Well, it’s that time of day again, for me to talk about all the people who have been talking about Jennifer Lynch and her wondrous multi-colour commission, with gratuitous mention of the various other commissions and commissioners currently mucking about in the Dominion.
First off, Lorne Gunter fires off a denunciation of the Ontario Human Rights Commission in the National Post: Phony courts, phony racism:
As if more proof were needed of how out-of-control Canada’s human-rights commissions have become, and what a threat they pose to impartial justice, along comes the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal’s ruling last month against Michael Shaw, a white Toronto police officer.
In the spring of 2005, Constable Shaw was patrolling the Bridal Path–a singularly wealthy Toronto neighbourhood composed of large mansions on sprawling multi-acre estates. Ronald Phipps, a black man, was criss-crossing a street in the Bridal Path, delivering letters in substitute for the regular mail carrier, who was away.
Even though Mr. Phipps was wearing a Canada Post uniform and carrying two official mail satchels, the officer thought his behaviour was unusual. For instance, Mr. Phipps returned to a home at which he had already delivered mail, and retrieved it.
So the officer followed Mr. Phipps for a short distance, then asked him for some identification. He ran his name through police computers, thanked him for his cooperation and sent him on his way. He also verified Mr. Phipps’ identity with a regular letter-carrier he knew in the area, a carrier who happened to be white.
From this series of events, Mr. Phipps gleaned that he had been racially profiled. He filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Commission, and, in June, adjudicator Kaye Joachim determined that the fact that Mr. Phipps “was an African-Canadian in an affluent neighbourhood was a factor, a significant factor, and probably the predominant factor, whether consciously or unconsciously, in Const. Shaw’s actions.” He found the officer guilty of discrimination.
Mr. Phipps admits that Const. Shaw never insulted him. He was not detained, not even briefly, nor was he arrested. He was asked for ID, thanked for producing it and permitted to go about his business. He was not tasered or struck with a club. No racial slurs were hurled at him.
He claims that since the incident he has been teased mercilessly by his co-workers. But that is their misbehaviour, not Const. Shaw’s.
He claims that since the incident, he has had trouble sleeping, has lost weight and is having difficulty fulfilling his second job as a personal trainer — all because a police officer asked him to produce some ID four years ago.
Read the rest here. You can also read this article in the Post‘s Full Comment blog, as pointed out by Blazing Cat Fur. For further reading, Margaret Wente had a column in the Globe and Mail on the same topic, as noted by GayAndRight. More on the Ontario Human Rights Commission from Howard Levitt in the Financial Post, as noted by Blazing Cat Fur.
Second, Janet Keeping of the Sheldon Chumir foundation writes, in the Saskatoon StarPhoenix: Personal attacks have no place in ethical debate:
The dispute over whether human rights commissions should have legal authority to punish offensive or hateful speech rages on.
But an important aspect of this and other public debates is too often overlooked: Even if we had complete freedom of expression, it wouldn’t follow that “anything goes.” It’s not ethically OK to be obnoxious.
Our legal right to speak is one thing, but how we exercise that right is quite another. Even if you are legally entitled to be offensive, you are still acting unethically if you deliberately set out to harm people by your words or if you just don’t care about the “collateral damage” your offensiveness causes.
Even in vigorous debate over public policy issues there are rules for verbal combat; there is an ethics of debate.
Rule No. 1: It is nearly always wrong to personally attack those who hold opinions different from yours. When done deliberately, attacking your opponents instead of their views is dishonest because it purports to be about one thing — the public policy in question — but is actually about something else, the destruction of your opponents’ credibility or integrity. It can also be self-defeating. When seen for what it is — basically, character assassination — it can undermine whatever validity there is in your policy position.
Regardless, the strategy is often employed, most notoriously at present, by Ezra Levant, lawyer, writer and blogger on human rights commission issues, in his campaign against Jennifer Lynch, Chief Commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
Fourth, Charlie Butts writes about the Court of Queen’s Bench Saskatchewan ruling in favor of a decision by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal against marriage commissioner Orville Nichols. For OneNewsNow: Clash of worldviews – coming to a wedding near you:
Earlier this month, the Queen’s Bench in Saskatchewan upheld the Human Rights Commission’s ruling that a government marriage commissioner illegally discriminated against a homosexual man by refusing to perform a marriage ceremony for him. That commissioner had cited religious objections to performing same-sex “marriages.”
Mat Staver of Liberty Counsel says the problem is not confined to Canada — and argues that the same thing is coming to the U.S. when homosexual marriage is legalized. As he points out, when Vermont legalized civil unions, clerks who perform marriage ceremonies were forced to choose between their faith and their careers.
Third, more coverage of Mark Steyn’s fundraiser for Ezra Levant’s legal fees ( courtousy of Khurram Awan ) from Closet Conservative, Shooting Star, Five Feet Of Fury, Prydain, Our Changing Landscape, Jay Currie, and Blazing Cat Fur. Finally, a word from Mark Steyn himself:
Thanks again to everyone who stopped by during our Sockquidation Day fundraiser for Canada’s pre-eminent freespeecher and human rights activist Ezra Levant.
In the course of the day, we offered some special prizes to big spenders, and I’m glad to say several customers rose to the bait. A Canadian cabinet minister chipped in just before we took down the shingle at midnight, but didn’t quite make the cut, constrained (one would like to think) by the parsimonious salary offered to Ministers of the Crown. At any rate, he was outspent by the private sector.
First off, the five winners of personally autographed copies of Liberal Fascism, a huge bestseller and a terrific read by Jonah Goldberg, my National Review colleague and lead singer of the Goldberg/Long/Steyn lounge act, the Three Tone-Deaf Tenors (Rob Long and I are a mere half-an-Andrew Ridgley apiece to Jonah’s George Michael). Anyway, enough of that. Here are the Liberal Fascism winners, in alphabetical order:
R J Aston of Essex, England
Chris Doherty of Burlington, Ontario
Daniel McGuire of the other end of the state from me, down in south-eastern New Hampshire
Joseph Shier of Toronto
Peter Vatsures of Dallas
Congratulations to all five. And my thanks to Jonah for his generous donation to the cause.
Another five big spenders win our new super-cool, not yet released SteynOnline mug. It won’t be available for a week or two yet, but we have some early prototypes full of hairline cracks that leak boiling liquid all over your crotch. Just kidding. They’re entirely non-defective. And, together with a SteynOnline note card from me, they’ll be going to:
Trent Boehm of Calgary
Robert Clarkson, also of Alberta
Catherine Smyth of Vancouver
Donald Stefanson of Birmingham, Alabama
Ronald Watts of Los Angeles
Mr Boehm was our biggest spender of the day, ordering up just shy of $900 worth of books in support of Ezra and free speech. Catherine Smyth was our highest-spending gal of the day, ordering up a bunch of books, T-shirts and even one of our swingin’ Saudpads not just for herself but for a family member down in Australia. We thank Trent, Catherine and all our other supporters from five continents very much.
Fourth, Lindy’s song Shakedown garners more coverage, from Marginalized Action Dinosaur, The Shotgun Blog, Gerry Nichols, Free Dominion, Deborah Gyapong, Calgary Libertarian, Dr. Roy’s Thoughts, Jesse Kline, and the Infidel Bloggers Alliance. Here’s a video of the song:
Fifth, Thaddeus M. Backlinski of LifeSiteNews writes about the Fredericton Right to Life Association’s taking Fredericton transit before the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission: New Brunswick Right To Life Group Takes Transit to HRC Over Refusal of Bus Ads:
FREDERICTON, July 30, 2009 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The Fredericton Right to Life Association has filed a complaint with the New Brunswick Human Rights Commission against Fredericton Transit for its refusal to allow pro-life ads on its buses.
In the fall of 2008, the transit authority refused to sell advertising space to the pro-life group because it deemed the advertising to be political commentary.
The ads, which ran in over 50 communities, were part of a nationwide pro-life campaign, coordinated by Life Canada. The ads depict a pregnant woman in profile. At the top are the words, “Nine months: the length of time abortion is allowed in Canada. No medical reason needed.” At the bottom is the question, “Abortion, have we gone too far?”
The wording was subsequently changed to satisfy an Advertising Standards Canada (ASC) decision that ruled the ads “deceptive,” because the ads did not mention “access issues.” The revised version read: “The Human heart begins to beat 21 days after conception. Currently in Canada that heartbeat can be stopped up until birth. No medical reason needed. Abortion. Have we gone too far?”
Fredericton Right to Life spokesman Thaddee Renault said a recent 8-0 Canadian Supreme Court ruling against transit officials in British Columbia who had refused political ads on Vancouver buses, gives weight to his claim of discrimination. The ruling should also be applied equally to Fredericton Transit, he said.
“I would like to see them change their position on political advertising and not just to allow the politicians to be able to put out political beliefs,” Renault told the Daily Gleaner.Read
Sixth, Capital C talks about Ezra Levant’s book on Human Rights Commissions: On Shake Down by Ezra Levant:
Doing this on our behalf, in the name of Canadians, is the first reason to be outraged by the facts on which Ezra Levant sheds light in his book. The hijacking of the HRCs by social vandals is to be frowned upon, but their limits on our dearly held rights and freedoms (speech, property, religion), in the name of human rights no less, and to the benefit of profiting and manipulative individuals who have no fear of breaking laws themselves to reach their goals and line their pockets, is shocking to the highest degree. Creating work for themselves by spreading hate speech or having insiders file the majority of their complaints (while sitting as expert witnesses on these same cases) testifies to the corruption level of these organizations.
The “enforcers” of these creative and oppressive new “human rights” (i.e. the right not to be offended, the right to be socially validated, or the right to speak critically of Christianity but not Islam) are a frightening bread, whose flagrant lack of ethic evokes powerful feelings of fear. Their hyperextensive reach should indeed scare you… I am scared myself as I write these words. However, I stand united with the likes of Levant, Steyn, Maclean’s, the Red Deer Advocate and the league of bloggers who have or are currently facing the bureaucratic torture these kangaroo courts inflict.