Fuhr: Our collective responsibilty

Fuhr: Our collective responsibilty

As elected officials we encourage citizen participation and open dialogue to strengthen democratic participation.

But increasingly, individuals are using these opportunities to express anger—against government, against authority and against each other.

This week’s events surrounding the violent message directed at Kelowna Mayor Colin Basran cannot be ignored.

The fact that the RCMP have taken this threat seriously sends an important message to others who think there is no harm in inciting violence against others, however, as frequent an occurrence as it has become.

Indeed, the need to respond effectively grows more important by the day.

Recent events including the Brexit outcome and the U.S. election, as well as more frequent reports of spying and illegal information sharing of personal data has many alarmed that the rules and regulations governing the internet and social media platforms are not robust enough especially as we head into the next election.

Last January, Democratic Institutions Minister Karina Gould, joined by Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale and Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, made multiple announcements regarding potential threats to Canada’s democratic process, including a new “critical election incident public protocol” group that will alert the public if it becomes aware of interference during the campaign period.

While there is no plan to call out the usual political spin on the campaign trail, threats deemed “disruptive” to a free and fair election, such as email hacking or viral videos spreading false information, will be.

The government is also taking measures to address the fact that the internet has increasingly become a tool for terrorism and violent extremism, including coordinated action to prevent social media and other online platforms from being used to incite, publish, and promote terrorism, violence, and hatred.

Last December, our government launched our National Strategy on Countering Radicalization to Violence. On May 15, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau joined the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, and other government and industry leaders to adopt the Christchurch Call to Action—a global pledge to eliminate terrorist and violent extremist content online.

The pledge aims to build more inclusive, resilient communities to counter violent radicalization, enforce laws that stop the production and dissemination of terrorist and extremist content online, and encourage media to apply ethical rules when reporting on terrorist events to avoid amplifying terrorist and violent extremist content.

Closer to home, citizens like Kelowna’s Janice Taylor are taking actions of their own. Janice initiated petition E-2133 calling for legislation that protects the data privacy and online safety of children under 13 years old.

More information can be found on the House of Commons e-petition website at ourcommons.ca.

Finally, while governments, authorities and organizations are actively working to ensure online platforms remain open and are not used to disrupt civil society, we all must demand more of ourselves.

It’s not enough to be appalled by the misinformation or mischaracterization of others that fuel the kind of comments we saw this week.

We each have a responsibility to actively reject and denounce such behaviour and demonstrate through our actions a commitment to uphold decency, fairmindedness and fact.

I encourage all of us to do our part.

Stephen Fuhr is the Liberal MP for Kelowna-Lake Country.

Just Posted

Lightning in Kelowna, B.C. (Contributed)
Severe thunderstorm watch in effect for Okanagan

Conditions are favourable for the development of severe thunderstorms overnight

(Dave Ogilvie/Contributed)
UPDATE: West Kelowna fire crews rescue injured mountain biker

The injury took place at the top of Smith Creek Road

Kelowna flags were flown at half-mast after the discovery of a residential school burial site in Kamloops. (File photo)
Central Okanagan school board chair reflects on recent tragedies

Moyra Baxter offers condolenses to residential school victims, slain Muslim family

The RCMP presence in Central Okanagan public schools is being reviewed by the board of education. (File photo)
RCMP presence welcomed in Central Okanagan public schools

Staff survey feedback overwhelmingly positive from students, staff and parents

Bentley resting on a bench at Kal Park in Vernon not knowing there is a baby rattlesnake curled up below. Bentley jumped down and was bit by the snake. (Facebook)
Dog bit by baby rattler at popular Vernon park

The rattlesnake was hidden underneath a park bench when it struck out

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau participates in a plenary session at the G7 Summit in Carbis Bay, England on Friday June 11, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Canada donating 13M surplus COVID-19 vaccine doses to poor countries

Trudeau says the government will pay for 87 million shots to be distributed to poor countries

Jane Linden
KCR: Volunteering keeps you active

Kelowna Community Resources shares stories of its volunteers in a weekly column

Premier John Horgan speaks as provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry, right, and health minister Adrian Dix look on during a press conference to update on the province’s fall pandemic preparedness plan during a press conference from the press theatre at Legislature in Victoria, Wednesday, Sept. 9, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. officials to provide details on Step 2 of COVID reopening plan Monday

Step 2 could allow for larger gatherings and a resumption of recreational travel

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Longtime SOWINS volunteer Diane Fru (far left) walks with members of her family as they Walk To End Abuse Sunday, June 13, 2021. South Okanagan Women In Needs Society (SOWINS) raised a record amount this year. (Monique Tamminga Western News)
Walk to End Abuse in South Okanagan breaks fundraising record

More than $53,000 raised so far while the pandemic has increased need for SOWINS’ services

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller is seen during a news conference, Wednesday May 19, 2021 in Ottawa. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Indigenous child-welfare battle heads to court despite calls for Ottawa to drop cases

Feds are poised to argue against two Canadian Human Rights Tribunal rulings

Two-year-old Ivy McLeod laughs while playing with Lucky the puppy outside their Chilliwack home on Thursday, June 10, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
VIDEO: B.C. family finds ‘perfect’ puppy with limb difference for 2-year-old Ivy

Ivy has special bond with Lucky the puppy who was also born with limb difference

A million-dollar ticket was sold to an individual in Vernon from the Lotto Max draw Friday, June 11, 2021. (Photo courtesy of BCLC)
Lottery ticket worth $1 million sold in Vernon

One lucky individual holds one of 20 tickets worth $1 million from Friday’s Lotto Max draw

Most Read