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CBC out to stop online harassment

The advocacy comes ahead of Internet censorship bills by Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, including a proposal to block websites and appoint a chief censor called the Digital Safety Commissioner.

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The CBC and five other subsidized press groups are out to stop hurtful comments made online.

Blacklock’s Reporter said the group will “advocate for initiatives to reduce if not prevent online harm,” according to a network statement.

The advocacy comes ahead of Internet censorship bills by Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault, including a proposal to block websites and appoint a chief censor called the Digital Safety Commissioner.

“We think industry-wide data will help us to advocate for initiatives to reduce if not prevent online harm,” Claude Galipeau, CBC executive vice-president, wrote in a statement.

CBC said it was commissioning a complaint-driven survey to document allegations of hurtful internet content.

“At the moment there is little Canadian data on the problem,” wrote Galipeau.

Questions included: “How often have you experienced any of the following as a result of the work you do in the field of journalism or media: threats or harassment online (social media, emails, websites etcetera); threats of harassment by phone; threats of harassment in person; physically attacked.”

The survey also asked: “Do you feel the frequency of harassment has changed over the past two years?” and “Who should be held responsible for protecting journalists from online harm: social media platforms; employers; journalism associations; government.”

Guilbeault’s department in a July 29 Technical Paper and Discussion Guide proposed to appoint a federal internet censor to curb legal, but hurtful comments deemed a threat to “democratic institutions.”

The digital safety commissioner would have sweeping powers to issue compliance orders for “content moderation” at Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other service providers under the threat of $25 million fines.

Anonymous complainants could trigger an investigation over websites deemed to “distort the free exchange of ideas by discrediting or silencing targeted voices” or “threaten national security, the rule of law and democratic institutions,” wrote staff.

The safety commissioner would be empowered to block websites or “make the content inaccessible” in Canada.

Shaun Poulter, CBC executive director of public affairs, denied the “advocacy” survey was coordinated with Guilbeault’s department.

“There are a lot of anecdotal examples of some pretty disturbing online harassment against journalists and media professionals, but no comprehensive data on the scope of the problem in Canada,” said Poulter.

“The goal of this survey is to gather data to help us all better understand this problem.”

The CBC’s main source of revenue is a $1.3 billion annual parliamentary grant. Co-sponsors of the survey include the Canadian Association of Journalists, Fedération Professionnelle des Journalistes du Québec and National Ethnic Press and Media Council.

All three were previously appointed by cabinet in 2019 to draft terms of a $595 million press bailout.

Other co-sponsors are Journalists for Human Rights, recipient of a $1,479,856 federal grant on July 14, 2020 and News Media Canada, a subsidized lobbyist for newspaper publishers.

News Media Canada in a September 17 submission to the heritage department endorsed federal censorship of the Internet.

“As a business, the news publishing industry remains under threat from the unregulated and unchecked social media and other online communications service providers,” it wrote.

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2 Comments

2 Comments

  1. Bruce

    October 4, 2021 at 3:59 pm

    LEFT Coast: Nailed it

  2. Left Coast

    October 4, 2021 at 11:01 am

    The CBCs Galipeau & Minister Guilbeault are 21st Century Fascists . . . Goebbels would be very proud of them . . .

    “It is the absolute right of the State to supervise the formation of public opinion.”
    Joseph Goebbels

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Canada-Europe take action over COVID variant Omicron

“Emergence of Omicron, a new variant of concern reinforces the need for caution,” said Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam.

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With the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant of concern (VOC) named Omicron in South Africa, the Canadian government is taking steps to limit the risk to Canadians.

Travellers arriving from countries of concern within the last 14 days will be required to quarantine pending negative COVID-19 tests. Countries of concern include South Africa, Mozambique, Namibia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho and Eswatini.

On Friday, Canada’s Health Minister Jean-Yves Duclos said the federal government will impose five measures in an effort to limit its spread in Canada.

Canada’s Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam took to Twitter on Saturday to share her concerns over the VOC.

“Emergence of Omicron, a new variant of concern reinforces the need for caution,” wrote Tam.

The WHO has labelled Omicron as a variant of concern due to its high number of mutations and reports that early evidence suggests it could be more infectious than other variants.

Meanwhile, during a news conference on Saturday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the UK will take “targeted and precautionary measures” after two people tested positive for the Omicron variant.

One case was identified in Brentwood, a town in southeastern England while the other case was located in the central city of Nottingham. Both individuals are linked and had travelled from southern Africa. The two individuals are self-isolating along with their households and authorities are working on contact tracing.

Johnson confirmed travellers arriving in England will be required to take a PCR test and self-isolate until a negative test result is provided. Those that test positive for the new variant will have to self-isolate, along with any of their close contacts, for 10 days regardless of vaccine status.

He also said masks will be required in shops and other public spaces and indicated they will “boost the booster campaign.”

“Right now this is the responsible course of action to slow down the seeding and the spread of this new variant and to maximize our defences,” said Johnson.

Johnson said the new rules will be reviewed in three weeks when scientists know more about the variant.

On Friday, the British government added Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe to the country’s travel red list. By Saturday, Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia were also added to the list.

Other countries are adding restrictions on travellers coming from various southern African countries including the US, Japan, Brazil, and Australia while cases have also been reported in Belgium, Israel and Hong Kong.

Germany, the Netherlands, Austria and the Czech Republic have also reported suspected cases related to travellers arriving from South Africa.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Road closures as British Columbians brace for more rain

Closures will impact Highway 1, Highway 3 and Highway 99 on Saturday.

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As BC braces for additional rain, the government has ‘proactively’ closed a number of highways for travel.

“We are actively responding, monitoring and assessing the many highway closures due to flooding and will continue to do so as we work with local and emergency service partners,” said the BC Ministry of Transportation and Infrastructure.

“Safety is our top priority while we deal with a rapidly changing and difficult situation.”

Closures will impact Highway 1, Highway 3 and Highway 99 on Saturday. The ministry said the time and duration of the closures will be weather-dependent.

“The highway infrastructure in these areas is extremely vulnerable following recent storms, and more heavy rain in the forecast poses an additional risk,” said the ministry in a press release.

“The closures of these three highways will be re-evaluated on Sunday morning, with the highways reopened when it is safe to do so.”

The release said Highway 1 will be closed between Popkum and Hope on Saturday afternoon as BC Hydro plans a reservoir release, “crucial to protect the Jones Lake Reservoir, which is also being affected by the heavy rains.”

The release explains the reservoir release will discharge water towards areas of Highway 1 that were affected during the November 14 storm.  

“This additional flow – combined with the increased precipitation and already high stream flows – poses a risk of impact to Highway 1 in the Laidlaw area.”

The ministry is bracing for further damage to Highway 1 in this area and said the reopening time cannot be determined at this stage but will be assessed by crews “when it is safe to do so.”

Highway 7 between Mission and Hope remains open with travel restrictions in place. Essential purposes for travel are defined in the travel restrictions order through the Emergency Program Act

Weather statements are in effect for Metro Vancouver and the Fraser Valley, Squamish to Whistler and the Sunshine Coast into next week. Storms are expected to bring more rain which has resulted in high streamflow advisories for all regions of the coast by the River Forecast Centre.

Ongoing road and travel updates are available on the ministry’s website.

Melanie Risdon is a reporter with the Western Standard
mrisdon@westernstandardonline.com

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Bill to aid jurors traumatized by testimony up for vote … again

Bill C-206 would amend a 1972 secrecy law to permit jurors to disclose confidential details of deliberations for the purpose of “medical or psychiatric treatment or any therapy or counselling.”

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For the third time in three years, legislators will attempt to pass an aid bill for jurors traumatized by graphic testimony in criminal courts.

“When we ask citizens to be a juror we don’t ask them to be a victim,” said Quebec Senator and bill sponsor Pierre-Hugues Boisvenu.

“There is no excuse not to adopt that bill.” 

Bill C-206 would amend a 1972 secrecy law to permit jurors to disclose confidential details of deliberations for the purpose of “medical or psychiatric treatment or any therapy or counselling,” said Blacklock’s Reporter.

Two identical bills, S-207 and C-417, lapsed in the last two Parliaments.

“That kind of bill should be a government bill, not a private bill,” said Boisvenu.

“I don’t think it’s a matter of private interest. It’s a matter of national interest.”

In 2017, the Commons justice committee recommended the Criminal Code amendment after hearing testimony from former jurors who said they quit jobs, suffered marriage breakdown and were diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder after being compelled to watch crime scene videos and hear testimony from coroners.

“Everyone’s mental health matters,” Ontario Senator Lucie Moncion said Thursday.

“Yet from a legal point of view, jurors are part of a special category of people who are denied complete health care. The secrecy rule prohibits a juror from disclosing information related to deliberations to anyone including a health care professional. This needs to change.”

Moncion was a juror in a 1989 murder trial and said the experience left her with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

“They show you the whole autopsy,” said Moncion.

“It was very difficult. This is still very difficult for me.”

Alberta Conservative MP Michael Cooper, a member of the 2017 Commons justice committee that recommended reforms, said delays were inexcusable.

“It should have been a no-brainer for the government to have brought this bill forward,” said Cooper indicating the bill has been “studied thoroughly.”

“There have literally been no arguments tendered against this piece of legislation.”

Cooper, in 2019, sponsored a similar bill – C-417 – that lapsed. MPs at the time noted U.S. jurors were free to discuss their experience with friends, family, psychiatrists or media.

“In the United States once a trial is over jurors are generally free to discuss the events of the trial and jury deliberations unless a specific court order bars them from doing so,” said Ontario Liberal MP Arif Virani, then-parliamentary secretary for justice.

“What that means is that jurors in the United States can talk with nearly anyone about juror deliberations including a talk show host on national television or across the Internet. This approach, which offers limited protection for juror privacy, is significantly different from the Canadian model.”

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