Most Canadians are fed up with online hatred and discrimination and want to see Parliament act, new survey says

Of note. As always, questions remain in terms of how Parliament should act, and what actions would be most effective:

Canadians seem to be on the same page when it comes to fighting discrimination issues and they want to see Parliament take action, according to a national survey released Tuesday.

The survey, conducted by Nanos Research for the Canadian Race Relations Foundation (CRRF), gauged how Canadians feel about online hatred, employment equity, reconciliation with Indigenous peoples and RCMP reform. The majority of Canadians surveyed showed support for action on all four priorities, and they also weighed in on seeing more diversity in arts and culture, and the impacts of climate change on racialized communities.

Among the strongest response was regarding fighting online hate, which doesn’t surprise Mohammed Hashim, executive director of the CRRF, a Crown corporation.

“They see it challenging their sense of identity, and increasing polarity in very negative ways. There’s real impact and harm that has been created,” he told the Star.

Nearly four in five Canadians support the government creating legislation to combat serious types of harmful online content, according to the survey. About three in four support strengthening the Canada Human Rights Act and the Criminal Code to more effectively combat online hate and close to the same number want to see social media platforms legally responsible for auditing extremist and hateful posts before they’re viewed widely.

And about 70 per cent showed concern with the rise of right-wing extremism and terrorism as well as growing polarization.

In its most recent Forum on Minority Issues at the end of last year, the UN noted minorities are more vulnerable to online hate speech, particularly minority women. They make up three-quarters of victims in many countries.

The responses also showed that two-thirds of Canadians want to see the calls to action by the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada implemented soon on behalf of Indigenous peoples, and an overwhelming majority want safe drinking water for all Indigenous communities.

The survey also suggested that Canadians want to see employment equity addressed by the federal government, but there was less consistent a response regarding the actions behind it, like management being held accountable for equity goals or increasing funding for Employment Equity Act initiatives.

When it comes to RCMP oversight, 58 per cent support the creation of an independent civilian body, and about 53 per cent support the collection of race-based data regarding health, employment, and policing; the same share, 53 per cent, want the Mounties barred from using excessive force in crowd control.

The statements the survey sought responses about came from a combination of community groups, past surveys the CRRF has done and political party platforms.

Hashim said these action items aren’t at all far-fetched. There is movement in Parliament on some of these issues, he said: “Everything is within the realm of possibility.”

Nanos conducted an online representative survey of 2,018 Canadians, age 18 and older between Nov. 3 to 8, and weighed by age, gender and geography to be representative of the country. Nanos says no margin of error applies to this research.

Source: Most Canadians are fed up with online hatred and discrimination and want to see Parliament act, new survey says

About Andrew
Andrew blogs and tweets public policy issues, particularly the relationship between the political and bureaucratic levels, citizenship and multiculturalism. His latest book, Policy Arrogance or Innocent Bias, recounts his experience as a senior public servant in this area.

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