The rise in extreme views and hate in our communities is alarming. And there is reason for alarm. The New Democratic Party is putting forward several initiatives to stop this worrying trend in Canada. Our MP, Peter Julian, (NDP New Westminster-Burnaby), is at the forefront of empowering legislation to stop this. The tactics of the extreme right have been around for a long time, as he explains in this interview with host, Susan Millar – particularly the effort to scapegoat groups of people, which is become rampant in our society.
In effort to dull some of these efforts, Peter Julian has made several moves in Parliament. He has put forward Bill 219 in the Canadian Parliament to ban symbols of hate. We saw plenty of them at the so-called Freedom Convoy to Ottawa earlier this year, including Confederate flags – now a symbol of hate even in Canada; upside down Canadian flags; swastikas; nasty posters and so on.
Peter Julian has also put forward Bill 292 to deter the social media giants from leading people to hateful propaganda via their algorithms. People looking up certain topics such as whether Covid vaccines are safe are soon led down a path to extreme and hateful propaganda by white extremists and others. The web companies do this, because it creates more engagement online and thus more and more profits. The web giants are not concerned about the huge damage that they are inflicting on our societies, as has been revealed by whistle blowers and research groups. This reality is not based solely on anecdotal information – although there is plenty of that, but on comprehensive studies. There have been studies down in the US and the UK and likely elsewhere.
Transparency is the ticket to change, says Peter Julian. If it is clear how these algorithms work then the social media giants become open to liability and public opprobrium. He gives an American example where advertisers have been caught out in some devious practices which has not helped their public image. Transparency, Julian says, can certainly slow down bad and destructive business practices when the general population knows what's going on.
He has also put forward a motion called M14 – it's another step to have the government work at deterring racism in this country, which has been on the rise. Julian points particularly to the deliberate killing of 4 family members of the Muslim faith in London, Ontario and the killing of a number of people at a Quebec City Mosque.
Thank you Peter for giving such a clear and comprehensive understanding about how we, Canadians, are being threatened by the manufacture and distribution of extremist, largely white supremacist views. In fact, our democracy and very way of life is under threat, as he makes clear.