04 April 2014


The press achieved some gains in this period in its efforts to ensure unhindered freedom of expression. The national government ‘s controversial proposed Internet surveillance legislation, known as Bill C-30, was finally dropped in November following widespread opposition from the media concerned that it would lead to invasion of privacy and thus have the effect of doing away with the ability of journalists to keep the identity of their sources confidential. At the same time, in Nova Scotia new provincial legislation called the Cyber-safety Act was described by some freedom of expression advocate groups as going too far in its bid to halt cyberbullying. If pushed to its limits, they argue, it would conflict with the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. In February a bill that Independent Member of Parliament Brent Rathgeber had introduced was withdrawn by him after complaints from free speech groups. The bill, C-461, would have forced the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation to disclose journalistic, creative and programming information and so jeopardize the identity of its confidential sources,  which no other Canadian media outlet had to release, the chairman of the Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) Canadian Issues Committee, Peter Jacobson, was reported as declaring. In December the Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) urged the Royal Canadian Mounted Police to stop harassing a journalist, Miles Howe, after he was arrested by the force three times in six months while covering protests in New Brunswick at the fracking of shale gas there. There was a feeling that the arrests were aimed at discouraging press coverage of his protests.