As Britain enacts laws forcing Internet companies to block access to adult content unless customers opt in, a fledgling movement is under way to bring similar laws to Canada.
If we can get a man on the moon, certainly we can figure out a way to protect children from unwanted porn, said Winnipeg Conservative MP Joy Smith, who is formulating a private member's bill that would automatically block access to online
pornography. Anyone wanting to access porn would have to contact their ISPs.
Smith hosted a recent meeting for parliamentarians and other stakeholders in Ottawa, with speakers including PC extremist Gail Dines who founded the Stop Porn Culture group, and Julia Beazley, policy analyst at the Evangelical Fellowship of Canada.
They warned about the increasingly violent nature of modern pornography and its effects on young users, which Dines described in an interview as a public health emergency situation.
With the passage of the Alberta's government's astonishing new labour laws, it will be hard to see any point to public sector unions at all.
But another piece of legislation, Bill 45, is in many ways even more radical in the context of Canada's public sector labour relations.
As before, most Alberta public employees won't be permitted to strike. But from now on, they won't even be able to talk about a strike or any disruptive labour action that could be seen as leading to a strike.
Along with prohibitions against specific actions such as calling a strike vote, Bill 45 contains an exceptionally vague ban on an act or threat to act that could reasonably be perceived as preparation for an employees' strike.
On the night of Saturday November 9, Venezuelan President Nicola's Maduro announced publicly his decision to block access foreign currency valuation websites including dolartoday.com, tucadivi.com, lechugaverde.com, dolarparalelo.com, dolarparalelo.org,
preciodolar.info and dolarparalelo.tk, all of which track the unofficial price of foreign currency. After foreign currency exchange controls were put into force in the country in 2003, unofficial or black market pricing of foreign currency was
declared illegal. Nevertheless, unofficial currency exchanges remain very much a part of the Venezuelan economy.
Last Wednesday, inflation in Venezuela shot above 50%, causing the value of the Bolivar to plummet and prompting the President to accuse currency speculators of waging economic war on the government.
In his television address, Maduro also announced that Conatel, the administrative body responsible for telecommunications, has opened a case against private Internet service providers in the country, for allowing the disclosure of the price of the
parallel [black market] dollar. This is just one tactic in what has been termed the economic war : amongst other measures, on Friday, the owners of popular e-commerce websites MercadoLibre.com and TuCarro.com were called to meet with members
of the cabinet to establish mechanisms to regulate prices at which users can post items for sale on these sites. The decision has been carried out through the Ministry of Science and Technology, without any administrative procedure.
A contentious section of Canadian human rights law, long criticized by free-speech advocates as overly restrictive and tantamount to censorship, is gone
A private member's bill repealing Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, the so-called hate speech provision, passed in the Senate this week. Its passage means the part of Canadian human rights law that permitted rights complaints to the
federal Human Rights Commission for the communication of hate messages by telephone or on the Internet will soon be history. The bill has received royal assent and will take effect after a one-year phase-in period.
An ecstatic Brian Storseth said his bill, which he says had wide support across ideological lines and diverse religious groups, repeals a flawed piece of legislation and he called Canada's human rights tribunal a quasi-judicial,
secretive body that takes away your natural rights as a Canadian.
Producing and disseminating hate speech remains a crime in Canada, but regulating it will fall to the courts, not to human rights tribunals. Under the Criminal Code, spreading hate against identifiable groups can carry up to a two-year prison sentence.
President Rafael Correa of Ecuador won re-election this year, and for the first time captured a majority in the National Assembly, he vowed to push
forward with major proposals that had been stalled in his earlier terms. On Friday he gained a victory that he had long coveted when the Legislature passed a new law for censorship of news media.
The law passed easily without debate. It is packed with controversial measures. The law creates a Superintendency of Information and Communication, with the power to regulate the news media, investigate possible violations and impose potentially hefty
fines. It creates a five-member Council for the Regulation and Development of Information and Communication, led by a representative of the president, to oversee the news media.
The law prohibits "media lynching," which it defines as the repeated publication or broadcast of information intended to smear a person's reputation or reduce one's credibility. And it bans content that incites violence or promotes racial or
Carlos Lauría of the Committee to Protect Journalists said the wording of such measures was vague enough that it left ample room to define a variety of content as being in violation of the law, opening the door to censorship:
This is the latest step in the deterioration of press freedom in this country that has occurred under Correa. This law, if it's put into practice, is not only going to undermine the ability of journalists to report critically, but it also threatens the
rights of citizens to be informed on issues like corruption or other sensitive issues.
Some recent activism has left me wondering what the latest generation thinks feminism
Canadian Association for Equality is a group that's been hosting events on men's rights, the idea that males aren't getting a fair shake in certain aspects of society.
One event last month featured Professor Janice Fiamengo arguing women's studies isn't real scholarship but activism.
Some may take issue with these ideas, but ultimately they're just public lectures featuring serious academics. Anyone can attend and critique!.
But instead of letting free thought prevail, feminist agitators barricaded the doors, harassed attendees, pulled fire alarms, chanted curses at speakers and more. Police had to get involved.
On a related note, the University of Toronto Student Union, funded by student levies to represent all students, held a town hall on shutting down men's rights events on campus. Some attendees reportedly wanted to expose where men's rights advocates lived
and worked. Other student unions have since moved to ban the creation of men's groups and one student group called for physical confrontation.
A Venezuelan television channel that takes a critical stance toward President Hugo Chavez accused the government of excluding it from a new digital television system, and it warned that the action could force it off the open airwaves.
Globovision is the sole remaining television channel in Venezuela that takes a stridently anti-government line. The channel said in a statement that it was arbitrarily excluded from the digital TV system despite having taken steps to be included
during meetings that officials held to launch the project.
Vice President Nicolas Maduro announced the launch of the digital TV system saying that state channels will be participating as well as private channels including Venevision, Meridiano and Televen. He and other officials did not address the complaint
raised by Globovision.
Globovision has long clashed with Chavez's government, and in recent years the National Telecommunications Council has opened eight investigations against the channel.
Canadian drink censors have ordered stores in the province of Manitoba to remove bottles of Ron de Jeremy rum from shelves. The bottle features an image of Jeremy's face on its label above the slogan the adult liquor
Manitoba Liquor and Lotteries spokeswoman Andrea Kowal explained that they erred on the side of caution after it received several complaints.
But on Thursday the rum was back in stores, after the drinks censors changed their mind and deemed the bottle unoffensive. Kowal told Canada's The National Post:
There's nothing offensive about the name of the product or its label; you have to know who Ron Jeremy is and what his former profession was --- and then that has to offend you,
The man behind the Ron Jeremy-dedicated booze said he was thrilled his product was back on shelves.