Please find below a letter (in both English and French) from the Coalition to Combat Online hate to The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., M.P. Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada and to The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, P.C., M.P. Minister of Canadian Heritage on the issue of online hate.
November 15, 2021
The Honourable David Lametti, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Justice and Attorney General of Canada
House of Commons
The Honourable Pablo Rodriguez, P.C., M.P.
Minister of Canadian Heritage and Quebec Lieutenant
House of Commons
We are the Coalition to Combat Online hate. Established in spring 2020, we are a diverse array of communities and organizations who have experienced online vitriol first-hand. We have come together with a purpose: to protect diverse communities – and all Canadians – from online hate.
We are aware that the Government has committed to introduce legislation that would regulate online hate, and we write to you now to urge swift passage of this important legislation.
Now is the time to act.
Every day, Canadians are exposed to a barrage of hateful content. According to a recent Canadian Race Relations survey, 42 percent of Canadians have seen or experienced comments that incite violence online. More troubling, youth (aged 18 to 29) and racialized Canadians are almost three times more likely than others to have experienced online hate. Online hate can lead to real-world violence as were the cases recently in Christchurch, New Zealand, and in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
We cannot afford to wait any longer.
Recent whistleblower testimony in the United States has demonstrated that the social media industry cannot be trusted to regulate itself. Social network providers understand how to make their platforms safer but will not enact necessary change without government regulation. Their record shows a consistent pattern of placing profits before the wellbeing of their users. It is up to Government to ensure that online spaces do not incite hatred.
There is a path forward. Protecting Canadians from online hate and upholding the right to free speech is not zero-sum issue. Carefully crafted legislation can do both.
We welcome the Government’s commitment to combat online hate and look forward to working with you to ensure that the forthcoming legislation becomes the new international standard to tackle online hate.
ACAO (African Canadian Association of Ottawa)
Ahmadiyya Muslim Jama`at Canada
Anglican Church of Canada
Armenian National Committee Of Canada
Bahá’í Community of Canada
British Columbia Assembly of First Nations
Canadian Rabbinic Caucus
Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA)
Cordoba Centre for Civic Engagement and Leadership
Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada
Federation of Black Canadians
Ghanaian-Canadian Associations of Ontario (GCAO)
Jewish Heritage Centre of Western Canada
Metropolitan Community Church of Toronto
South Asian Bar Association of Toronto
Ukrainian Canadian Congress
World Sikh Organization