RCMP defend social-media profiling after assembling portrait of activist - Canada News Media
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RCMP defend social-media profiling after assembling portrait of activist



Sgt. Penny Hermann, an RCMP spokeswoman, said the force acknowledges the constitutional right to protest peacefully, but adds the police must do due diligence to ensure there are no threats or concerns for public safety.

“As Canada’s national police force, the RCMP uses various technical investigative tools and methods to lawfully obtain information or evidence in order to protect Canadians,” she said.

“To maintain the integrity of investigations, we do not disclose specific techniques or tools used in the course of a particular investigation.”

For the profile of Small, the RCMP combed through online sources detailing her age, address, education, language fluency, work experience and Facebook friends in the activist community.

“It’s disturbing to me. It’s creepy. And it makes me wonder, what were they hoping to do with this information?” Small said.

“I had no reason to think that I personally would be followed or surveilled, or anything like that.”

Groups that defend the right to public protest say police monitoring of activists can have a chilling effect that discourages people from speaking out or taking part in demonstrations.

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association is concerned about agencies compiling profiles of people when there are no reasonable grounds to believe they are involved in criminal activity.

“The fact that someone’s an activist should not be enough to render them the subject of suspicion by law enforcement,” said Cara Zwibel, director of the association’s fundamental-freedoms program.

“That, to me, is a problem in a democratic society.”

Privacy laws do not adequately reflect the expectations and nuances of the social-media age, said Meghan McDermott, staff counsel for policy with the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.

A Facebook user might let online friends know it’s their birthday, but the law treats that as if the person has put a sign on their front lawn declaring the fact, she said.

There should be a discussion among civil liberties advocates, legislators, police and the public about “what is acceptable for law enforcement to be looking at, and what are thresholds that allow them to look into that information,” Zwibel said.

Before questions about Small’s profile arose, the RCMP’s internal-audit section had begun examining the force’s use of open sources in the context of the Charter of Rights and the various statutes under which the Mounties operate.

The RCMP says the resulting audit report is expected to be made public this summer.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 2, 2020.

Jim Bronskill , The Canadian Press

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Wayne Parrish, digital media leader, named Torstar's senior vice-president editorial – yorkregion.com



Wayne Parrish, an award-winning reporter, editor and digital media leader, is Torstar’s new senior vice-president editorial.

“Wayne Parrish brings a wealth of experience, a history of digital innovation and a burning desire for our papers to flourish,” said Torstar chair John Honderich. “What’s more, he is an accomplished journalist, who knows who we are and what we stand for.”

Parrish, 64, who won two National Newspaper Awards as a sports reporter at the Star in the early 1980s, has held executive leadership positions at Postmedia Network, Quebecor and Sun Media.

He was CEO of Canada Basketball for eight years. And most recently, he worked on digital transformation and merger-acquisition media projects in the U.S., Puerto Rico and Australia with FTI Consulting Inc.

Parrish’s digital experience includes launching CANOE, which became Canada’s premiere internet network-portal and top news and information site for more than a decade.

He launched Postmedia’s digital subscription program, consulted on a sports-only digital subscription business in the U.S., and developed the new media unit of Quebecor.

“He’s definitely a seasoned executive and he’s one of those rare people who has a lot of digital experience, a lot of news experience and a lot of transformation experience,” said Torstar president John Boynton. “So he’s going to be able to hit the ground running really early and help Torstar with the overall transformation.”

Parrish will focus on editorial transformation, including content science and data analytics, for Torstar’s newspapers, which include the Star, six additional Ontario dailies and more than 70 community newspapers.

Parrish, who has served on many news industry boards, including Canadian Press, Canadian Journalism Foundation and National Newspaper Awards, said he sees his return to Torstar as a homecoming.

“When I look at the early years of my career in Vancouver and Montreal … to be able to make the roster as a journalist at the Star in those years, was the ultimate within the Canadian context,” he said in an interview.

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Prince Harry en route to Canada, U.K. media reports suggest – CTV News



There are multiple reports out of the U.K. that the Duke of Sussex is believed to be travelling to Canada on Monday.

Harry attended a summit for leaders of 21 African countries earlier in the day but is now on his way to see his wife Meghan and son Archie in Canada, according to British media reports.

CTV News has not independently confirmed this information, and there is no confirmation on where exactly in Canada Harry may be heading.

This is a developing story and will be updated if more information becomes available.

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Prince Harry: ‘Powerful media’ is why he’s stepping away – Kelowna Capital News



Prince Harry took aim at the journalists who have dissected his life since the day he was born as he expressed regret for the way he has had to step down from royal duties.

In a personal speech that referenced his late mother, Princess Diana, who died in a car accident in 1997 while being pursued by paparazzi, Harry said Sunday he had “no other option” but to step away so that he and his wife, Meghan, could seek a more peaceful life.

“When I lost my mum 23 years ago, you took me under your wing,” Harry said at a dinner in London for Sentebale, his Africa-based charity supporting youngsters with HIV. “You looked out for me for so long, but the media is a powerful force. And my hope is one day our collective support for each other can be more powerful, because this is so much bigger than just us.”

The comments were Harry’s first public remarks since Saturday night, when his grandmother, Queen Elizabeth II, announced the terms under which the prince and his wife will walk away from most royal duties, give up public funding and try to become financially independent. The couple are expected to spend most of their time in Canada while maintaining a home in England near Windsor Castle.

Meghan has already returned to Canada, where the couple spent a Christmas break with their 8-month-old son, Archie. Harry, 35, continued in his royal role Monday, attending a U.K.-Africa investment summit in London alongside British Prime Minister Boris Johnson.

It was not clear how soon Harry will join Meghan, Archie and the couple’s dogs in Canada, or where in the country they plan to live. The couple spent the holiday season on Vancouver Island, and Meghan worked for seven years in Toronto as an actress filming the TV series “Suits.”

The queen’s statement said the agreement, reached after crisis talks among the top royals and their staff, was a “constructive and supportive way forward.”

READ MORE: Prince Harry, Meghan to give up ‘royal highness’ titles

But Harry’s speech made it clear that the couple had not gotten their wish to be able to carry on with some royal duties while still becoming independent.

“Our hope was to continue serving the queen, the Commonwealth and my military associations, but without public funding. Unfortunately, that wasn’t possible,” he said.

Under the terms of the deal, Harry and Meghan this spring will no longer use the “royal highness” titles — although they will formally retain them — or receive public funds for their work. They will no longer represent the queen and Harry must relinquish his honorary military appointments, including his role as Captain General of the Royal Marines.

The conditions represent a starker break with the monarchy than Harry and Meghan had envisioned when they announced on Instagram that they planned to “step back” from royal duties.

Harry said “it brings me great sadness that it has come to this.”

”The decision that I have made for my wife and I to step back is not one I made lightly. It was so many months of talks after so many years of challenges. And I know I haven’t always got it right, but as far as this goes, there really was no other option,” he said.

Harry has made no secret of his disdain for Britain’s tabloid media in the past, with both he and Meghan filing lawsuits against press outlets last fall. At the time, Harry gave an interview drawing parallels between the treatment of his wife and the media frenzy that contributed to the death of his mother.

Harry praised his grandmother, the queen, and the rest of his family for supporting him and his wife in recent months. He called the decision to change both jobs and continents “a leap of faith” and said he hopes the move will allow him and his family to achieve a “more peaceful life.”

READ MORE: Prince Harry and Meghan to ‘step back’ as senior UK royals

Harry opened his speech Sunday by noting that many in the audience had watched him grow up and said he wanted them “to hear the truth from me, as much as I can share, not as a prince, or a duke, but as Harry.”

He framed the decision to leave as his own, made on behalf of Meghan and Archie. He spoke of both during his remarks, telling the audience that eight-month-old Archie had seen snow for the first time a few days ago and “thought it was bloody brilliant.”

He then turned to his relationship with the queen and other members of his family.

“I will always have the utmost respect for my grandmother — my commander in chief — and I’m incredibly grateful to her and the rest of my family for the support they have shown Meghan and I over the last few months,” he said.


Associated Press writer Jill Lawless contributed to this story.


Danica Kirka, The Associated Press

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