Why this site exists

When I was a child, I learned in our public school system what it meant to be a Canadian citizen. It had nothing to do with snow, maple syrup, or back bacon; it had to do with our Charter of Rights and Freedoms . This Charter is the very foundation of our democracy that keeps us free from tyranny and corruption, but this freedom isn’t free; it comes at a price: Each of us must do our part to exercise our rights each and every day, or else we could lose them, and along with them our freedoms. The Charter starts out with our fundamental freedoms, and section two states:

2) Everyone has the following fundamental freedoms:

  • (a) freedom of conscience and religion;
  • (b) freedom of thought, belief, opinion and expression, including freedom of the press and other media of communication;

and that is the primary reason why this site exists, because we only have to look to places in the world like North Korea or Russia to understand how bad things can get if we didn’t have these freedoms to protect. Now that you understand the reason why this site exists, I will now explain my motivation for this web site.

After high school, I got a regular job and started reading the Toronto Sun every day, stupidly believing I was exercising freedom of the press by doing so. Then one day, the Sun published a story that I knew to be misleading. I wrote a letter to the editor to let them know they shouldn’t mislead people into believing in such things, and cited the reasons why. They rewrote my letter to make me look like a fool so they could reply with their typical witty one-liner. I learned then that freedom of the press for the Toronto Sun was only freedom for the rich and powerful conservatives who could afford a press; the rich and powerful who profit from keeping all of us confused and ignorant about things like our charter rights. I knew the only way I could fully exercise part b of section 2 of my charter of rights and freedoms was to own my own press.

I started out with a cheap Epson dot matrix printer and PageSetter for my Amiga. I tried starting up my own underground publication, challenging the status quo and arguing for reason, but distribution and the expense of such distribution was too much for me and it never really got anywhere. It seemed the writers of the charter were ahead of their time when it came to the average Canadian, but once the Internet arrived to the masses, I understood that the world wide web would level the playing field.

My first attempt at Freedom of the Press Remnants of my first personal press

Some people believe that social media sites like Facebook and Twitter represent freedom of the press, but they are wrong; posting to Facebook and Twitter is like sending a lettter to the Toronto Sun. It’s a press that belongs to Facebook or Twitter, who aren’t even Canadian companies. To understand, all you need to do is to violate Facebook’s community standards, and nobody knows how or who gets to decide that. For example, I once posted, “Liar, liar, pants on fire,” followed by “burn him down,” a common slang term in my culture that means to embarass someone, in response to a news article about Alex Jones being found to have lied under oath . Not only did they delete my comment, they suspended my account on the basis that my comment went against their standards on violence and incitement. Twitter is an example of how things can change when it is sold to a different owner . The only way we can truly enjoy freedom of the press, as guaranteed by our charter, is for each of us to own our press. We live in a day and age where you might not even own the operating system or software of the computer you bought; you might just have a license to use it under certain terms of service, which can be revoked at any time for any reason at all. This alone represents a threat to section 2(b) of my charter rights.

My solution is to run only open source software distributed under the Gnu Public License, or other similar licence. For example, the Apache2 web server software that powers most of the Internet and this web site is distributed under their own Apache license , which is a permissive free software license that allows me to use the software for any purpose, to distribute it, to modify it, and to distribute modified versions of the software under the terms of the license, without concerns for royalties.

My current “press” is built on open source software running on an open source operating system and open source server on a Raspberry Pi single board computer in my home, connected to a broadband Internet connection. I chose the Raspberry Pi for this purpose because it consumes very little power (between 3.8 watts and 5.5 watts, similar to that of a night light), costs very little to buy, and takes up very little space. The United Nations determined that broadband Internet is a basic human right . On the development side, I use Hugo running on Manjaro Linux to create the content you see here, using editors like Kate and photo editing software like Darktable and GIMP .

My current Press My current press

You won’t find any advertising here, because my charter right to freedom of the press is not for sale. Everything I post is freely available for non-commercial use, unless otherwise stated; if you would like to use any of my content for commercial use, get in touch with me first to discuss the terms. I encourage others to also exercise their right to freedom of the press, and if you do this already, let me know so that I can post a reciprocal link to your site in a show of solidarity. Politically, I am center-left, and therefore reserve the right to not post reciprocal links to political or religious/non-religious radicals, though I still encourage you to exercise your own right to freedom of the press.