Liberals don’t want to regulate speech with online harms bill, justice minister says

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Published December 18, 2023 at 7:20 pm

OTTAWA — Federal Justice Minister Arif Virani says he hopes to avoid accusations the Liberal government is trying to regulate or curb speech with its planned bill to protect citizens from online harms.

There is mounting pressure on the government to introduce the long-promised legislation following a sharp rise in antisemitism online since the latest Israel-Hamas war began in October.

In 2022 the government sent its initial plans for the bill back to the drawing board following criticism and Virani tells The Canadian Press he hopes to bring the final bill forward next year.

Today in a post on X, formerly known as Twitter, Virani says online hate can turn into real-life danger and condemned the “recent wave of hate against the Jewish community.”

Over the weekend, the RCMP announced it had arrested and charged a teen in Ottawa with terrorism-related offences that allegedly targeted Jewish people and warn of a troubling trend in violent extremism among Canadian youth.

More than two years ago Prime Minister Justin Trudeau promised to target terrorist content, hate speech and child sex abuse images online with a bill he said he would table within 100 days of the 2021 election.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 18, 2023.

The Canadian Press

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