There has recently been a lot of rhetoric about hate speech and the need to control it by putting various safeguards and censorship in place.
Even in this initiative there appears to be a double standard. Hate speech, it seems, is OK depending on who it is directed at.
Any type of hate speech is hateful if it is directed at you, whether you identify as LGBTQ, a Muslim, a Christian, a visible minority, a senior, have conservative views politically or are a socialist.
The problem is that society seems to have a select group who determines what is “acceptable” hate speech and what is not.
That is a dangerous path to tread whether they are on the right or left of the political spectrum.
In an opinion piece by Peter Bowal, a professor of law at the University of Calgary, he said the New Democratic Party government “escalated the vilification of those who disagreed” with its social views and agenda.
“There are many Albertans who disagreed with the NDP’s vision and were not respected for having a different view, even though they were not spreading a message of hate. Does this group deserve to be called “extremists and bigots?” Bowal asked.
The Organization for the Prevention of Violence recently produced a report, after receiving a $1.2-million grant from the federal government, as part of a plan to counter hate and violent extremism in Alberta.
The report called for increased awareness, training and resources to address “extremist views” in this province. People interviewed for the study reported feeling that hate crimes were not taken seriously enough by law enforcement.
The refugee parents of a Calgary nine-year-old girl who took her own life after apparently being bullied at school have said they do not feel enough was done for their child.
Several hundred people died in Sri Lanka on Easter Sunday, many of them Christians who were specifically targeted.
We live in a democracy and as such should all have the right to our own personal beliefs, without being vilified for them.
We also have a responsibility to treat with respect, dignity and courtesy those we do not agree with.
There has been an escalation of hate-filled words with the rise of social media.
The anonymity of social media has emboldened many to say awful things to people that they would never have the courage to say face to face.
That is an issue our society has to address and it perhaps speaks of generations who were raised and educated in an environment where they never learned to respect others.
The election campaign was particularly vicious with numerous personal attacks perpetrated, to a large extent by the NDP.
In a democracy such as ours it is the people who get to choose the government and they don’t deserve to be vilified for their choice.
In 2015, 40 per cent of voters in the province elected an NDP government and it could be said did so because they were not satisfied with the protracted reign of the Conservative government.
The NDP had four years to govern and it made significant changes in the province. Almost 70 per cent of voters then decided, earlier this month, they wanted a United Conservative Party government.
This group of voters do not deserve to vilified for making this choice either.