Uh… good luck
The Canadian Minister of Justice and Attorney General, Irwin Cotler, has decided to throw the weight of the Federal government behind the fight against hate on the Web. The well meaning Cotler, former head of the Canadian Jewish Congress and law professor at McGill University, stated that Canada has “the most comprehensive legal regime to combat hate of any comparable democracy…” but he feels Canada can do more, especially with respect to the Internet. Cotler added that “Where in 1995 you had one hate site, today in 2004, 10 years later, we have 5,000 hate sites. You have had an explosion of hate on the Internet.”
Cotler sure is well meaning, but he clearly doesn’t get it. And by “it”, I mean the Internet and the Web.
The Web, as we currently know it, first became popular just 10 years ago – Mosaic, the first Web browser came out in 1993 and Netscape, the first really popular browser, was introduced in 1994. Hate groups had a presence on the Internet prior to all this via news groups, but the real explosion happened shortly after the introduction of Mosaic and Netscape. By 1996 there were already several sites and groups (one prominent site, nethate, was run by thegrandmuffti and myself) dedicated to combating and exposing the rapidly expanding number of Internet hate sites.
One thing we realized back in the day, was that there was no realistic way of completely stopping these sites. And now, witnessed by the proliferation of viruses, spyware and spam it’s clear that we are in no better position to police anything on the Internet, let alone ill-defined sites that promote hatred. Hate sites on the Internet was so like… 8 years ago dude, and with Canada’s leading hate monger in jail awaiting deportation (though his site is still up), I fail to see what the fuss is about. Cotler should get a clue and perhaps work on other stuff.
I remember when Cotler first, somewhat reluctantly, entered politics. He was proud of the fact that his candidacy came as a result of a grass roots movement and that he was not in fact slated to run in his riding by the Liberal Party. In an interview he stated at the time that “My candidacy didn’t come from the Liberal Party, it came from the citizens in my riding. I’m responsible to their aspirations. I intend to carry their voice to Ottawa.” His Montreal riding, Mount Royal, is considered the safest and most Liberal riding in Canada. A duck, if nominated by the Liberal Party, could get elected there. Mount Royal is also predominantly Jewish. Consequently, if Cotler wishes to carry his constituents voice to Ottawa, he ought to work on things like, oh… let’s see, moving the Canadian embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, and stemming the flow of anti-semitism, not on the Internet, but on the street and in the UN. Just a thought a Irwin…