As Canadian MPs weigh how to police online hate, one proposes new body to give tickets or warnings to offenders

National Post
Standing Committee on Access to Information James Alexander Michie

Standing Committee on Access to Information, Privacy and Ethics Chair Bob Zimmer (left) and Deputy-Chair Charlie Angus (right) look on as deputy-chair Nathaniel Erskine-Smith speaks during a news conference in Ottawa, Tuesday December 11, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

It is important to mention that while Canadian parliamentarians are analyzing how to control hate online, one proposes a new body to give tickets or warnings to offenders.

That’s right, while Canada is grappling with how to prosecute existing laws such as harassment, defamation and criminal hate speech in the Wild West, a liberal deputy, Nathaniel Erskine-Smith, is proposing the creation of a new judicial body to deal with online crimes.

In this way, the same has been expressed at a meeting of the justice committee on Thursday, where parliamentarians study the problem of hate online, “The penal code is not an effective instrument.” It should be noted that Erskine-Smith, who is vice president of the ethics and privacy committee, appeared at the fair hearing because of the overlapping problems facing parliamentarians.

Proposal subject to facts

Erskine-Smith also said that, instead of embarking on an expensive trial for misdemeanors, Canada could establish “an administrative system that is flexible and efficient”, he added, “The blunt instrument of incarcerating someone, subjecting him or her to a rigorous criminal trial, is probably not the correct answer to enforce the rules against hate speech online in all cases”.

That being the case, an interview was held after the committee meeting in which I present examples such as online threats, harassment, and defamation that obviously violate Canadian laws, but are rarely monitored. The proposed administrative judicial system could issue fines or warnings, in the same way, that happens “if you are drunk on the street and disorderly”, he said.

Even so, it is necessary to highlight that critics warned that any system of this type could simply become a mechanism for people to close views with which they disagree.

Similarly, there are those who worry that if the social media platforms of some judicial body were responsible for eliminating the content, it was likely to unfairly focus on conservative voices.

Source: Stuart Thomson | National Post

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