It’s Nour here again with the daily news. As we slide fearfully into mid-October, do you have any scary stories to tell me? Send them to me @nour_regrets. Let’s take solace from the existential horror of reality, and head into the mythological horror of the supernatural.
Today we have: the Chinese government hurling vague threats at Canada; the TTC affirming that the pandemic moves along lines of class; another colonizer pontificating about what is and isn’t eugenics; UofT receiving backlash for stifling academic freedom, and our social media oligarchs banning us from seeing the sexy Hunter Biden photos.
China Isn’t Happy Canada Is Supporting Dissidents
On October 15, Chinese Ambassador Cong Piewu warned Canada not to offer political asylum to Hong Kong dissidents, and especially not to speak up against the human rights abuses against Uighur Muslims.
The ambassador warned that by assisting Hong Kong political dissidents, Canada would be “emboldening violent criminals” and “endangering the safety of Canadians in Hong Kong.” When asked if this constituted a threat, Cong retorted with “that’s your interpretation.”
Though it hasn’t been publicized much, Canada has, in fact, been moving to assist political dissidents in Hong Kong. We quietly started approving refugee status claims from pro-democracy activists earlier this month, working through the pile of claims that began to accumulate in January.
The ambassador’s vague threats are another knife in the back of Canada-Hong Kong relations. We had previously been treating Hong Kong with a bit more friendliness than China, but after the imposition of China’s new security laws earlier in July, Canada suspended an extradition treaty and barred the export of sensitive military items there.
- On Tuesday, a Toronto transit rider tweeted a photo of a severely crowded TTC vehicle at the company’s Twitter account, inquiring about social distancing protocols
- In response, whoever is running their social media let Twitter know that “as the city re-opens, social distancing will no longer be possible on our vehicles. As such, if you feel that a vehicle you are on is overcrowded, I would suggest getting off and boarding the next one. Apologies for the inconvenience.”
- Context: In Toronto, the virus has mainly impacted residents of the north-west and north-east regions — i.e., some of the lowest-income regions of the city; protection from the pandemic is only afforded to those who can afford it
- And ridesharing? It’s only making the problem even worse (except for the 1 per cent)
- Dig Deeper: In Defence of Fare Evasion – read more
- On Wednesday, Laurie Throness, a Liberal candidate in British Columbia’s Chilliwack-Kent riding, announced in an online debate that he thought offering free contraceptives is akin to eugenics
- In response to a question about the NDP’s platform of offering free contraceptives, Throness pontificated that this was perhaps simply a way to eugenically control the birth rate of the poor
- Yesterday, after facing public backlash, Throness resigned from the party; BC Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson accepted his resignation
- There isn’t really any meaning to this resignation, as it’s too late in the election cycle for his candidacy to actually be resigned; he’ll still be on the ballot, with advanced voting having already begun yesterday
- Context: Throness has been a controversial figure for the Liberals for some time, having previously defended publications’ abilities to publish articles supporting LGBTQ conversion therapy
- What about policy? Passage Daily writer Sarah Krichel analyzes the BC Liberals and NDP election platforms – read more
- The massive Canadian Association of University Teachers (CAUT) took drastic moves in recommending a censure of the University of Toronto administration
- The censure will start rolling into place beginning November 27 — from that point, the university will have six months to rectify the situation, before facing boycott from the 72,000 university staff across Canada that the CAUT represents
- The context: Valentina Azarova was the unanimous choice for the position as director of U of T’s International Human Rights Program; she was refused the position after a faculty donor and sitting judge at the Tax Court of Canada expressed concerns over her academic work on Israeli human rights abuses against Palestinians
- The last time the CAUT censured a university was 15 years ago, over governance issues rather than academic freedom
- It’s a media problem too. Managing Editor Davide Mastracci analyzes how the media enforces a bias against Palestinians – read more
Facebook and Twitter have finally decided that they can, in fact, stop the spread of certain materials on their platforms. After an agonizing few years where Mark Zuckerberg and Jack Dorsey pled freedom of speech and laissez-faire politics, their respective platforms put out emergency safety measures to stop the circulation of the New York Post article on Hunter Biden.
Their justification was that the article contained hacked materials, and so it was potentially unethical to allow people to share it willy-nilly. Facebook claimed its block was part of a way to give fact-checkers time to decide if it was misinformation. However, the way it’s being blocked is drastically different than how the platforms have previously treated misinformation.
Instead of plugging a warning in front of the media, users found themselves unable to share the article at all. On Twitter, if you tried to post or DM a link to the story, those trying to click would be notified it was “potentially unsafe” and be barred from opening the story. Twitter is now backtracking on their decision after the fallout, claiming their choice to stifle the article was a mistake.
The article’s main focus was an email from a Ukrainian energy official where Hunter was thanked for inviting the official to meet his papa, Joe Biden. Allegations of impropriety have haunted Joe about his decision to give Hunter a job in Ukraine.
More importantly, the article contained photos where a rugged, pipe-smoking, shirtless Hunter is serving Adam-Sandler-in-Uncut Gems realness. Yesterday, your author herself was locked out of Twitter all day simply for attempting to post those photos. Yoinks!
That’s all I have for you today. Enjoy your weekend, love your friends, wash your hands and see you all next time.
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