The Ottawa Citizen
November 9, 1996
page C3

Access blocked to 'I Hate Bouchard' Web page

by Marty Logan

KANATA (CP) -- A Kanata Internet provider blocked access to a customer's World Wide Web pages Friday after numerous users complained about one page called "I Hate Lucien Bouchard."

The page, created by a user known as Colin, compared Bouchard to Hitler and talked about the death of the Quebec premier.

It was seen by about 500 Web browsers including members of the media, said Kanata OPP Const. Jacques Picknell.

Police don't know who posted the page through the provider, Information Gateway Services, and are still trying to decide if a crime was committed.

"The first thing we want to do is decide if this fits the definition of a hate crime," Picknell said.

The Criminal Code describes a hate crime as a statement targeted at a group. Picknell said the Web page did not identify a group.

IGS vice-president Frank Kahle stressed the company was not censoring the user. "Once we got indications that it was breaking Canadian law, that's when we pulled the page.

"We'd never try to block anybody's freedom of speech."

But Picknell said the company blocked access on the advice of its lawyer, hours before calling police. "They took the initiative and blocked it before they even consulted us."

Kahle said the customer will retain his account until the police investigation is finished.

Picknell said the contents of the page do not fit the Criminal Code definition of a threat. Police will also investigate if it could threaten national security.

A number of users complained about the page -- created earlier this week -- via electronic mail Friday morning.

Kahle said IGS has about 15,000 customers in Ontario and publishes 400 to 500 personal Web pages.

Copyright © 1996 by Canadian Press. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission