rights" Commission has decided to appeal the decision that found their Section 13, which criminalizes opinion, - unconstitutional. These people don't learn quickly, do they? Hadjis is, by all accounts, not a brave judge, but he sensed the gathering storm.

- Carter also notes the following stories:

In Vancouver, independent bookseller Duthie Books prepares to close its doors. The store was once active in Little Sister's legal struggle against the censorship of Canada Customs. (Independent bookstores should be given endangered species status.)

People's Co-op Books has endured blacklists and RCMP surveillance to become the oldest bookstore in the city. (So much for censorship persuading people that an idea must be wrong.)

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) plans to monitor the Vancouver Olympics for abuses to free expression rights.
(Good idea! It is just the sort of venue where people would feel it their duty to suppress speech that "does not reflect well" on Canada.)

- Librarians are told to use only sponsors of Olympic events as sponsors for local events.
"Do not have Pepsi or Dairy Queen sponsor your event," read guidelines sent to VPL branch heads and supervisory staff last fall. "Coke and McDonald's are the Olympic sponsors. If you are planning a kids' event and approaching sponsors, approach McDonald's and not another well-known fast-food outlet."

(See what I mean? I haven't talked much about economic pressures that result in censorship [one little hack can't do everything]. Sometimes, economic pressure is overrated by leftist sources = no one is forced to eat at McDonalds, but the whole picturre changes when government has made a substantial investment - as in the Olympics.)

- The Beaver, Canada's history magazine, is changing its name after 90 years because the title is too often censored by online porn filters. (I don't know why and don't want to - but the Search function can lead to soime strange results. Would calling the magazine the Black Fly help? No! No! How about - The Porcupine?)

- In Montreal, Cinema Politica faces a defamation lawsuit if it screens The Coca-Cola Case. In The Dominion, Tim McSorley reports.

- Also, from Blazing Cat Fur: a rabbi who is not afraid of the Canadian Human Rights Commission. Good. I am so sick of those who are. Judas Maccabeus, please come back from the dead.

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