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Contents

  1. Can the internet free us from Canada’s history of censorship?
  2. Nine years of censorship
  3. Censorship in Canadian Literature
  4. Just judgment : censorship of and in Canadian literature

Censorship can also be practised through harassment and intimidation.

Censorship can also be exercised through the pressure of advertisers and decisions by newspapers themselves, particularly in circumstances where no competitive or alternative source of news is available. Too much power is put in too few hands; and it is power without accountability. Material which promotes hatred against identifiable groups can also be halted at the border, while the Canadian Human Rights Act permits the filing of a court order to cease and desist using the telephone to communicate hate messages see Canada HRC v.


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Taylor Other censorship attempts by the provinces have been less successful. Under the Alberta Press Act to Ensure the Publication of Accurate News and Information, newspapers would be compelled to disclose the source of their news information and to print government statements to correct previous articles.

Can the internet free us from Canada’s history of censorship?

To persons or groups who cannot afford to print newspapers, or to advertise, or who might not be given the opportunity to do so, supervision of the distribution of handbills or posters is a form of censorship. In Ramsden v. The City of Peterborough , the Supreme Court of Canada held that a municipal by-law which banned the placing of posters on hydroelectric polls was an unreasonable limit on the freedom of expression.

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The court recognized that postering was a traditional means of communication by individuals and groups who do not have the financial resources to access the more standard forms of media communication such as print and radio. The court has expanded the requirement that governments must not arbitrarily restrict access to government property for the purposes of expression to include federally government-owned airports see Committee for the Commonwealth of Canada v Canada This chapter introduces you to literary censorship in Canada, looking both at positions taken by Canadian scholars on the practice of censorship and its effects, as well as at specific examples.

Censorship is a complex concept and before moving forward it is important to have a working definition. The types of discourses that are excluded can vary greatly, although censorship often focuses around particular scenes or themes that are then said to affect the integrity of the text as a whole.

Nine years of censorship

The specific judgements made around these texts often relate to the perceived appropriateness of scenes or themes of sexuality, gender, and violence. The kinds of agents who make judgements are commonly those with significant political power, such as a government, or perhaps even a school board. This can mean either the refusal of a press to publish a text, the banning of a text from the country, or the removal of a text from a school syllabus. However, as Cohen points out, attempts are also made by non-governmental agents to censor texts, be it through petitions or individual parents who raise the issue with schools.

Censorship in Canadian Literature

Books are removed from the shelves in Canadian libraries, schools and bookstores every day. Free speech on the Internet is under attack. Few of these stories make headlines, but they affect the right of Canadians to decide for themselves what they choose to read. Each year for Freedom to Read Week, the Freedom of Expression Committee publishes a review of current censorship issues in Canada, featuring provocative news articles, interviews with champions of free speech, and a Get Involved section with activities designed for classroom instruction and discussion.

Just judgment : censorship of and in Canadian literature

This selective list, prepared by the Freedom of Expression Committee of the Book and Periodical Council, provides information on more than books, magazines, graphic novels and other written works that have been challenged in the past decades. Each challenge sought to limit public access to the work in schools, libraries, or bookstores. Some challenges were upheld; others were rejected. Some challenges remain unresolved.

The results of the most recent surveys are posted here.