Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Kissing Freedom Goodbye In Canada!

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Canada's Assault on Freedom
Published on Jun 14, 2017
Canada's Assault on Freedom
Today I'm going to talk about what I believe are some disturbing bills that have crept up in Canada that I believe have had a significant impact on freedom of speech and personal liberty.
Bill 89 - which gives the government the POWER to remove children from their homes if their parents don't accept their gender identity and gender expression.
Not only that, it allows government agencies to effectively ban couples who disagree with that agenda from fostering or adopting children.
So that means in theory, if you're not letting your child express their gender identity, people with guns could show up to your house and take your kid from you.
The Supporting Children, Youth and Families Act of 2017 was passed in Ontario by a vote of 63 to 23 earlier this month.
The law, which replaces old laws governing child protection, foster care and adoption services, instructs all child services and judges, to take into consideration a child’s “race, ancestry, place of origin, color, ethnic origin, citizenship, family diversity, disability, creed, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression.”
Minister of Child and Family Services Michael Coteau, who introduced the bill, said “I would consider that a form of abuse, when a child identifies one way and a caregiver is saying no, you need to do this differently.”
“If it’s abuse, and if it’s within the definition, a child can be removed from that environment and placed into protection where the abuse stops.”
Children, of course, need to be protected from genuine abuse, but this legislation is an open door for the State, rather that the parents, to control the child’s destiny.
Bill C16
Bill C16 sailed with flying colours into law and is described as:
“This enactment amends the Canadian Human Rights Act to add gender identity and gender expression to the list of prohibited grounds of discrimination.
The blogger Litigation Guy explains:
The bill never clearly defines gender identity and gender expression ... so grounds of discrimination are not defined in legislation but are left to courts, tribunals, and commissions to interpret and explain, based on their detailed experience with particular cases.
The Ontario Human Rights Commission has produced a policy on gender identity and expression and what constitutes harassment and discrimination, including “refusing to refer to a person by their self-identified name and proper personal pronoun”.
Even if your personal or religious beliefs only recognize 2 GENDERS you MUST use non-binary, gender neutral, or other pronouns required by non-binary or gender neutral persons, or it's discrimination. 
And just for the record, breaches of Human Rights Tribunal orders can and have (at the federal level) resulted in imprisonment. Other forms of punishment can include paying a fine or issuing a public apology, forced sensitivity training, and a promise to refrain from making further offending statements.
Motion-103

Anti-Islamophobia
It was tabled by Iqra Khalid, a Muslim member of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party. It states the government must “condemn Islamophobia and all forms of systemic racism and religious discrimination." The vote passed in the House of Commons by a margin of 201-91.
The text of the motion does not clarify what constitutes “Islamophobia” ... which is problematic for many. And then there's the word Islamophobia itself, which literally means an irrational fear of Islam ..
As we know in some Muslim countries, criticizing Islam is considered blasphemy and is punishable by prison sentences or death. 
In the Western world, however, criticizing religions such as Christianity, Scientology, Mormonism, etc. is acceptable practice in a free and open society. But M103, appears to want to prevent criticism of Islam.
Conservatives asked Khalid to remove the ambiguous word Islamophobia from the motion. A former Liberal cabinet minister proposed the clearly defined term “anti-Muslim bigotry” as a possible substitute. But Khalid refused, bringing into question her motive ... was it her intention to give a special status to Islam?
Sources
HeatStreet: 
https://heatst.com/culture-wars/canad...

Litigation Guy (What's the Big Deal about Bill C16?) 
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HALAL Canada: Diversity and the End of Free Speech
Black Pigeon Speaks
Published on Feb 11, 2017
-if there ever was any. 
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The Charter of Rights and Freedoms
Springtide
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Trudeau defends press freedom as Canadian journalists face jail time
By Jenny Uechi
May 3rd 2017
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended the importance of a free and independent press on Wednesday after he was criticized over Canadian reporters who face jail time for doing their jobs.
"A strong and independent media, a free press, is essential in the protection of our democracy and of its institutions," Prime Minister Trudeau said in the House of Commons during the daily question period. "It gives confidence to Canadians and today on World Press Freedom Day, it is important to highlight just that. Yes, of course, journalists should always be able to protect their sources. That is something we believe in strongly as a government and that is something that we will continue to defend and fight for, not just here in Canada, but around the world."
Trudeau made the comments in response to questions from NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair who highlighted how Canada had dropped to 22nd place on the World Press Freedom Index released this year by Reporters Without Borders.
The France-based organization has lowered Canada's ranking due to recent threats to journalism in Canada. VICE reporter Ben Makuch is facing possible jail time for refusing to hand over encrypted text messages from his source, a Calgary man accused of terrorism, to the RCMP. Meanwhile, Justin Brake of The Independent is facing criminal charges and up to 10 years in jail for defying a court injunction and reporting on the Indigenous-led occupation of Muskrat Falls last October.
Mulcair raised the issue, noting that Wednesday was World Press Freedom Day.
"Canada dropped 14 points in the World Press Freedom Index under the watch of the Prime Minister," Mulcair said in the Commons. "Speaking of watching, journalists are under surveillance in Canada today and reporters are forced to fight the RCMP in court to protect their freedom. Happy World Press Freedom Day.
"This is not a proud record. This is also not a time for more empty phrases and talking points from the Prime Minister, so will the Prime Minister acknowledge here today that journalists have the right to protect their sources, yes or no?"
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau defended the importance of a free and independent press on Wednesday after he was criticized over Canadian reporters who face jail time for doing their jobs.
"A strong and independent media, a free press, is essential in the protection of our democracy and of its institutions," Prime Minister Trudeau said in the House of Commons during the daily question period. "It gives confidence to Canadians and today on World Press Freedom Day, it is important to highlight just that. Yes, of course, journalists should always be able to protect their sources. That is something we believe in strongly as a government and that is something that we will continue to defend and fight for, not just here in Canada, but around the world."
Trudeau made the comments in response to questions from NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair who highlighted how Canada had dropped to 22nd place on the World Press Freedom Index released this year by Reporters Without Borders.
The France-based organization has lowered Canada's ranking due to recent threats to journalism in Canada. VICE reporter Ben Makuch is facing possible jail time for refusing to hand over encrypted text messages from his source, a Calgary man accused of terrorism, to the RCMP. Meanwhile, Justin Brake of The Independent is facing criminal charges and up to 10 years in jail for defying a court injunction and reporting on the Indigenous-led occupation of Muskrat Falls last October.
Mulcair raised the issue, noting that Wednesday was World Press Freedom Day.
"Canada dropped 14 points in the World Press Freedom Index under the watch of the Prime Minister," Mulcair said in the Commons. "Speaking of watching, journalists are under surveillance in Canada today and reporters are forced to fight the RCMP in court to protect their freedom. Happy World Press Freedom Day.
"This is not a proud record. This is also not a time for more empty phrases and talking points from the Prime Minister, so will the Prime Minister acknowledge here today that journalists have the right to protect their sources, yes or no?"
Speaking to reporters after question period, Mulcair noted that National Observer has also been targeted by federal officials for its public interest journalism. National Observer managing editor Mike De Souza, whose investigative work was recognized last weekend by an award from the Canadian Association of Journalists, recently reported that the National Energy Board spent $24,150 on an investigation to hunt for his sources.
"We look at really top flight journalists and institutions being singled out by Canadian media at this time. All you have to do is look at people like Ben Makuch over at VICE or Joël-Denis Bellavance at La Presse or Patrick Lagacé or Mike De Souza, someone I’ve known and admired the work of for many, many years in the environment and on energy issues."
"To see them being singled out, being targeted, being followed in Canada is a real source of concern for all of us. We wanted to make that important point today, that the Liberals have got to start acting with regard to protecting our freedoms, in particular freedom of the press which is being challenged more than ever before in our society."
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More Quebec journalists confirmed as targets of police surveillance
Ingrid Peritz, Montreal
November 2, 2016
A controversy over police surveillance of the press in Quebec deepened Wednesday with revelations that six journalists, including some of the province's top investigative reporters, had their cellphones surreptitiously monitored by provincial law enforcement as far back as 2013.
The disclosures made by several media outlets and confirmed by the provincial Sûreté du Québec suggest that covert police surveillance of Quebec journalists dates further back and is more widespread than previously known.
La Presse revealed this week that one of its journalists, columnist Patrick Lagacé, had his iPhone data tracked by Montreal police for months this year after they obtained search warrants. On Wednesday, Quebec provincial police said it had also obtained court warrants to monitor the log of incoming and outgoing cellphone calls of six journalists.
The raft of disclosures has fuelled a growing sense of alarm over state surveillance of the press. On Wednesday evening, Quebec Public Security Minister Martin Coiteux told reporters his department would lead an administrative probe into the 2013 surveillance case at the Sûreté du Québec. It had been requested by its current director-general, Martin Prud'homme
The force was under the leadership of another chief, Mario Laprise, in 2013.
"According to the information I have, this would be the only case in the last 20 years affecting journalists targeted by a Sûreté du Québec investigation," Mr. Coiteux said in Quebec City.
Still, news that more journalists were being spied on through their cellphones left several in the media industry shaken and led the executive director of news and current affairs at Radio-Canada, Michel Cormier, to refer to the situation as an "unprecedented crisis." The five that have been identified are affiliated with Radio-Canada, La Presse and Le Journal de Montréal.
"What floors me is that this is no longer the culture of the Montreal police service," Isabelle Richer said on Radio-Canada, where she is a journalist. "It's also the Sûreté du Québec. So it's a generalized hunt for sources." On Twitter, she called the news "surrealistic.
Events that led to the surveillance are also raising eyebrows. They began when Michel Arsenault, former head of the Quebec Federation of Labour, was angry about media reports that he had been the subject of police surveillance. The police actions were part of a criminal investigation into the infiltration of organized crime in the construction industry in Quebec.
Mr. Arsenault complained about the media leaks to the Public Security Minister at the time, Stéphane Bergeron of the Parti Québécois. The Sûreté du Québec investigation into finding the source of the leaks began soon afterwards.
Mr. Bergeron denied on Wednesday he had a hand in ordering the journalist surveillance. "I obviously didn't ask for surveillance. It's an initiative that should have never been authorized, it's an initiative of which I had never been informed," he said.
Captain Guy Lapointe of the Sûreté du Québec said in an interview the current head of the provincial police force, Mr. Prud'homme, is "very irritated" and "preoccupied" that the surveillance had been ordered by his predecessor.
The fresh revelations have given added urgency to opposition calls in Quebec City that the Liberal government of Philippe Couillard hold an inquiry into the controversy. On Tuesday, the Premier attempted to get ahead of the controversy, announcing measures to tighten rules for obtaining search warrants against journalists and striking a panel of experts to look into the situation.
In Ottawa that day, Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale told reporters his government is open to toughening the rules that govern how and when the federal government can investigate members of the media.
For investigative journalists, reliance on confidential sources is crucial in exposing wrongdoing and holding powerful interests accountable. And investigative journalism played a central role in Quebec in exposing corruption in the construction industry, which led to the creation of the Charbonneau Commission. The public commission produced a report exposing the wide reach of corruption in the province's multibillion-dollar public construction industry and its links to organized crime.
Meanwhile, La Presse is seeking to have the data collected on Mr. Lagacé sealed. It sent the Montreal police force a lawyer's letter on Wednesday demanding it refrain from accessing the information until a judge rules on a motion on the case.
"We think it would be a significant problem if the data was accessed by anyone because it would tend to identify the confidential sources of Mr. Lagacé," Sébastien Pierre-Roy, lawyer for La Presse, said in an interview.
"The absence of precautions taken during the collection of data from Mr. Lagacé's cellphone to protect confidential sources is a scandal and an unprecedented attack on the freedom of the press," Mr. Pierre-Roy wrote in the letter to police.
In addition to the six reporters, media reports have found that three Quebec journalists had recently been the object of police attention. Police did not obtain court warrants but had scrutinized the call logs of its officers to find out who had been speaking to the reporters.
Follow Ingrid Peritz on Twitter 
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The Slow and Painful Death of Freedom in Canada
Adam Kingsmith
Updated 06/29/2013
Less than a generation ago, Canada was a world leader when it came to the fundamental democratic freedoms of assembly, speech and information.
In 1982, Canada adopted the Access to Information Act -- making it one of the first countries to pass legislation recognizing the right of citizens to access information held by government, and as recently as 2002, Canada ranked among the top 5 most open and transparent countries when it came to respect for freedom of the press.
Fast-forward a decade, and we've become a true north suppressed and disparate -- where unregistered civic demonstrations are inhibited and repressed, rebellious Internet activities are scrutinised and supervised, government scientists are hushed and muzzled, and public information is stalled and mired by bureaucratic firewalls.
In the 2013 World Press Freedom Index -- an evaluation done by Reporters Without Borders on the autonomy of a country's media environment, Canada came in at a paltry 20th, putting us behind liberal-democratic powerhouses such as Namibia, Costa Rica, and the Western Hemisphere's new champion of free media -- Jamaica.
So what the devil is going on?
According to page 8 of the report, this uneasy drop "was due to obstruction of journalists during the so-called 'Maple Spring' student movement and to continuing threats to the confidentiality of journalists' sources and Internet users' personal data, in particular, from the C-30 bill on cyber-crime."
Yet perhaps more distressing than the consistent during Quebec's Maple Spring has been the abrupt confiscation of the right of citizens in the province to spontaneously demonstrate and protest in public spaces -- seen recently at the totalitarian debacle known as the Anti-Police Brutality Protest, where 
over 250 people were arrested for failing to register with authorities before assembling.
Passed last May by the National Assembly of Quebec in the midst of the student upheaval, Bill 78 requires organisers of assemblies involving 50 or more people to register the details of any demonstration with the police at least eight hours before it begins. Anyone who does not comply with the law faces a fine from $1000 up to $125,000 depending on his or her involvement and leadership in the protest.
Not to be outdone by Quebec's anti-demonstration legislation however, the federal government decided to continue the trend with Bill C-309 -- criminalising the act of covering one's face during any sort of display of civil disobedience. And as opposed to the customary fine, the bill carries with it a penalty of up to five years in prison.
But don't worry -- it's for our protection.
Speaking of our "protection," Bill C-30, or the Lawful Access Act -- proposed by the Harper government in February of last year, attempted to grant authorities the power to monitor and track the digital activities of all Canadians in real-time.
This internationally-condemned Orwellian "cyber-crime legislation" planned to force service providers to log and surrender browsing information about their customers upon government request as well as permit the remote access to any personal computer in the country -- all without the need of any sort of warrant.
And while Bill C-30 has been tabled for the time being, Bill C-12 -- which similarly authorises the warrantless acquisition of customer information from ISPs, email hosts, and social media sites on a voluntary basis, looks poised to creep in and achieve many of Bill C-30's initial objectives by reducing the need for warrants, and gradually circumnavigating safeguards that protect our personal information online.
Of course we've all had the rhetoric jammed down our throats -- these adjustments to a citizen's right to public assembly, defiant anonymity, and digital privacy are the necessary sacrifices we must be willing to make in order to shelter ourselves from half-heartedly articulated illusory threats such as "terrorism" or "extremism".
But the undemocratic stifling doesn't stop here either. Even our taxpayer-funded government scientists -- the last line of defense against ignorance and uncritical thinking, are increasingly coerced into suppressing unwelcome findings.
According to a report by researchers at the University of Victoria titled Muzzling Civil Servants: A Threat to Democracy, "the federal government has recently made concerted efforts to prevent the media - and through them, the general public - from speaking to government scientists, and this, in turn, impoverishes the public debate on issues of significant national concern."
When Canadian scientists are permitted by their handlers to speak to journalists or international colleagues, they are forced to regurgitate pre-approved party findings that rest neatly within the confines of official government policies -- regardless of what the yields of their research and expert opinions may actually be telling them.
What's even more concerning is that in a recent study by the Center for Law and Democracy -- which classifies the strength and effectiveness of access to information laws in 93 countries, Canada ranked an utterly humiliating 55th, thanks in large part to the bureaucratic red tape that smothers requests for access to public records.
So perhaps it is time for us Canadians to wake up and smell the suppression -- no longer are censorships solely the purview of tin-pot dictators in far away regimes.
These seemingly gradual erosions to the freedoms of assembly, expression and information in Canada are all very real -- just last week, Parliament actually struck down a bill claiming that "public science, basic research and the free and open exchange of scientific information are essential to evidence-based policy-making."
And I have the sinking suspicion that whichever party is in power, these rights will continue to decompose unless the citizenry is willing to vocalise this as a major election issue. After all, even in democracy new governments seldom willingly return rights and freedoms back to the people once in office -- power can be just too enticing.
One day it's the right to spontaneously demonstrate, next it's the right to wear a mask well doing so, then Internet privacy, scientific inquiry, public records, and so on as the vice compressing freedom and civil disobedience slowly tightens on us all.

But then again, this is Canada. That sort of thing could never happen here, right?
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