(For immediate release --- Thursday, November 14, 1996)

Plug Pulled on 'I Hate Lucien Bouchard' web page

-- IGS made a mess of it --

David Jones, president of Electronic Frontier Canada (EFC) says ``IGS made a real mess of things'' when it pulled the plug on the controversial 'I Hate Lucien Bouchard' web page after receiving several complaints.

The web page author, Colin McPhedran of Kanata, Ont., is a customer of IGS (Information Gateway Services), and says he never intended for his web page to cause such a stir -- he was merely expressing his political views.

In press releases issued November 8th and 9th, Frank Kahle, VP of IGS, asserted that Colin had published illegal hate propaganda, cited the RCMP as the authority, and indicated the police had instructed him to remove the web page. Police deny they instructed anyone to do anything.

EFC vice-president, Jeffrey Shallit, cautions that despite its apparent offensiveness, this is precisely the kind of political speech we should be wary of the government trying to limit. ``One purpose of Canada's Charter of Rights is to guarantee robust, open debate on public issues of the day. Lucien Bouchard is a public figure and comments on his actions and performance are part of that debate'', he says.

``Imagine if there was an upcoming referendum vote'', Jones adds. ``Silencing one side of the debate could have disastrous consequences for the country. ... and that damage could not be undone if the web pages were restored a week later, after the vote had been taken.''

``This policy of 'censor first, ask questions later' isn't the right strategy'', Jones continues. ``This notion that ISPs should take responsibility for the content published by their customers -- information over which they have little or no effective control -- is one of the weaknesses of the Code of Conduct recently proposed by the Canadian Association of Internet Service Providers (CAIP), which stresses a complaint-driven process and cooperation with government and police, without any clear statement on the importance of freedom of expression and tolerance for a diversity of viewpoints.'' EFC has written a letter to CAIP offering some constructive criticism of its Code of Conduct.

Ontario Provincial Police were investigated the situation after receiving several complaints, but have since concluded that no crime occurred, and no charges should be laid. IGS, however, has not yet restored the web pages, which in addition to the anti-Bouchard page included: the 'I Hate the Ottawa Rough Riders' page, the 'Canada First' page, the 'Mr. Bean' page, and Colin's 'Hockey Pool' page.

``This was a case of 'throwing the baby out with the bathwater' '', says Jones. ``IGS clearly overreacted.''


EFC Contact Information:

Electronic Frontier Canada

Dr. David Jones, djones@efc.ca
phone: (905) 525-9140 x24689, fax: (905) 546-9995
Dr. Jeffrey Shallit, shallit@efc.ca
phone: (519) 888-4804, fax: (519) 885-1208
Dr. Richard Rosenberg, rosen@efc.ca
phone: (604) 822-4142, fax: (604) 822-5485

Electronic Frontier Canada's, online archives:
URL: http://www.efc.ca

Background Information about EFC:

Electronic Frontier fights censorship on the Internet
Globe & Mail, July 23, 1996 (Derek Winkler)

Addresses for relevant Web pages:

'I Hate Lucien Bouchard' web page:

'I Sorta Really Dislike Lucien Bouchard' web page:

Related Documents:

Statement condemning "I Hate Lucien Bouchard" web page
made in House of Commons, 11am, Friday, November 8, 1996
Mauril Bélanger (Liberal MP for Ottawa-Vanier)

Internet Home Page
press release, 08nov96, by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)
Sgt. M.G. Hopkins

IGS Remove Illegal Webpage
press release, 08nov96, by Information Gateway Services (IGS)
Frank Kahle

Events Leading to Removal of Lucien Bouchard "Hate" Web Page
press release, 09nov96, by Information Gateway Services (IGS)
Frank Kahle

Internet Home Page
press release, 13nov96, by Ontario Provincial Police (OPP)
Sgt. M.G. Hopkins

Critique of CAIP Code of Conduct
letter, 14nov96, from Electronic Frontier Canada to CAIP
David Jones

Related Media Coverage:

Access blocked to 'I Hate Bouchard' Web page
Ottawa Citizen, November 9, 1996. (Marty Logan)

Anti-Bouchard website shut down (transcript)
CBC Newsworld, November 9, 1996. (Sean Upton)

Contact Information:

Colin McPhedran
author of controversial web page
email: colin@igs.net
email: ap508@freenet.carleton.ca

Frank Kahle
vice-president, IGS - Information Gateway Services
email: frank@igs.net
phone: (613) 593-5619
fax: (613) 592-3556

Mauril Bélanger
Member of Parliament for Ottawa-Vanier (Liberal)
email: belanm@parl.gc.ca
phone: (613) 992-4766
phone: (613) 789-6352

Constable J. Picknell
or Sgt. M.G.Hopkins
investigating officers, Ontario Provincial Police
phone: (613) 592-6061
fax: (613) 592-2982