NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh says the antisemitic comments by two of his party’s candidates who resigned were “completely wrong.”
“Antisemitism is real,” Singh said during a campaign stop in Essex, Ont.
“We’re seeing a scary rise in antisemitism, and we are unequivocally opposed, and we’ll confront it.”
The party confirmed Wednesday that Dan Osborne, the candidate for the Nova Scotia riding of Cumberland-Colchester, and Sidney Coles, the candidate for Toronto-St. Paul’s, ended their campaigns and “agreed to educate themselves further about antisemitism.”
Federal election: Jagmeet Singh one-on-one
Singh said antisemitism has no place in his party and the candidates made the right decision to resign.
“In addition, they’re talking about the importance of getting training,” Singh said.
Coles, who has since deleted her Twitter account, was reported to have posted misinformation about Israel being linked to missing COVID-19 vaccines.
Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, a non-profit human rights organization, shared images purportedly from Coles’ account over the weekend. Coles later apologized on social media.
Osborne was reported to have tweeted to Oprah in 2019 asking if Auschwitz was a real place, referring to the Nazi-run concentration camp in Poland during the Second World War.
He responded to backlash about the post on Twitter over the weekend, saying he had tweeted it when he was a teenager.
“I want to offer an apology,” Osborne tweeted Sunday. “The role of Auschwitz and the history of the Holocaust is one we should never forget.
“Antisemitism should be confronted and stopped. I can’t recall posting that, I was 16 then and can honestly say I did not mean to cause any harm.”
Jaime Kirzner-Roberts, director of policy at Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center for Holocaust Studies, said in a news release that he had been in contact with the New Democrats. He was relieved the candidates stepped down, he added.
“We thank NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh for his leadership in ensuring this outcome,” Kirzner-Roberts said.
“Amid rising Jew-hatred in this country, all political parties and leaders must send a message, loud and clear, that antisemitism will not be tolerated in any shape or form.”
A handful of candidates from other parties have also dropped out during the election.
Last week the Conservative Party dropped Lisa Robinson, the candidate for the Beaches-East York riding in Toronto, after Islamophobic social media posts surfaced. Robinson has claimed the account is fake and she has previously reported it to police.
Liberal Raj Saini resigned earlier in the campaign after facing allegations that he harassed a female staff member, claims he firmly denies.
Singh condemned Coles’ posts during a campaign stop on Tuesday, but did not demand she step down. At that time, he said the candidate’s “unequivocal apology” was the right thing to do.
Singh didn’t say Wednesday why he didn’t push for a resignation sooner, but reiterated that it was the right decision for the candidates.
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The New Democrats are filling their schedule for the final push before the election.
Singh was greeted by hundreds of people cheering and holding signs during stops in London West and Niagara Centre _ both of which went Liberal in the last election. He told supporters to vote with their conscience.
The NDP leader has continuedto dismiss that people should follow the idea of voting strategically and kept his sights set on Justin Trudeau during the final push.
“There is a cost to voting for the Liberals,” he said.
Singh will also be taking his message to the Ontario ridings of Hamilton and Brampton East.
He will end the busy day with a livestream on Twitch, an online gaming site. Singh, who has embraced social media trends and videos, said it’s a way to connect with potential voters.
© 2021 The Canadian Press
‘Eternals’ movie, boasting a diverse cast and Marvel’s first deaf role, premieres
Actors Angelina Jolie and Salma Hayek brought Hollywood glamor to the world premiere of Marvel Studios’ latest comic book adapation, “Eternals”, on Monday.
Directed by Chloe Zhao, who won best director and best picture for the film “Nomadland ” at the Oscars earlier this year, “Eternals” boasts one of the most diverse casts of any Marvel movie.
“I hope it just starts to normalize what should have been there in the first place,” Jolie told Reuters. “I hope people watch these films in years to come and we don’t even think about it as being diverse, it just becomes what’s normal and what’s right, and what’s appropriate representation of the world we live in.”
Gemma Chan plays the lead role of Sersi, one of the Eternals, a group of aliens who have lived on Earth and secretly guided humanity for 7,000 years.
“It’s got a different tone, visually it’s going to be quite different,” said Chan. “Obviously the cast is huge and it spans 7,000 years so it’s really an epic story. One of the themes of the film is connection, connection to one another, connection to earth. I hope that resonates with people in some way.”
“Eternals” also features the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s first deaf character in Lauren Ridloff’s Makkari.
“I might be the first but I won’t be the only one for much longer,” signed Ridloff in American Sign Language. “There’s another deaf superhero coming into the MCU very soon so this is definitely a game-changer.”
Delayed a year due to the pandemic, “Eternals” will finally hit cinemas on Nov. 5.
(Reporting by Rollo Ross; Editing by Karishma Singh)
Spotify to hire hundreds to drive ad sales in Europe, Australia, Canada
Spotify is planning to hire hundreds of staff to boost its advertising sales in Europe and elsewhere, as the music streaming service looks to increase revenue from customers who don’t pay a monthly fee but make up the bulk of its user base.
“We are increasing our ads business marketing workforce by over 70% in Europe, Australia and Canada … and that’s off a pretty sizable base,” Lee Brown, Spotify’s head of advertising business, said in an interview.
“We’re investing in our advertising business. As far as long-term strategy, I think gone are the days of advertising being less than 10% of our overall revenue.”
Spotify has also hired an ad industry executive with 25 years of international experience to lead international sales, Brown said, though he did not give a name.
The company, which earns income from paid subscriptions and by disseminating ads to non-paying users, saw its advertising business return to growth this year after being hit by the pandemic.
Of its 365 million monthly active users, 210 million are ad-supported, bringing in about 12% of its total revenue.
“An ad not only creates revenue for the firm, but it also lowers costs, as it leads to fewer songs being played and, in turn, modestly lower royalties to be paid,” Morningstar Analysts said.
A surge in podcast content – Spotify carried 2.9 million podcasts as of the second quarter, up nearly 12% from the previous three months – has helped boost ad revenue, as podcasts pull in more users and, being longer, allow more time for ads.
The company is looking to add more tools for advertisers, and will make its podcast advertising and publishing platform Megaphone available in Germany, France, Spain and Italy.
Megaphone, bought by Spotify last year, offers tools for podcasters to create ads for their own programmes, for which they receive income, and to measure their reach. It currently hosts about a third of the top 200 shows on Spotify and Apple.
Spotify has been spending hundreds of millions to beef up its podcast business. Its competition with Apple has intensified after both launched paid subscription platforms for podcasters earlier this year.
The Swedish company is expected https://www.emarketer.com/content/spotify-pandora-lead-us-audio-listeners to overtake Apple in podcast listeners for the first time this year, according to research firm eMarketer.
(Reporting by Supantha Mukherjee, European Technology & Telecoms Correspondent; Editing by Jan Harvey)
NDP calls for social media watchdog as scrutiny of Facebook heats up – The Globe and Mail
The fallout from a Facebook whistleblower’s explosive revelations this month continues to descend on Canada as politicians and experts grapple with how to regulate Big Tech amid renewed questions on the harm it can wreak.
A prolonged “techlash” over the past few years has seen western countries adopt varying degrees of platform regulation, with users becoming increasingly alive to the fractured civic bonds brought on by digital echo chambers. But so far no single approach to regulating and policing the platforms has emerged as a solution.
New Democrats are the latest to demand a federal government crackdown on social media giants. On Monday, NDP MP Charlie Angus called on Ottawa to establish an independent watchdog that tackles disinformation, hateful posts and algorithm transparency, citing a former Facebook executive .
Frances Haugen testified before a U.S. Senate committee on Oct. 5 that the company’s products harm children and fuel polarization in the U.S., a claim supported by internal company research leaked to the Wall Street Journal.
“Ms. Haugen reveals that Facebook knew that its algorithms are driving hate content and leading to breakdown in civic engagement,” Angus said.
“Facebook made the decision to incentivize profits through its use of its algorithms over the well-being of its users.”
As the company confronts intense public scrutiny over how its coding fans inflammatory rhetoric and affects users’ self-esteem, Angus is proposing to create an independent ombudsman accountable to the House of Commons, akin to Canada’s ethics and privacy commissioners.
“Rather than relying on outdated institutions like the Competition Bureau or the CRTC, it’s time for the federal government to establish a regulator that actually understands this file,” he said.
Facebook Canada said it continues to make investments that target misinformation and harmful content, and stands ready to collaborate with lawmakers on a new legal frameworks for platforms.
“As we’ve shared, we welcome regulation and have been vocal calling for a new set of public rules for all technology companies to follow. It’s been 25 years since the rules for the Internet have been updated and it’s time for industry standards to be introduced so private companies aren’t making these decisions on their own,” Rachel Curran, head of policy at Facebook Canada, said in a statement.
Online hate remains on Ottawa’s radar as global observers continue to question Facebook’s role in tragedies ranging from the Christchurch mosque shootings in New Zealand to deadly military violence directed at Myanmar’s Rohingya minority, along with racist posts in Canada.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has pledged to overhaul internet rules after a pair of bills aiming to regulate social media giants and tackle online hate died on the order paper this year.
In last month’s federal election campaign, he promised to introduce legislation within 100 days of forming government that combats harmful online materials.
His plan would create a digital safety commissioner to enforce a new regime that targets child pornography, terrorist content, hate speech and other harmful posts on social media platforms. The regulator could order social media companies to take down posts within 24 hours.
Sam Andrey, director of policy and research at the Ryerson Leadership Lab, welcomes the new blueprint. But he suggested enhancing transparency at tech giants by requiring details on algorithms, not just company data on illegal content and post takedowns.
Andrey also said the government’s proposal targets sites where the posts are public such as YouTube and Facebook, but not private messages on platforms such as the Facebook-owned WhatsApp.
“But there’s mounting evidence … that private platforms, including things like WhatsApp or WeChat, can contribute to the spread of online harm,” he said, suggesting a way to flag troubling messages.
Charter questions of privacy and free expression may well come into play as the government considers whether the regime should cover private communication, whether to expand its scope to other harmful activity such as impersonation and how proactive the digital safety commissioner and accompanying tribunal could be.
Vivek Krishnamurthy, a law professor at the University of Ottawa, noted that most large platforms already have policies that claim to meet or exceed the government’s would-be rules on harmful material, with some seeking to highlight or remove misleading information – about COVID-19 vaccines, for example.
New Democrats and Conservatives have also questioned why a new regulator is needed to crack down on exploitive material when the Criminal Code already bars child pornography, hate speech and the knowing distribution of illicit images.
Krishnamurthy says the government is focusing too heavily on “culture war” wedge points rather than data privacy, which involves fewer grey areas.
“There’s no real work happening on Big Tech and competition in Canada,” he added.
Trudeau has said he will reintroduce legislation to modernize the broadcasting regime in a way that could force internet steaming sites like Netflix and Spotify to showcase Canadian content and cough up financial contributions to bolster Canadian creators.
Bill C-10, which died in the Senate in August after the election was triggered, provoked months of debate over whether its regulation of online videos would amount to government overreach, with free speech advocates criticizing the bill and the arts community supporting it.
Angus said Monday that the bill amounted to a “political dumpster fire” and that having the Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission (CRTC) address Facebook algorithms would bring “a 1980s solution to a 21st-century problem.” He added that Bill C-10 included “good ideas” around applying broadcast rules for funding to Big Tech.
“Tax the SOBs,” he said of tech behemoths.
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said earlier this month the Liberal government will move ahead with legislation finalizing the enactment of a Digital Services Tax by Jan. 1. The tax would come into effect two years later on Jan. 1, 2024, if a tax regime under a newly inked global agreement has not already come into force.
A spokesperson for Heritage Minister Steven Guilbeault said comment is not possible until cabinet has been formed, but pointed to the Liberals’ platform pledges, including a plank requiring digital giants to pay legacy media outlets for linking to their work.
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