OTTAWA — There is no magic legislative bullet to control objectionable content on social media, Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc says.
LeBlanc told a virtual conference on democracy Wednesday if there were a simple answer, many other western democracies would have already passed such laws. In general, LeBlanc said, he favours countering false information rather than restricting it.
The internet and social-media platforms must be a home for free speech, a critical part of any democracy, he said.
LeBlanc added that they should not be forums for hate speech, racism and disinformation.
“But at the end of the day, I don’t think citizens want governments to regulate content on the internet. That’s not at all appropriate,” he said.
“I’m not naive enough to think that there’s a simplistic answer or that some piece of legislation in this sphere is going to be a magic bullet.”
The minister was speaking at a session called “Making Technology Work for All People” at the DemocracyXChange Summit.
LeBlanc advocated educating online users, requiring social-media companies to be more transparent and publicly criticizing platforms when they fail to live up to commitments.
“Our approach has been to start with compulsory transparency,” LeBlanc said.
He pointed to a federal requirement that platforms keep a publicly accessible registry of political ads during both the electoral pre-writ and writ periods, so that Canadians can easily find out who is posting online ads.
“You can also name and shame platforms or other organizations that fail to take effective action, or fail to comply with commitments they have celebrated publicly,” LeBlanc said.
“I don’t think any large, global business wants to attach itself to very worthy objectives … and then be called out for having been completely lax or ineffective at trying to implement their own commitments.”
There are widespread concerns that everyone from hatemongers to conspiracy theorists has been able to spread dangerous messages through social media.
Facebook said this week it was updating its hate speech policy to prohibit any content that denies or distorts the Holocaust.
“Organizations that study trends in hate speech are reporting increases in online attacks against many groups worldwide, and we continue our efforts to remove it,” Facebook said.
The social media giant said it had banned more than 250 white-supremacist organizations and updated its policies to address militia groups and QAnon conspiracy spreaders.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 14, 2020.
BCE says Bell group president Wade Oosterman to lead Bell Media starting next year – CTV News
BCE Inc. says Wade Oosterman, Bell group president and vice-chair, will assume operational leadership of Bell Media next year.
Oosterman will take on the responsibilities following the departure of Bell Media president Randy Lennox on Jan. 4.
BCE also said that Devorah Lithwick will become chief brand officer in January, as Oosterman who holds the title now focuses on his role at Bell Media.
BCE CEO Mirko Bibic called Lithwick, who has more than 25 years experience in Canadian brand development and marketing communications, an ideal choice to be chief brand officer.
Oosterman joined Bell in 2006 as president of Bell Mobility and chief brand officer.
He was promoted to president of mobility and residential services in 2010 and to group president in 2015.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 19, 2020
Despite Media Attempts To Sow Fear, Signs Of Durable Growth Continue To Emerge – Forbes
Typically, the media gives scant attention to the Census Bureau’s monthly report on new capital goods orders. Their negligence is understandable. The subject seems arcane and lacks the attention-grabbing quality of news on jobs or real estate. Nonetheless, the oversight is unfortunate, for business decisions on new equipment tell of the economy’s future productive power and even more important, of the level of confidence among business decision makers, an especially sensitive matter after the shock of the pandemic. On both counts – spending and confidence – these recent figures put overall economic prospects into a positive light.
The Census Bureau release is remarkable in may respects. Orders for new capital equipment, after plunging in response to the lockdowns and quarantines of last spring, surged 20% in July and August, the most recent period for which data are available. Even abstracting from the budgeted jump in orders for defense-related equipment, civilian orders for new productive equipment rose 19% during these two months. That would amount to a 190% increase were it to persist for a year, an unprecedented jump by any comparison. The drop last spring was so precipitous that even this recent surge leaves such orders some 17% lower than a year ago, but at the recent rate of increase they should quickly erase that deficit.
To be sure, much of the swing involves orders for new commercial aircraft. For obvious reasons, these fell especially hard during last spring’s lockdowns and quarantines. Airline executives must have doubted that traffic would ever return or even whether their firms would survive. Certainly, they had no incentive to upgrade their existing fleets much less enlarge them. But that dreary sense began to lift as the lockdowns eased last June. Airline decision makers re-established formerly cancelled orders and actually added new contracts to the mix.
Abstracting from these swings in purchases by airlines, the pattern of new civilian capital goods orders looks tamer. They fell less during the anti-virus strictures and have come back less dramatically with the economy’s reopening. The Census bureau records that these orders rose 4.3% in July and August. Even this muted figure is impressive. It amounts to a 30% annual growth rate, still unprecedented and enough to all but erase the spring shortfall. Such orders for capital goods other than aircraft are only 1.4% below year ago levels. Though that improvement stands on its own, there is no reason to dismiss the surge in orders from airlines. After all, they constitute a spending flow into the economy and also signal an encouraging surge in the confidence among business decision makers. According to the Census Bureau, the recent overall upswing in non-defense capital goods orders has brought the monthly dollar flow for capital goods purchases to some $75 billion, almost $900 billion a year, about 4% of the whole economy.
Such a dollar commitment not only should lift the economic activity over time, but because it also speaks to high levels of confidence among business decision makers, it signals a widespread desire for expansion, which will create still more spending down the road by business. Because that expansion will also prompt hiring, it points to a rise in consumer spending as well. In other words, the pattern should build on itself. These decision makers could, of course, be wrong. They are not clairvoyant. But itself the willingness to spend and hire makes future growth more likely. It is a prophesy that is to a high degree self fulfilling, making these data extremely encouraging about overall growth prospects.
China accuses Canada of condoning media criticism of Hong Kong comments – Global News
China said Monday that it has complained to Canada for allegedly condoning anti-China comments that appeared in Canadian media following controversial remarks made by the Chinese ambassador.
Ties between the countries are at their lowest point in years amid China’s outrage over Canada’s detention of a top executive of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei. Last week, China’s ambassador to Canada, Cong Peiwu, branded pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong as violent criminals and said if Canada grants them asylum it would amount to interference in China’s internal affairs.
“If the Canadian side really cares about the stability and the prosperity in Hong Kong, and really cares about the good health and safety of those 300,000 Canadian passport-holders in Hong Kong, and the large number of Canadian companies operating in Hong Kong SAR, you should support those efforts to fight violent crimes,” Cong said in a video news conference from the Chinese Embassy in Ottawa.
Cong was asked whether his remarks amounted to a threat, to which he replied, “That is your interpretation.”
On Saturday, the Toronto Sun published an editorial calling on Cong to either apologize or leave Canada. “It’s not enough for the Trudeau government to publicly scold Cong,” the paper said. “If he won’t apologize and retract his threats, boot him back to Beijing.”
Cherie Wong, the executive director of Alliance Canada Hong Kong, a group that advocates for Hong Kong’s pro-democracy movement, called Cong’s comment a “direct threat” to all Canadians.
“It should not be lost on Canadians living in Hong Kong or China, they could be next. Ambassador Cong suggested so himself,” Wong said.
China lodges complaint with Canada over Trudeau’s remarks on Hong Kong, Xinjiang
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian did not identify specific comments that he said resulted from a deliberate misinterpretation of Cong’s remarks, but said Canadian leaders “did not verify, but also condoned the anti-China comments spreading across the nation and made groundless accusations against China.”
“We express strong dissatisfaction and firm opposition to it and have lodged solemn complaints with the Canadian side,” Zhao told reporters Monday at a daily briefing.
Protests against the Hong Kong and mainland Chinese governments swelled last year, and Beijing clamped down on expressions of anti-government sentiment in the city with a new national security law that took effect June 30.
Trudeau condemns China’s diplomatic approach, says it shouldn’t be viewed as a ‘successful tactic’
The law outlaws subversive, secessionist and terrorist activity, as well as collusion with foreign powers to interfere in the city’s internal affairs. The U.S., Britain and Canada accuse China of infringing on the city’s freedoms.
Cong also flatly rejected Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s assertion that China is engaging in coercive diplomacy by imprisoning two Canadian men in retaliation for the arrest of a Chinese Huawei executive on an American extradition warrant. The executive, Meng Wanzhou, is living under house arrest in Vancouver while her case wends through a British Columbia court.
In December 2018, China imprisoned two Canadian men, Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and charged them with undermining China’s national security. Convicted Canadian drug smuggler Robert Schellenberg was also sentenced to death in a sudden retrial shortly after Meng’s arrest.
© 2020 The Canadian Press
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