Well, the time has come again for me to talk about all the people who have been talking about Jennifer Lynch and her wondrous multi-coloured commission. Of course, there are some mentions of various other HRC-related bits of news thrown in for good measure; our dear Barbara Hall seems to show up to take one on the chin nearly as often as Miss Lynch does, really.
First off, Ezra Levant sings Russ Hiebert’s praises, for the piece that Russ sent in to the National Post ( which we here at The Lynch Mob have talked about before ). Here’s some of what Ezra had to say:
Besides revealing that she’s keeping an enemies list (and Hiebert is surely on it), she said:
She criticized Conservative MP Russ Hiebert for relying on “one source that is full of misinformation,” in his study of the CHRC in a parliamentary subcommittee.
Now, you’d think that if Hiebert’s arguments were so weak, Lynch would have attended the Parliamentary committee and exposed Hiebert as a dupe. But it’s just her same, lame excuse for refusing to debate — she engages in ad hominem attacks on her opponents. It’s one thing when she does so to private citizens like me — I’m just a blogger.
But, seriously: to call Member of Parliament fools and dupes, simply because they disagree with her abusive tactics?
And, far more important than her insults, note what she does not say: she does not list a single inaccuracy in Hiebert’s comments. It’s the same with her criticism of my book: she has yet to name a single false fact — not even a typo. You’d think she’d rush to expose me, if I had a single error.
Second, Jennifer herself has taken to responding to Russ’s article, with an article of her own sent in to the National Post, which can be read in the Post‘s Full Comment section here, but which I’ll post here for your edification anyway:
MP Russ Hiebert urges readers to determine who is misinformed about the issues he raises about the work of the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC). I agree, and welcome the opportunity to clarify these issues.
In his testimony before the subcommittee on international human rights of the standing committee on foreign affairs and international development, of which Mr. Hiebert is a member, deputy chief commissioner David Langtry explained the difference between the CHRC, which screens complaints and the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that holds hearings on cases. Different procedures and rules apply at different stages of the process. Administrative bodies, such as the commission and the tribunal, are key components of the administration of justice in Canada. Administrative law tribunals are governed by clearly established legal precedents, are bound by the rules of procedural fairness, and are subject to judicial review. As Mr. Alan Borovoy stated before the same committee, “real justice is dispensed by many different tribunals in our society.”
Mr. Hiebert says there is uncontradicted expert evidence that a commission employee illegitimately used the Internet connection of a third party. Two independent investigations, one by the RCMP expert unit responsible for computer crimes, and one by the Privacy Commissioner of Canada, found no evidence to support this allegation. Nor did commission investigators post hateful messages on the Internet.
As to the statement that the commission asked the tribunal to exclude the media from a hearing, these are the facts: after hearing arguments about the need to protect the privacy and safety of commission witnesses, the tribunal ordered, pursuant to its statutory powers, that two days of hearings be closed to the public and media. The respondent was present. A transcript was made. There was no restriction on the parties talking to the media about what transpired. While people may disagree on whether these limited restrictions were needed, the tribunal member, who heard arguments from the parties, deemed that they were.
Finally, Mr. Hiebert refers to a seven-year-old government review to ground his conclusion that the commission is wanting in the area of ethics. That same study noted that “the commission has very strong values and ethics which permeate the organization. There is much transparency with respect to values, ethics and acceptable behaviour at the executive level and across the Commission.” The commission fully subscribes to the 1Values and Ethics Code for the Public Service of Canada.
I am proud of the work of the commission, and of the contribution we make every day to the promotion and protection of equality in Canada. We encourage informed and healthy debate about how our programs, practices and policies need to change to reflect the evolution of human rights in Canada and internationally. However, it is important that this debate is based on a clear understanding of the facts.
I do so love when Jennifer talks about, you know, facts, when she’s, you know, lying. The people in the Full Comment’s comment section don’t seem particularly impressed either, as Jay Currie and Blazing Cat Fur note. More from Dawg’s Blawg and Cruel But Fair.
Third, in Ontario Human Rights Commission news, chief commissar Barbara Hall involves herself in the Catholic Church’s affairs as yet one more frivolous complaint rears its ugly head:
Peterborough Bishop Nicola De Angelis and 12 parishioners at St. Michael’s parish in Cobourg, Ont., face an Ontario Human Rights Commission complaint that could cost the parishioners $20,000 each and the diocese of Peterborough $25,000 plus legal fees.
Jim Corcoran brought the complaint after he was asked to give up his position as an altar server at Sunday Masses. Corcoran was dismissed from all duties on the altar after 12 parishioners wrote a letter to De Angelis questioning the presence of a gay man serving at the altar of St. Michael’s.
“There are laws in Ontario,” Corcoran told The Catholic Register. “Those laws say that it is unlawful to discriminate against people for a number of reasons, one of which is sexual orientation.”
“There’s no evidence at all to suggest that we were trying to be discriminatory or that we have some sort of distaste for people of same-sex orientation, or any of this,” said Gerry Lawless, one of the 12 who complained to De Angelis about Corcoran’s presence on the altar.
De Angelis has forwarded a copy of the complaint and the parishioners’ letter to his lawyer.
De Angelis and the 12 parishioners have until July 28 to respond to Corcoran’s complaint. Both sides have opted for mediation. Sixty-five to 70 per cent of Ontario Human Rights Commission complaints are resolved through mediation, avoiding the tribunal process. Only if mediation is unsuccessful will the complaint go on to a tribunal hearing.
Corcoran claims the 12 parishioners have misinterpreted entries on his blog (http://steannes.blogspot.com/) to draw false conclusions about him.
“I’m a chaste homosexual and practise my faith,” he said.
While Corcoran does live with another gay man, they are devout Catholics who refrain from sexual activity in accordance with church teaching, he said.
“Unless I’m actively flaunting my sexual preference in the Catholic Church to recruit other homosexuals or to promote homosexuality — I can see how people might take offence to that and how that might fly in the face of what the Pope is trying to do in terms of the priesthood — but just serving on the altar as a man?” said Corcoran.
By complaining to De Angelis about Corcoran the 12 parishioners had intended to express their unhappiness with St. Michael’s pastor Fr. Allan Hood, said Reg Ward, one of the authors of the letter to De Angelis. They blamed Hood for inviting Corcoran and his roommate to become altar servers.
“It was just one more way of Fr. Hood saying he’s boss and to hell with everybody else, like what the church is saying and everybody else,” said Ward.
Hood refused to speak with The Catholic Register on the record, citing diocesan policy against priests speaking to the media.
Fourth, Stephen Taylor in the National Post’s Full Comment section asks: what is it about Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant that worries the CRTC?
What changes were made?
I’ve run a software-based PDF comparison tool on both documents and I’ve found that the documents are almost identical except for the following omission from the final version:
“The history of the regulation of speech in this country does not engender confidence that such powers will be used wisely. Canada has experienced several instances in recent times where regulatory commissions of another type and armed with a different mission have challenged the right to say controversial things. The struggles of Ezra Levant,14 Mark Steyn15 and others have served as important warnings that regulatory authorities charged with combating racism, hatred, and other evils have consistently expanded their mandates, have abused their powers and eroded fundamental liberties. Wherever there is official orthodoxy, disagreement is heresy, and where there is heresy, there is usually an inquisition to root it out. After centuries ridding ourselves of thought control agencies, 20th century Canada re-invented them.”
Now that’s interesting. Why did the CRTC feel that it was necessary to omit references to Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn’s battles with “regulatory authorities”?