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Canada might start fining people up to $50,000 for online hate speech

The law would only target “the most egregious and clear forms of hate speech” on the internet.

social media being looked at by ftc
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A new law proposed by the Canadian government aims to crack down on online hate speech in the country. This new law would fine individuals who were found guilty of online hate speech that “expresses detestation or vilification of a person or group on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.”

According to a new report from CBC, the proposed law would carry a fine of up to $20,000 Canadian (around $16,000 in the US) for the first offense. Repeat offenders would be subject to a fine of up to $50,000 Canadian (about $40,000 in the US), making this law particularly aggressive towards people’s wallets.

To be clear, this law proposal is aimed at a very specific aspect of online hate speech. This law would exclude things like foul language and expressions of dislike or disdain. Instead, this law is focused on more extreme forms of hate speech, such as pure discrimination.

Also important to note is the fact that this law doesn’t propose any action towards platforms that hate speech is posted to. Instead, this Canadian legislation would focus on the individual involved in hate speech, while other, unnamed, legislation is set to be proposed for handling hate speech on platforms like Facebook and Twitter.

“These changes are designed to target the most egregious and clear forms of hate speech that can lead to discrimination and violence. They do not target simple expressions of dislike or disdain that pepper everyday discourse, especially online,” says Attorney General of Canada David Lametti.

Of course, Conservatives are not fans of the Liberal government’s new proposal. Rob Moore, the Conservative’s shadow minister for justice and the attorney general, said this about the bill, “This bill will not target hate speech — just ensure bureaucrats in Ottawa are bogged down with frivolous complaints about tweets.”

This bill was introduced hours after the Canadian House of Commons recessed for the summer, and there’s no way to know what will happen with the bill at this time. There is speculation that an election will be called before the House reconvenes, so it is possible that the bill gets lost in the mix. For now, Canadians will just have to wait and see.

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