Sometimes, you just have to wonder what is happening in Canada’s schools. As it turns out, October was quite the month for people who think about freedom of expression in education. Actually, it seems to have been a prize month for some people who don’t spend much time thinking at all.
Freedom of Expression is an important foundation of a democratic society and protected as a “fundamental freedom” in Section 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and under the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Yet, in both countries, free expression is being used paradoxically to justify censorship. A disturbing recent example is the enactment of Texas House Bill 3979: “An Act relating to the social studies curriculum in public schools.”
How much decorum should parents expect from their children’s high school principal? Should she have to commit to a dress code? Should she be permitted to share her hobbies or her tastes in music, literature, and movies with the students in her school? What if her choices conflict with the faith observed by some of her students’ families?
Residents of Nunavut are acutely aware that connectivity is profoundly necessary - yet unavailable - impeding access to technological innovation in fundamental areas like health, education, cultural expression, and political participation. In May 2021, Canada’s federal government announced $6.9 million in funding for private telecommunications companies, Northwestel and SSi, Micro to bring high-speed Internet to residents of Nunavut.
A year ago, a major hiring scandal erupted at the Faculty of Law at the University of Toronto. The scandal broke after the former Law Dean decided not to proceed with the hiring of Dr. Valentina Azarova to direct its International Human Rights Program after a donor and sitting judge objected to her work on Israeli occupation of Palestinian Territories.