Langley City anti-bigotry activist Cran Campbell says people who post hateful comments online are becoming more persistent, with racist remarks left up longer and reappearing almost as soon as they are taken down.
“The postings never get deleted and some are, at times, repeatedly being reposted over and over again,” Campbell commented.
Public forums, such as those on Craigslist sites, are often poorly policed by their owners, said Campbell, who has noticed older posts denigrating different ethnicities, some dating back many months, have resurfaced.
“All people, and I do mean all people on a continuous basis are being confronted and degraded openly because these websites practice no or very little ownership of what is being posted on their site,” Campbell fumed.
Campbell has been campaigning for stronger anti-hate laws for years, lobbying for restoration of section 13(1) of the Canada Human Rights Act, which allowed the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal to go after online hate propagandists, fining them as much as $10,000.
The law was repealed by the then-Conservative government in 2013 following a ruling of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that the section violated freedom of speech.
The Federal Court of Appeal later declared the section was constitutionally valid and did not violate freedom of expression, but by then, it had been repealed.
A survey of Canadians for the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination on Sunday, March 21, found that seven out of 10 respondents were worried about the degree of racism in the country.
🛑Hate has no place in our society, offline or online.
— YWCA Canada (@YWCA_Canada) March 21, 2021
One in two survey participants who identified as visible minorities reported they have felt attacked by hateful comments on social media, and nearly six in 10 said they have witnessed hatred online.
The survey also suggested that one in three Canadians admit to holding a negative view of Muslims, one in five have a negative view of Indigenous people and one in seven state a negative view of Chinese people, Jews or immigrants.
Campbell said managers of websites who allow racist postings must be held accountable, saying “Canada has to stand strong in dealing with hate and racism.”
What is required, Campbell believes, is a “unified effort of every province, regardless of political party that is governing, to step up to the plate with hate crime units and enforcement and prosecution. There has to be the will to do the investigation.”
Langley Advance Times has reached out to Craigslist for comment.
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