Public debate: Endangered Canadian entertainment


Canadians like lively discussions. It’s a healthy pastime reflected in our media and institutions, and lively water cooler discussions (often about hockey) have long been part of the job.

Two Canadian institutions that cover a wide range of discussions are CBC Radio’s classics, The Debaters and Munk Debates. The former confronts the two cartoons on issues ranging from profound to mediocre, while the latter hosts an intellectual power that emphasizes important issues from the future of geopolitics to the merits of capitalism.

Munk Debates shows our respect for the art of deliberation, while The Debaters shows our admiration for the wit they think on their feet.

However, Canadians seem to have lost both a sense of humor and the ability to have serious discussions. We are walking on eggshells due to political discourse and the vulnerability of public discourse due to “call-out culture”.

According to a recent survey, social media is undermining the debate held in the country. Given that social media platforms have become a major form of communication, this is a sequence of events of concern.

The Postmedia-Leger poll surveyed Canadians on many issues surrounding freedom of speech. Notable results include the fact that 45% feel that social media has hurt the debate held in Canada, and 40% are free to talk about controversial topics in 5-10 years. I think it will be difficult.

On speech issues, 46% believe that the government should have the power to regulate public comments that it considers to be hate speech. Meanwhile, 69% believe that social media providers need to have the authority and obligation to monitor posted content and remove it. Consider malicious expressions.

Police speech

Polls suggest that a significant number of Canadians are happy with governments and social media providers that regulate content they dislike. From one point of view, this shows that Canadians have a low tolerance for hateful rhetoric. Most Canadians agree with the sentiment of fighting hate speech, but many may not fully understand the implications of allowing governments and Big Tech to play that role.

Trusting either to determine what makes up hate speech is a risky business. Both have proven to be arbitrary in the definition and enforcement of this ambiguous term. When it comes to government, it would be naive to think that the motive is completely altruistic.

Recently, the labels “hate speech” and “misinformation” have been slapped by opinions that are against political legitimacy. This had a suffocating effect on the public debate. Big Tech has a great deal of freedom in blocking dissenting opinions, especially conservative voices, but the abominable views disseminated by the Left often get a free pass.

On June 30, the then Secretary-General of the BC Citizens’ Freedom Association tweeted, “Burning everything,” in response to a news article that two Catholic churches were on fire. Her comments shortly after the discovery of an unmarked tomb at a Canadian housing school were widely criticized for allowing arson, but were given a free pass by those who vaguely viewed Western religions. rice field. The turmoil can only be imagined if the same comments were made regarding the burning of the mosque.

Labeling of “misinformation”

Public debate is not only an exercise of freedom, but an important practice that makes decision makers accountable for public health and economic policy. Unfortunately, there is a significant lack of debate in the scientific community, which is alarming given the current situation.

For example, consider the COVID Origin Lab Leak Hypothesis. Throughout 2020, it was dismissed as a conspiracy theory and labeled as “wrong information.” References to the possible virus leak from the Wuhan Institute were immediately removed from Twitter and Facebook, and were rejected as Cook when even carrier virologists suggested it was worth considering the idea. .. But now lab leaks are widely believed by many scientists as the most probable cause of the virus. Even left-wing media outlets like CNN have acknowledged the validity of the theory, and Twitter no longer censors posts about it.

The “wrong information” label is easily applied to any perspective that deviates from legitimacy. It was most disappointing to see this work over COVID policies and treatments that require listening to legitimate scientific debates and discussing ideas about their benefits. Unfortunately, the rhetoric around pandemics is far more political than scientific.

Big Tech’s concentration of power is probably the only greatest risk to independent thinking. The sparkle of hope is that debate reductions are imposed externally through these platforms, and Canadians are aware of what that is, the restrictions imposed by the platform itself rather than public opinion on debate. This is an encouraging sign. People are waking up to the negative effects of social media on both individuals and society as a whole.

Fortunately, the emperor is undressed, so he only talks honestly and directly, and he doesn’t feel any resistance to the discussion. Censorship by Twitter and others. Even if there is controversy, it generally does not apply to polite real-world conversations. By participating in the battle of ideas with the spirit of fair play and the kindness of good old Canada, you can overcome the COVID turmoil faster than the government’s obligations.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of The Epoch Times.

Ryan Moffat

Ryan Moffatt is a Vancouver-based journalist.