Last week, Canadians were presented with yet another example as to why offensiveness is not a fair or reliable criterion for restricting speech in politics.
At a Justice Committee hearing on May 28, Faisal Khan Suri of the Alberta Muslim Public Affairs Council deliberatively chose to lump “conservative” commentators in with “anti-immigrant and alt-right commentators” and “mass murderers.”
Predictably, and for good measure, he also included Donald Trump among those inspiring the shooter who murdered Muslims in their own house of worship in Quebec City.
In the context of Committee hearings into online hate, Mr. Suri’s attack on conservatism as being akin to racism and violence was blunt.
Many books have been written on the subject of conservatism, and multiple definitions abound. Wikipedia likely hits the target by describing conservatism as “a political and social philosophy promoting traditional social institutions in the context of culture and civilization” of which the central tenets include tradition, human imperfection, organic society and property rights.
In the same way that liberals, socialists, libertarians and others would object strenuously to being lumped in together with racists and murderers, conservatives, unsurprisingly, also take strong exception to this kind of smear.
In Europe, nationalist and so-called alt-right parties despise conservatives as much as they detest left-wing parties. Nationalists reject liberalism and conservatism, and have much in common with social justice warriors who leverage identity politics in order to advance their causes of equity, diversity and inclusion.
Statists of the Left and Right do not value the dignity of each human being regardless of the traits that a person is born with. Authoritarians of all stripes do not respect the individual, who is endowed with the freedoms of conscience, speech, religion, and association, and the right to own and enjoy private property.
Conservative MP Michael Cooper immediately confronted Mr. Suri’s unjustified slur, stating “… I take great umbrage with your defamatory comments to try to link conservatism with violent extremist attacks. They have no foundation, they’re defamatory, and they diminish your credibility as a witness.”
Had Mr. Cooper left it at that, it’s likely that no major brouhaha would have resulted. But Mr. Cooper went further, using a factual but inflammatory reference to the accused Christchurch mosque shooter’s manifesto.
Through his manifesto, which cannot easily be located on the internet and which I have not read, the mass-murderer apparently expressed his contempt for conservatism.
Mr. Suri (as well as most MPs on the Justice Committee) were no doubt deeply offended by Mr. Cooper making reference to a vile and genuinely Islamophobic document.
Who was more offended?
Mr. Cooper and conservatives, for being compared to mass-murders? Or Mr. Suri and Muslims, for having heard a contextual quote from a murderer-inspired, anti-Muslim document?
Nobody knows, and nobody can know. Feelings of offence are experienced personally and there is no objective measurement.
One can only guess as to the exact level of pain that various comments inflict on different individuals.
This is the point at which identity politics and the progressive doctrine of group oppression conflate. As most progressives tend to see it, society is perpetually in a state of group warfare because men oppress women, whites oppress non-whites, straights oppress gays, the rich oppress the poor, radical feminists oppress transwomen, and so on.
Lost in this reductionist vision is the fact that individuals lie, cheat, steal and kill, and that these behaviours are often inflicted on people of the same race, gender, or sexual orientation. Likewise, acts of kindness are often directed at those who have a different skin colour, religion or annual income.
This is not to deny the existence of racism, sexism, or other forms of group oppression, but rather to point out that a good world depends more on the practice of virtue and morality by individuals in their day-to-day lives than it does on Class A finally crushing and defeating Class B. Seeing people first and foremost as members of a race, class or other group (based on traits they were born with) exaggerates differences among unique persons, which is destructive to the idea that we all belong to the same human family.
The group warfare ideology cannot acknowledge that Mr. Cooper and Mr. Suri were deeply offended by each other’s comments, and thereafter leave matters alone. Mr. Suri would no doubt score higher in the so-called “oppression Olympics” than Mr. Cooper. Therefore, in a world where identity politics prevail, Mr. Cooper is made to apologize (and is removed from participation in the Committee) because his feelings of offence are deemed to be weaker or less important than Mr. Suri’s feelings of offence. This is ridiculous because nobody can judge who felt more offended.
Those who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones. Truth, evidence, facts and logic should be the sole standards used to evaluate public debate, not feelings of offence. If we love truth, we must support and protect the free expression and debate of ideas, in the House of Commons and elsewhere.
Lawyer John Carpay is president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms (JCCF.ca).
What’s the first thing you do after your activist colleagues pull out all the stops to get you your job back? Try to cancel your boss for suspending you in the first place, of course.
Mere hours after being reinstated from a suspension by the Washington Post, Felicia Sonmez took to Twitter to start another mob. The reporter, who thought it was prudent to tweet out Kobe Bryant’s 2003 rape allegation on the day he and his daughter died tragically, attempted to launch a new cancel campaign—this time her quarry is her boss, Marty Baron.
It’s a bold move to try to get the internet to attack your boss for suspending you after you’ve been reinstated. Basically she wants to blame him for her own bad judgement. This was immediately applauded by disgraced defamation artist Talia Lavin—a person whose major accomplishments in media include lying about a military veteran’s tattoo in an attempt to get him fired, and lying about being “chased out” of a free-speech conference. (We were there, this didn’t happen.)
On Tuesday, in The Post Millennial, we noted how Sonmez’s saga was a cautionary tale showing just how toxic cancel culture truly is. We pointed out that she smeared Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, Atlantic writer Caitlin Flanagan, Reason contributor Emily Yoffe, and her former colleague Jon Kaiman.
While we hoped that she might have learned the lesson that participating in witch hunts and online mobs never ends well; we were, predictably, wrong. A mere 24 hours later, here she is, trying to ruin another career. The truly depressing thing is, she might just be successful yet again.
In the end, we’re not defending Marty Baron. It’s the tactics being used that are in question. We are advocating for a better way to handle this kind of conflict. If the only culture you know is cancel culture, then you will wind up tragically cancelled and pathetically uncultured.
Controversial CBC journalist Rosemary Barton has been criticized for writing an opinion piece when the former host is mandated to remain impartial and maintains she is above reproach in giving fair political coverage.
The article’s headline read, “Yes, prime ministers should be fluently bilingual”—which is quite clearly a statement of political opinion. Barton, however, defended her position, stating, “It’s not an opinion piece. It’s an analysis piece based on facts. There’s a difference.”
Despite this pronouncement, Barton did accept that the original headline was a statement of opinion: “The headline has been changed because it declared an opinion.”
A question to consider would be whether Barton originally wrote that headline herself, thereby declaring to Canada her thoughts on the necessity of bilingualism in the PMO. If this is indeed the case, then Barton has made clear her preference for Justin Trudeau over other Conservative leaders— who, according to Baron “are all able to speak French … but we’d be hard-pressed to call any of them fluent.”
Rosemary’s op-ed received immediate criticism from journalism experts. Carleton University professor Paul Adams, for instance, stated “the CBC’s Chief Political Correspondent writing an opinion piece … I wonder what the thinking is behind that.”
After Barton defended her article as cold-hard analysis, Adams again pointed out that “the piece did not note any views to the contrary: e.g., the exclusion of most Canadians and many federal politicians from eligibility, and the loss of potential talent that entails.”
Publisher and former chief editor of the National Post and Maclean’s Ken Whyte also took Barton to task for claiming her opinion Canadian prime ministers much speak French was not fact-based but her own tautological, circular reasoning.
Whyte recently wrote an opinion piece–correctly labeled such–in The Globe and Mail that referenced history, pointing out that both Stephen Harper and John Diefenbaker won power without needing Quebec, proving Barton’s “analysis” completely faulty.
Barton was recently dropped from CBC’s flagship show The National after the four-anchor program consistently lost viewership. She was instead given the position as CBC’s chief political correspondent.
Barton has a long pattern of anti-Conservative partisanship, including being named as a plaintiff on a lawsuit against the Conservative Party of Canada during the last election. Barton’s name would eventually be removed, but she never addressed
MasterCard has received $49 million from the federal government in an effort to have the company place a cybersecurity centre in Vancouver.
The net income for MasterCard was almost $4 billion in 2017.
Navdeep Bains, the Minister of Innovation, Science, and Industry announced the Cyber Centre with MasterCard. The announcement was made in Davos, Switzerland at the World Economic Forum last week.
True North reported that Bains said, “The centre will focus on creating technologies and standards to ensure that Canadians and others around the world can safely use any device that could be connected to the Internet—phone, tablet, computer, vehicle—without concern that their personal and financial information could be stolen.”
It is estimated that 380 people will be employed by the centre which Bains says will turn Canada into a “world leader in cybersecurity.” He also noted that the cost of cybercrime in Canada is about $3 billion annually.
MasterCard Canada’s president, Sasha Krstic noted that MasterCard customers from all around the world will benefit from the technology that arises out of the new centre.
According to Krstic the research coming from the centre “will help meet the growing demand for technology solutions to reduce the cost of cyberattacks, enable today’s connected devices to become tomorrow’s secure payment devices, and address the growing vulnerabilities associated with the Internet of Things.”
The Strategic Innovation Fund will fund the $49 million. The program has supplied more than $2 billion to mostly large corporations.
Other corporations that have received large sums from the federal government include Canadian Tire and Loblaws. Canadian Tire received $2.7 million in January for electric vehicle charging stations. Loblaws received $12 million for low emission refrigerator units to replace their current models.
Boris Johnson has agreed to allow China’s massive telecom company, Huawei, to take part in Britain’s 5G network. He made the decision despite the U.S. asking Britain not to include the company in the next-generation communications for fears that they will have too much access to sensitive information.
According to CBC, Johnson has decided that Huawei can only access “non-sensitive” information and can only have 35 percent involvement in the 5G network.
The company would not have access to the core of networks or any sensitive locations like military bases according to the British government.
Donald Trump and the U.S. administration will not be content with the decision as they fear the company could be used by China to access secret information. The U.S. said that they would possibly reduce intelligence cooperation with London.
The new 5G network with its unprecedented speeds is said to be among the largest innovations since the internet was introduced.
After a meeting led by Johnson, Nicky Morgan, the British Communications Secretary said, “This is a U.K.-specific solution for U.K.-specific reasons and the decision deals with the challenges we face right now.”
Cybersecurity officials in Britain have noted that Huawei is always handled as a “high risk” business.
The White House has not yet responded to the actions taken by Johnson.
On Tuesday Huawei’s vice-president, Victor Zhang said, “Huawei is reassured by the U.K. government’s confirmation that we can continue working with our customers to keep the 5G roll-out on track.”
“This evidence-based decision will result in a more advanced, more secure and more cost-effective telecoms infrastructure that is fit for the future. It gives the U.K. access to world-leading technology and ensures a competitive market.”
Huawei has claimed that the U.S. does not want the company in Britain because they cannot compete as Huawei is the largest producer of telecom equipment in the world.
Within the Five Eyes intelligence-sharing network, Canada is the only country that has not decided whether to work with Huawei on 5G networks.
As Canada continues its rocky relationship with China, things remain uncertain. Huawei CFO Meng Wanzhou has finished the first stage of extradition hearing but China still has two Canadians detained.
The U.S. has claimed that as the 5G networks grow and evolve, Huawei’s access to different parts of the network will be harder to monitor.