The Vancouver Province
Tuesday, March 31, 1998
page D33

BC Tel 'steps removed' from Oliver 'hate' site

by Holly Horwood

BC Tel is investigating a request to pull the plug on Internet service provider and alleged hate-monger Bernard Klatt of Oliver.

But company officials reject suggestions they are breaking their own ethical standards and a Canadian code of conduct for Internet service providers by providing phone links for Klatt to hundreds of users.

"We provide the Internet pipeline, if you will, but we are not the service provider", said BC Tel spokeswoman Michelle Gagne.

"We do not host the Web site. We're a few steps removed."

BC Tel's corporate lawyer and head of Internet business services received the first formal complaint yesterday against Klatt's company, Fairview Technology Centre Ltd.

"There is no fundamental human right to an Internet service account", argued David Matas, lawyer for the Jewish organization B'nai Brith, which launched the protest.

He noted that BC Tel has its own Web site combating racism but said that effort "will inevitably seem hollow" as long as it allows its services to be used "to incite racist hatred".

Attorney-General Ujjal Dosanjh, who has urged tougher federal hate laws, called on BC Tel yesterday to be a "good corporate citizen" and work with the complainants.

B'nai Brith alleges that Klatt's Fairview Technology Centre is host to far-right extremists Heritage Front and Euro-Christian Defence League, which spew messages of racial hatred.

"Klatt is unique, not just in B.C. but unusual in a global context", said Matas. "He has a collection of hate suppliers and given them access that other Internet service providers do not ... he has his own agenda."

BC Tel asked B'nai Brith to provide more details of the hate messages. But Gagne cautioned the normal line of complaint is to the server - who is Klatt.


Copyright © 1998 by The Vancouver Province. All Rights Reserved. Reprinted with permission.