Megalomedia - Wake up to your news

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Parting is such sweet sorrow

Well, we all knew this time would come. It's time for this little blog to spread its wings and fly. But fear not, this is more beginning than end. Megalomedia has moved to its new home. And the Canadian Society for a Responsible Press is born. The site is still under development but keep checking back in the coming weeks as more content is rolled out. And of course, the Megalomedializing rage will continue at the shiny new address. So update your bookmarks, Megalomedia has moved on. Thanks Blogger, it's been a slice. I'll never forget my roots.

You know what I like? Context.

By now I'm sure you've heard about the ethics commissioner wanting to investigate Prime Minister Harper (still getting used to that) and Harper's reluctance to participate. If you haven't, catch yourself up here. The matter is being debated a fair bit in the mainstream papers. For an example, check out this editorial in the Globe, which ran across from this opinion piece. What hasn't been discussed, at least not as far as I've seen, is what Harper said about the Office of the Ethics Commissioner during the election campaign. According to the highly-touted Federal Accountability Act, Prime Minsiter Steve wants to strengthen the Office, not weaken it. Allow me to quote, at length, from the section entitled "Strengthen the Role of the Ethics Commissioner:"

In 1993, Paul Martin and the Liberals promised the appointment of an independent Ethics Commissioner. For over ten years, Paul Martin and the Liberals failed to fulfill that promise, and Martin voted against his own Red Book words in the House of Commons. Finally, under the pressure of the Sponsorship Scandal, the Liberals partially fulfilled their promise. But many problems remain with the role of the Ethics Commissioner, including the special exemptions Paul Martin created for his own business dealings. The plan Stephen Harper will:
  • Give the Ethics Commissioner the power to fine violators.
  • Prevent the Prime Minister from overruling the Ethics Commissioner on whether the Prime Minister, a minister, or an official is in violation of the Conflict of Interest Code.
  • Enshrine the Conflict of Interest Code into law.
  • Close the loopholes that allow ministers to vote on matters connected with their business interests.
  • End “venetian blind” trusts that allow ministers to remain informed about their business interests, and require all ministerial assets to be placed in truly blind trusts.
  • Allow members of the public – not just politicians – to make complaints to the Ethics Commissioner.
  • Make part-time or non-remunerated ministerial advisers subject to the Ethics Code.
Now, there are legitimate reasons to question Bernard Shapiro himself, but the fact remains that his appointment was ratified by Parliament as a whole - a chief request of the then-opposition Tories. I'm in no way suggesting the media is giving Harper a free ride on this one, I just think people might be interested in knowing what Harper has said about the role of the Ethics Commissioner. After all, the accountability act is his biggest priority.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

If it's libellous to paste the Olsen twins' heads on porn star bodies, we're all in trouble

An interesting story popped up on CBC Ottawa's website today.

A landlord is threatening to evict a Kingston woman from her apartment for criticizing him on her blog, raising questions about how libel laws apply to the internet. ... Dawe argues the landlord has no right to evict her since there's no existing law preventing her from posting negative comments online. ... Art Cockfield, a law professor at Queen's University, cautions that while libel laws don't specifically mention blogs, people must be careful about what they post. "There's some legal uncertainty about whether [Ontario's] Libel and Slander Act applies to internet defamation," said Cockfield. "But having said that, the common libel law would apply and you've got to be careful."
While I don't think eviction is the right course of action I'm glad to see that we might finally get a test of Canada's libel laws vis-a-vis the Internet. A whole slew of people and media outlets libelled the shit out of Wayne and Janet Gretzky not too long ago, and while I can't imagine the Great One taking the time and energy to sue someone over it, having a precedent I can turn to when I'm bitching about it online would be stellar. The whole article is here. Update - I just re-read the article while checking the link in this post and it's also a great example of how to write a libel-related article without repeating the libel. They resist the temptation to quote the blog or the site and they don't link to it or give the URL. Nicely done, anonymous CBC News scribe.