PM Trudeau: Sainte-Foy, Québec

Montreal Gazette:
6 dead, 8 injured in terrorist attack at Quebec City mosque
Globe and Mail:
‘Quebec City is in mourning’: Six dead, eight wounded in mass shooting at mosque

Canadian Coat of Arms

Ottawa, Ontario

The Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, issued the following statement today after hearing of the fatal shooting at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec located in the Ste-Foy neighbourhood of the city of Québec:

“It was with tremendous shock, sadness and anger that I heard of this evening’s tragic and fatal shooting at the Centre culturel islamique de Québec located in the Ste-Foy neighbourhood of the city of Québec.

“We condemn this terrorist attack on Muslims in a centre of worship and refuge.

“On behalf of all Canadians, Sophie and I offer our deepest condolences to the family and friends of all those who have died, and we wish a speedy recovery to those who have been injured.

“While authorities are still investigating and details continue to be confirmed, it is heart-wrenching to see such senseless violence. Diversity is our strength, and religious tolerance is a value that we, as Canadians, hold dear.

“Muslim-Canadians are an important part of our national fabric, and these senseless acts have no place in our communities, cities and country. Canadian law enforcement agencies will protect the rights of all Canadians, and will make every effort to apprehend the perpetrators of this act and all acts of intolerance.

“Tonight, we grieve with the people of Ste-Foy and all Canadians.”

Tragedy strikes Sainte-Foy, QuébecThis cowardly attack on Canadian soil has generated outrage across the Canadian political spectrum, with even CPC leadership candidates Kellie Leitch and Jason Kenney speaking out against it.

Tonight there are candlight vigils across Canada.  These are the few I know of:

Québec
Vigile de solidarité avec les musulman-es de Québec #SalamQc
Gare Jean-Talon by the exit: métro Parc.
https://www.facebook.com/events/226743947787244/

Ontario
Prayer and Solidarity Vigil organised by @KitchenerMasjid
Kitchener City Hall in Waterloo Region
https://www.facebook.com/events/227134104414096/

Yukon
Vigil for our Muslim Brothers & Sisters – Whitehorse
The Wharf ~ Front St. and Main St. Yukon River, Whitehorse, Yukon Territory
https://www.facebook.com/events/394668850883510/


The Trump Administration has gotten off to a bad start, and almost every step taken seems wrong.
One of the great powers of an American President is the ability to issue Executive Orders.

Protestors March in the Woman's March on Washington DC, January 21,2017

HEALTHCARE
Womens March On Washington ~ Public Domain photo by anonymous National Guard Member

TRADE

WOMEN’S REPRODUCTIVE RIGHTS

REFUGEES+

I don’t think Mr. Trump realizes how much his election win benefited from tactical voting.  He’s barely begun and American citizens are pushing back, hard.  The chaos and protests at airports worldwide over the weekend was pretty heavy, prompting Judge Blocks Trump Order on Refugees Amid Chaos and Outcry Worldwide

And Canadians are pushing back, too.  B.C. religious leaders call on Canada to act against U.S. immigration ban.    Even Prime Minister Trudeau tweeted:

To those fleeing persecution, terror & war, Canadians will welcome you, regardless of your faith. Diversity is our strength #WelcomeToCanada

But anywhere you have two or more people, you are likely to get two or more opinions. (Which is why Proportional Representation is a necessary part of good democracy.)

Clearly there are people here ~ and there ~ who agree with President Trump’s world view.  And just as clearly there are political agendas feeding fear, Isalamaphobia, whatever.   The controversial anti-niquab attack ad targeting the NDP the Bloc Québécois’ put up during the 2015 election was only taken down today.

As horrible as this tragedy was, I am heartened by the across the board outrage.  But we can’t afford complacency; we need to encourage our Liberal majority government to get on with the necessary work that will make it possible for Canadians to welcome those seeking refuge from persecution, terror and war.   Sign the Leadnow Petition:  Tell Trudeau: Welcome Those Fleeing Violence and Deportation Under Trump

I am struck again and again by the strife engendered by winner-take-all political systems.  When there can be only one winner, everyone needs to win, but most don’t.  And we have seen, over and over again, that the easiest way to become the only winner is to play on fear and build up hatred.  But that is a dangerous game.  It isn’t as easy to turn hatred off.

No where is the us against them polarization more obvious than what we’re seeing south of the border.  And frankly, I don’t think any of us want that.  When Canada finally adopts some form of Proportional Representation, we won’t be an all or nothing world anymore.  Instead of polarization, we’ll be able to work together, to be able to embrace our diversity and tap into our strengths. And then we’ll be able to roll up our sleeves and tackle 21st century problems.

But for now, we’re struggling with the messes of the last century polarization.

In Sainte-Foy, Québec, the victims have all been identified, and the alleged assailants, too.  One man has been charged with 6 counts of 1st-degree murder.  You can follow the link and find out his name if you like, but I’m not about to repeat his name here.   Because here’s the thing… if I ran the zoo, the names of mass murderers would never be said.  Instead they’d be assigned a number and locked away securely for the rest of their days.  Writing the name would just help make him famous.

Instead, I will name the victims here.  I’ll share the names of six innocent men killed by the cancer of hate.  Men who didn’t deserve to die; who deserve to be remembered.

Lives lost at Sainte-Foy, Québec

Ibrahima Barry, Abdelkrim Hassane, Mamadou Tanou Barry, Aboubaker Thabti, Azzeddine Soufiane, Khaled Belkacemi

a horizontal border of red graphic maple leaves

Image Credits

Womens March On Washington (with Capitol Dome) ~ Public Domain photo by anonymous National Guard Member

Protestors March in the Woman’s March on Washington DC, January 21,2017 ~ Public Domain photo by anonymous National Guard Member

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Dissent and Democracy

March 21st against austerity
Printemps 2015: March 21st against austerity, ‘maple spring’ in Montreal, Quebec.

 

The right of dissent, or, if you prefer, the right to be wrong, is surely fundamental to the existence of a democratic society. That’s the right that went first in every nation that stumbled down the trail toward totalitarianism.”
Edward R. Murrow

There is rather a lot of dissent happening in Canada these days as more and more Canadians stand up for the things that are important to them, things they believe necessary to democracy.   This article began as a comment I made in the Montreal Gazette about the Printemps 2015 anti-austerity dissent currently underway in Quebec.

Greensborough Lunch Counter at the Smithsonian - CC BY-SA Tim Evanson
Greensborough Lunch Counter at the Smithsonian

People often complain about protesters. A protest march or a picket line might impede our ability to get where we are going or even to make a living.  Dissent can be inconvenient.  Dissent can be annoying.  And yet, dissent is crucial to democracy.

 

An individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for the law”

Martin Luther King Jr.

The most famous and admired examples of dissent inconvenienced a lot of people.  Because without dissent, there is no possibility of change.  In 1960 the black Americans who occupied the Woolworths lunch counter in Greensboro affected workers trying to make a living by occupying the space and preventing their business from being done.

Mahatma Gandhi chose to challenge the British Government in India so many of his actions were equally illegal.  He certainly irritated and annoyed a lot of people, ordinary people who were no doubt prevented from getting where they were going, or maybe going to work; people happy with, or maybe just resigned to the status quo.  And, of course, the British occupiers.

The point of dissent is to affect the general population, because the point is to achieve change that the people in power — whether schools, businesses, society or governments have resisted making. If the public has been complacent and allowed the perpetuation of the injustice, dissenters believe it necessary to wake it up.

Mahatma Gandhi on the salt March, 1930
Mahatma Gandhi on the salt March, 1930

 

An unjust law is itself a species of violence. Arrest for its breach is more so.”
Mahatma Gandhi

Dissent is the physical or intellectual realization of opposition to a prevailing idea or entity that the dissenters strongly disagree with. You might not agree with what they are doing, you might not agree that whatever they are challenging is unjust, but they do. In the 1960’s, the Americans who believed racial segregation was both important and necessary very strongly disagreed with the young people who challenged the idea. Indeed, the very idea of a black President was unthinkable at the time. But the young people persisted, sometimes breaking laws and being arrested, jailed and even killed, but they succeeded in their goal, and so the idea of racial segregation is neither prevalent nor openly practised.

British SuffragetteNeither the state nor society is under any obligation to make the change the dissenters seek, so changing the world can be messy.

Sometimes dissent stays within the law, but if change is summarily dismissed, if the manifestation of dissent is ignored, sometimes dissent strays into the realm of civil disobedience, particularly when lawful means of protest fail to raise the attention of the public to help make the change the dissenters are looking for.

Around the world suffragettes embarrassed and inconvenienced a lot of people.  Sometimes breaking laws, sometimes even risking their lives and liberty. But they persisted, in the face of societal opposition, even from other women.  But the prevailing idea that women were the property of men was overturned.  And so today Canadian women are legal persons who even have the right to vote in elections.

 

Window-breaking, when Englishmen do it, is regarded as honest expression of political opinion. Window-breaking, when Englishwomen do it, is treated as a crime.”
Emmeline Pankhurst

And yet one persons rights end where another’s begin. This is why dissenters who cross the line into illegal behaviour risk legal consequences. Some suffragettes held hunger strikes while incarcerated, because the idea they were trying to change was that important to them. Even today when environmentalists chain themselves to fences, they are aware they may be arrested and/or incarcerated. Even today when protesters gather in protests, they are aware they are risking physical harm.

Kitchener-Waterloo Day of Action against Bill C-51, March 14, 2015
Kitchener-Waterloo Day of Action against Bill C-51, March 14, 2015

Benjamin Franklin advised, “It is the first responsibility of every citizen to question authority” and Martin Luther King counselled his followers that “one has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws.”  And yet here in Canada, our right to dissent is threatened by Bill C-51.  In spite of cross Canada protest, and cross party objections, the Harper Government has chosen to proceed with Bill C-51, a law which will surely suppress both free speech and dissent.

And dissent is crucial to democracy.

Crowd to hear Suffragettes, Oct. 28, 1908
Crowd to hear Suffragettes, Oct. 28, 1908

 

Those who profess to favour freedom and yet depreciate agitation, are people who want crops without ploughing the ground; they want rain without thunder and lightning; they want the ocean without the roar of its many waters. The struggle may be a moral one, or it may be a physical one, or it may be both. But it must be a struggle. Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will.”
Frederick Douglass

a horizontal border of red graphic maple leaves


Image Credits

March 21st against austerity by MOD is released under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-NC-SA 2.0)

Greensborough Lunch Counter at the Smithsonian by Tim Evanson, released under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Share-alike (CC BY-SA 2.0) License

The Public Domain Image  Ghandi on the salt March was found at Wikimedia Commons.

The Public Domain Image British Suffragette photo by Ch. Chusseau-Flaviens was found at Wikimedia Commons.

The Public Domain Image Crowd to hear Suffragettes, Oct. 28, 1908 photographed by George Grantham Bain was found at Wikimedia Commons.

What Happened to the News Media?

You become a writer, by writing. You become a driver by driving. You may be licensed to drive, but if you don’t get behind the wheel and drive, you aren’t a driver, In the same way, you become a publisher by publishing.

I am just floored by the saga underlying the p2pnet article: Wayne Crookes wants to freeze the net. It seems that p2pnet Blogger Jon Newton is (and apparently has been) almost all the way through the Canadian court system because he’s being sued for defamation and libel. Next stop: Supreme Court of Canada.

Mr. Newton is in fact the publisher of a blog called p2pnet. He is being sued by Mr. Crookes for libel and defamation, not because Newton himself published anything defamatory or libelous, but because Newton linked to other articles on the Internet that Mr. Wayne Crookes of West Coast Title Search Ltd. claimed were libelous and defamatory.

The crux of Mr. Crookes’ suit is the contention that creation of hyperlinks and subsequent refusal to remove hyperlinks to alleged libelous web pages makes Newton a publisher of the source material, and therefore responsible for it. The convoluted idea is that he became a publisher of the source material through inaction.

On all of Mr. Crooke’s previous days in court against Mr. Newton, the courts have agreed that the use of an Internet hyperlink is the Internet equivalent of a footnote, therefore absolving Mr. Newton of any culpability. That seems perfectly reasonable to me. I’ll go along with the idea that a link is the Internet equivalent of a footnote that will direct you to the source.

But the Montreal Gazette article explains Mr. Crooke’s latest argument:

Crookes contends that Newton, by creating the hyperlinks and then refusing to remove them when advised they were libelous, became a publisher by his inaction.

“Given that Mr. Newton didn’t break the hyperlink and continued to act as a chain of publication, Mr. Crookes is taking the position before the court that he is in fact republishing the defamation,”

said Dermod Travis, a spokesman for Crookes, owner of the company West Coast Title Search.

from the Montreal Gazette: Supreme Court wades into Internet speech debate with hyperlinks case

Jon Newton’s article explains Mr. Crookes contention:

“linking to an article is the same as publishing it and that linking to an allegedly libelous article can, therefore, be the same as defamation.”

from the p2pnet article: Wayne Crookes wants to freeze the net.

A slashdot comment suggests that unlinking the link would have made it into a mere textual footnote and solved the p2pnet problem is… ahem… absurd. After all, a proper footnote in a scholarly work tells you what the exact source is. If the source is a published book, I should be able to get a copy from my local bookseller, which would put the source directly into my hand. Does that mean the bookseller published it? Hardly.

Whether an Internet footnote (aka a hyperlink) is an actual hyperlink — like this earlier p2pnet story:
http://www.p2pnet.net/story/12056

or a textual representation of a hyperlink like this: http://www.p2pnet.net/story/12056

it is possible for anyone to click the former or cut and paste the latter your search bar and voila, you’re at the original source.

Libel? Defamation?

It doesn’t even matter whether the articles p2pnet linked to were in fact defamatory.

That isn’t the issue Mr. Crookes has brought before the Canadian Supreme Court, it is whether or not including a hyperlink to source material makes you responsible for the source material. The Crookes contention is that Newton’s links to the source material makes Newton a publisher of the allegedly defamatory original source.

What is a publisher?

I would think that a publisher would have at least some element of of ownership– even if only moral– and at least some measure of control in the publication.

Book, Newspaper and Magazine publishers have traditionally asserted copyright over the material they publish, and because of this, have been able to charge advertisers to advertise in their publications and to have customers purchase a single issue or subscription.

Wikipedia has an excellent comprehensive article on what constitutes publishing, and nowhere do they say use of a hyperlink constitutes publication. Of course, Wikipedia is one of the parties Mr. Crookes has sued.

As a lowly beginner blogger, I do not have ads on any of my blogs. Even so, I am the publisher and have control over what goes into them. Although I have not been blogging long, I have learned that the point of the internet is inter connectivity. Because of this, I strive to use as many links as possible in every blog post to share my source material. By using these hyperlink footnotes, my readers have the opportunity to decide if I have misinterpreted the information provided by my sources.

The reader can read the link in my blog, but unless the reader clicks on the link, the reader cannot read the source material. Because the source material is not in my blog, it is not under my control. It is published on someone else’s website.

As a self-publishing blogger I have authority and responsibility for what is in my blog. Although I can direct people to the source of information with a link, I have no control over the information in the link. I have absolutely no power to add to or change the information on the originating site. I do not receive either royalties or advertising revenue from the originating site. It’s terribly annoying when a site I have linked to breaks the link. I know how frustrating it is to read an article with broken links. But the person creating the link has no control over the sites they link to.

If the source material that Jon Newton or any online publisher links to proves to be libelous or defamatory, then I would expect the originator of the libel and/or defamation to face a court challenge. I have grave reservations about censorship of web content based on allegations, rather than rule of law. If the material is alleged to be defamatory or libelous, the law can investigate. If convicted the originating website will take the offending material down one way or another.

If that happened, Jon Newton’s links would have been broken. He would not have been asked to act as judge and jury. The LAW would have filled those functions. Yet it seems that he is being sued because he did not himself break the links based only on allegations.

Jon Newton is a blogger, not a judge. Bloggers engage in online discussion, and express opinions and disseminate information, not pronouncements of law.

This is a huge issue that could well lead to ramifications for the freedom of the entire Internet.

Mainstream Canadian Media is near silent

As I write this, I’m a little bit nervous. I don’t have a lawyer. What if I get sued? I’m just a mom with a blog, trying to make sure that the Internet continues to be a wonderful interactive place, to do my bit to see that the world our kids inherit is as good as it can be.

One of the first things I learned as a parent is that children learn best from modeling. Freedom of speech is incalculably important, and I have always taught the importance of standing up for what you believe in. Using fear and allegations to censor and suppress dissent is never a good thing for society.

All that is necessary for evil to succeed is for good men to do nothing.

–Edmund Burke

An issue this important should be getting big headlines in Canada at least. Talked about on the Radio. Top of the hour on the TV news. But no. I only heard about this from an online friend Haris in Malaysia who was reDenting British writer/journalist/blogger glynmoody. Not from the Canadian news media.

The “News media” has a mystique which has built over the years.

The legend grew as great reporters risked their life and liberty so that great newspapers and radio/tv stations could honestly inform citizens about what was happening in the world.

Reporters like Ireland’s Veronica Guerin risked and lost their lives exposing drug dealers to make the world safe, and reporters like Woodward and Bernstein risked their liberty reporting about corruption at the highest level of the American government to make the world better for succeeding generations. Many reporters have risked their lives for a story over years, many have gone to jail in order to protect their sources. Many have died.

Getting these news stories was important. But the value to society only came into play when the newspaper published the story.

@haris CNN screenshot. Their Newspulse shows Wikileaks vid as most popular story. They still won’t feature it. http://file.status.net/identica/greggish-20100406T032041-cgghd33.png

Unfortunately there has been an ever increasing trend to sacrifice the news to profits. Newspaper, radio and television newsrooms have been gutted and gutted and gutted some more. Reporting the news started coming second to ratings. Objectivity lost out to advertisers. Today the news is “packaged”, and quite often editorial content seems handed down from above.

As news outlets have been bought and sold and sold some more they have ended up as tiny pawns in gigantic media corporations. I don’t know if they’ve lost their voices, or if they are afraid to report for fear of being shut down entirely.

There are precious few independent news purveyors left in the world. And even those few are scrambling for advertising to survive. In today’s world advertisers seem to dictate the news.

But what they are NOT doing is providing the news without fear or favor,

In Canada, the “news media” is NOT telling Canadians about Usage Based Billing. Around the world there has been barely a breath about the secret A.C.T.A. treaty being aggressively pursued by many supposedly democratic governments in secret… because they know very well their citizens would not agree.

And we are still a nation at war. Why? I don’t know. It certainly doesn’t strike me as a just war. Worse, bad things happen. Canada has not behaved well in Afghanistan. Our military and our government is implicated under a cloud of torture which continues to be covered up. Even Pierre Berton wouldn’t have been able to make this one palatable. I suspect it would have sickened Canada’s esteemed biographer as much as it sickens me.

Bad things are continuing to happen. Canada is no longer the lily white peace keeping force. We aren’t helping anyone. Continuing to hang around and prop up this war that is bad for all of us; it lends credibility to the war that shouldn’t be.

And today another horrendous story has broken, which again was brought to my attention from the other side if the world, from wikileaks via Haris, who lead me to a blog post by biologist P.Z. Myers: We have seen evil, and it is us Unlike professor Myers, I can’t watch the “Collateral Murder” video which shows the casual slaughter of Iraqi journalists. But I can help spread the word.

What ever happened to the Canadian news media? Shouldn’t intrepid reporters be spilling these stories? Two Iraqi journalists lost their lives… and for what? Why aren’t their brethren standing up for them?

Why isn’t the news media doing its job?

That’s why net neutrality is so important. Not just for internet freedom. But for freedom.