• Privacy laws should apply to political parties

    The privacy laws also mandate that government and private companies protect personal data and that breaches be met with financial penalties. Yet political parties, which are free from such consequences, have not always been careful in their handling of their sizable stores of sensitive data… To the extent that micro-targeting happens without voters’ knowing about it or agreeing to it, the practice is manipulative in a way that distorts democracy. Data-hungry political parties are the last entities that should be exempt from privacy laws.

  • The intolerance industry is working overtime in Canada

    Should we split each other into a bunch of identity groups squabbling over the spoils? Or should we stress our common values and do our best to make sure that everybody has a fair shot? Must we claim, as lots of people do, that Canada is rotten with every kind of “ism” and phobia? Or can we acknowledge that we really are a pretty fair and just society that’s trying to do better? … I believe the way forward should be rooted in pride and confidence, not accusations and shame.

  • Ottawa pits ‘traditional knowledge’ against ‘science’, and then walks away

    Ottawa’s recently introduced legislation to amend the federal environmental impact assessment process so that it “takes into account scientific information, traditional knowledge of the Indigenous peoples of Canada, and community knowledge.” … Asking for the term “traditional knowledge of the Indigenous peoples of Canada” to be defined, and for ways to evaluate it, is a good idea. Doing so doesn’t devalue traditional knowledge; in fact, a strong definition will only serve to give it more value.

  • The long, slow drive to equal gender pay in Ontario

    The Liberals’ move to redress the gender wage gap is inexplicably late in its tabling, vague in its constitution, and painfully slow in its proposed enactment… the wage gap in Ontario remains stuck at 30 per cent on average “and over the past 10 years has remained largely unchanged.” Averages always conceal. In this case what you don’t see is the 57-per-cent wage gap for Indigenous women; the 39-per-cent wage gap for immigrant women.

  • Addressing delay in the courts: Flirting with transformative change

    The preliminary inquiry historically served the central purpose of weeding out non-viable cases. But it is a resource- and time-intensive procedure. And with the evolution of professional policing, constantly improving investigative standards, talented and spirited defence-bar oversight and pro-active case-vetting by prosecutors, the preliminary inquiry as a screening mechanism has been in a death spiral for years… the costs and delays to maintain it system-wide are no longer broadly justifiable.

  • Minister delivers much-needed kick in the pants to justice system

    … “the aspirations are fine,” particularly the legislation’s big push to reduce the administration-of-justice offences, which account for a quarter of all cases in court… These clog the courts and make criminals out of those on the margins — the poor, the Indigenous, the mentally ill, people of colour… Probably fully 80 per cent of the poor buggers before the courts don’t belong there. Their so-called “crimes” are too minor; their vulnerabilities are too great; they need help, not jail.

  • Psychographics: How Cambridge Analytica Peered Inside Your Mind

    Cambridge Analytica worked hard to develop dozens of ad variations on different political themes such as immigration, the economy and gun rights, all tailored to different personality profiles… Behavioural analytics and psychographic profiling are here to stay… it industrializes what good salespeople have always done, by adjusting their message and delivery to the personality of their customers.

  • The ‘radical paradigm shift’ that’s changing Ontario’s oversight system for health professionals

    Appetite for significant reform is growing, even among regulators, who are now looking at a “radical paradigm shift.” … Under the system of self-regulation, professions govern themselves through 26 colleges, which get their legislative authority from the provincial government. They investigate complaints, discipline wrongdoers, set practice standards and administer quality assurance programs to ensure professionals are up to snuff.

  • Speaking as a White Male …

    Under what circumstances should we embrace the idea that collective identity shapes our thinking? Under what circumstances should we resist collective identity and insist on the primacy of individual discretion, and our common humanity? … the drive to bring in formerly marginalized groups has obviously been one of the great achievements of our era… Wider inclusion has vastly improved public debate… And there are other times when collective thinking seems positively corrupting.

  • Hot!

    The mounting case for a single public-school system in Ontario

    It is unequal: Jewish or Hindu or Muslim schools don’t get government funding. How is that fair…? It is expensive: running two giant school systems side by side… It is increasingly awkward: the values of Catholic authorities are bound to clash with changing views in the world… Most of all, it is backward… It is time to embrace that new reality and wind up the separate school system.