Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Yellowknife, Canadian Northwest Territories, Wants Prior Approval Of Bloggers

Written from Yellowknife, Canadian Northwest Territories--

I've used more than a dozen libraries in my trip to Alaska and Canada to write excerpts of this blog, free and without restrictions other than time. But the Yellowknife public library blocked me from writing one this morning. Two librarians told me it was public policy in this town to approve the content of all blogs first. Review would take 24 hours, I was told.

In fact, the computers in the library here won't allow searches of blogsites. In other words, users can't look at someone else's blog.

This is another sign that Canada is not the country it once was. It has grown scared of the expression of free opinions in some respects, and it is highly politically correct. I would predict Yellowknife Library's foul example would spread.

I arrived here in the capital of the Canadian Northwest Territories four days ago on what will be an eight-day visit. So far, I've found Yellowknife to be quite cosmopolitan. However, the influx of many Asians in recent years, including quite a few Hong Kong Chinese, has inspired some outspoken prejudice against them, as well as expressions of welcome.

I've been running into quite a few Canadians on the trip with anti-American views centered on the Bush Administration. Of course, that is their right. But I wonder if Canada is not operating to some extent on a notion that if it doesn't back the U.S., it won't run afoul of the War on Terror.

To be fair, Canada is helping out, along with other NATO countries, in Afghanistan. In fact, there have been attacks against Canadian forces. Two female members of these forces were wounded in a roadside explosion this week.

But in other respects, Canada has been putting distance between itself and the U.S.

If terrorism did strike in Canada, it probably would be quick in asking for U.S. help, as the Dutch and Belgians did of Britain and France when Hitler invaded those "neutral" countries in 1940.

There have already been two instances of probable Sikh terrorism directed against Air India flights out of Canada, including the loss of 329 persons aboard a bombed Air India jet off Ireland a few years ago. This, however, did not emanate from al Queda.

When I see libraries start telling bloggers they can't use their facilities without an advance look of what they have to say, this strikes me as an important impediment against freedom of speech.

It is consistent in a way with the strike against freedom of the press in the U.S. with the unconstitutional imprisonment of New York Times reporter Judith Miller. I see numerous foreign journalists and intellectuals have petitioned against that just today. Why aren't American journalists more outspoken in her behalf? And why isn't there much more of a campaign against federal judge Thomas Hogan, the sympathizer with tyranny that put Miller in jail?

The spread of suicide bombers, other terrorism, religious fanaticism, is scaring people like the Fascists did in the 1930s. The struggle against them must indeed be unrelenting.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Your comments on libraries are intriguing, particularly since Congress and the Bush Administration have placed major restrictions on freedom of speech by requiring libraries to spy on and report on the borrowing habits of American patrons. The U.S. government, like the Canadian government, appears bent on depriving citizens of their rights to privacy and to freedom of speech. But of course, you love Bush so much that you'd never criticize HIS repressive policies.

8/23/2005 8:32 PM  
Anonymous mark t. said...

anonymous, you obviously don't read ken much. your ignorance oozes from many levels.

8/24/2005 7:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nobody's stopping you from saying what you want on your blog. The library just doesn't want you to do it on their equipment.

Seems like a big distinction to me.

Chances are, if I came to your house, there are things you wouldn't want me to do there -- at least not without prior approval.

8/26/2005 8:54 PM  

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