Ok – so I’ve slept, I’ve eaten, I’ve showered, I’ve read a good portion of Philip K. Dick’s Confessions Of A Crap Artist ( really good book, by the way ), and I think I’m ready to tackle the Lynch List again. So, here goes: a round-up of all those people who are talking about Jennifer Lynch and her wonderful multi-coloured commission, with gratuitous mentions of various others of the commissioners and commissions currently mucking about the in the Dominion.
First off, Ezra Levant does that rabble-rousing thing that he does, with an article in the National Post: Neo-Nazi hate, courtesy of the CHRC:
Last month, a parliamentary committee invited Jennifer Lynch, the head of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, to answer questions about her agency’s conduct. She refused to attend, sending in her place a deputy who could not answer key questions put to him by MP Russ Hiebert.
Now that Parliament is safely on summer holidays, Lynch has bravely emerged from her bunker — the CHRC office actually is a bulletproof bunker — to accuse Hiebert of getting his facts wrong.
But it’s Lynch’s version that’s false.
In her July 11 letter to the National Post, Lynch denies that CHRC staff hacked into the Internet account of a private citizen to cover their tracks as they logged into their memberships in neo-Nazi websites. Lynch says both the Privacy Commissioner and the RCMP “found no evidence to support this allegation.”
But that’s not true. The Privacy Commissioner’s staff did not investigate the hacking — that is not within their jurisdiction. They only examined “whether the CHRC improperly collected, used, disclosed or retained personal information about the complainant,” a different and irrelevant question.
And neither did the RCMP declare that there was “no evidence” to the accusation. They investigated for months. Only when the case led them to a U. S.-based Internet server did they drop their investigation rather than pursue it internationally. That’s quite a different thing from exonerating the CHRC.
There was a hearing into the matter, though, at the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal on March 25, 2008. Alain Monfette, Bell Canada’s security officer, testified that the CHRC accessed the Internet using that private citizen’s Bell account. Lynch’s lawyers sat in embarrassed silence — they did not rebut Monfette’s evidence nor even bother to cross-examine him.
Meanwhile, Russ Campbell talks a little about Ezra Levant’s calling out of Jennifer Lynch on his blog:
I hope Ms. Lynch will either show documented proof of her version or step aside for her government responsibilities. No one whose veracity has been so directly challenged, and who does not give a successful defence of her good character, is fit to hold such high government office.
That post by by Ezra can be read here, by the way. Also noted by Fully Offset, The Black Kettle, and Five Feet of Fury. And while you’re reading Ezra’s blog, check out his back-and-forth with Pearl Eliadis in the letters of the National Post, and a couple of the reviews of Ezra’s book Shakedown that have been written lately. Another review, by Arrowsplitter, can be read here.
Second off, Stephen Boissoin writes a letter to the Prime Minister, as noted by No Apologies:
Subject: Why aren’t you helping me?
July 10, 2009
The Right Honourable Stephen Harper, P.C., M.P.
Prime Minister of Canada
Ottawa, ON K1A 0A3
Dear Prime Minister:
I am sure that you are somewhat aware of the injustice done to me here in Alberta through the Alberta Human Rights Commission. I am disheartened that you have not stood up to defend me. I was born and raised a Canadian citizen. It is true that my understanding of what you can and possibly are doing is limited, thus the opportunity for you to respond to this letter.
As a Canadian citizen, I pay my taxes and I have invested well over a decade working with at-risk youth. I have invested countless hours and tens of thousands of my own dollars into youth who needed help to ‘make it.’ I have directed three full-time HRDC funded life and employability skills programs for at-risk youth that had great success and have directed youth centres that saw over 300 youth per week in attendance. I have not based my investment on whether a teen was homo or heterosexual, I have and continue to invest equally into all youth.
What was my crime? I simply wrote a letter to the editor in my local newspaper right in the middle of the gay marriage debate. Plus the many topics surrounding the specific rights of homosexuals were hot to debate at that time. My intent nor the context of my 2002 letter was to be hateful of any individual but instead it was against the propagation of homosexuality to young people. I am not some right wing radical. I was simply involved in a community debate that many other locals where participating in. For writing this letter I am brought before an AHRC tribunal and eventually found guilty through a process that I could not believe was even legal. Truly, it was ridiculous and almost laughable. In the end, I am fined $7000.00 and a ruling is laid down that is so absurd it makes it hard to believe that I am living in Canada a place where aside from her obvious beauty, I now find it hard to remain proud to live in. Yes, there are worse places for sure but Canada does not even protect the freedoms that came with my birthright.
Year after year, you allow people to walk naked down a public street at the Toronto Gay Pride Parade right in front of the police and children BUT I am the one persecuted and prosecuted for a letter to the editor in my local newspaper.
Over seven years have passed since a complaint was filed against me by a pro-gay activist. A complaint that has cost me dearly.
I voted for you Stephen Harper. As my leader, what have you done to defend me against this obvious injustice? Why have you remained silent?
Stephen D. Boissoin
Also noted by our friend mbrandon8026 at Freedom Through Truth.
Did you all get a chance to read Canada’s Censor In Chief’s latest missive in the National Post? Poor Jennifer! You really did not get your money’s worth out of the expensive PR consultations that you have been dinging the taxpayers with over the past months. If you had selected expert ‘fart catchers’, they surely would have told you that there are some times when you just have to help yourself to a steaming hot cup of STFU and not make it worse.
Jennifer is really not bothered that some of her investigators hacked into a private citizen’s internet connection in order to throw out fishing lines of overt racist comments to snag a few borderline ‘neo-Nazis’ living in their parents basement in Kakkapeee, Alberta.
Fourth, the Ontario Human Rights complaint being brought against the Catholic Church on behalf of Jim Corcoron garners more commentary from Mike Brock, and the fellow at Stand Your Ground, while the fine fellow at Freedom Through Truth speaks at length on the topic. Meanwhile, a couple of players from Barbara Hall’s mayoral days have some coverage of their own, some good ( or at least, not bad ), and some not so good at all. Also, the OHRC’s Christian Horizons decision and HRCs in general are discussed in an interview with ECP Centre Interim president, Tim Bloedow, as noted by No Apologies here.
Fifth, Just Right reveals the terms of Jennifer’s employment:
Update: Based on BCF’s remark in the comments about Lynch’s appointment term I did some checking. According to this document the Chief Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner are appointed for SEVEN year terms with the provisos “good behaviour” and “may be removed at any time by the GiC on address of the Senate and House of Commons”.
Sixth, in Alberta HRC news, a leadership candidate for the Wildrose Alliance says that the AHRCC should be ‘reigned in’. You can read all about it via the Edmonton Sun: Human rights commission in crosshairs:
The province should rein in Alberta’s human rights commission to stop its attacks on free speech, says a candidate for the leadership of the Wildrose Alliance party.
Danielle Smith says provisions in the recently passed Bill 44 allow the commission too much power to essentially censor free speech.
“The minister started out trying to make the human rights commission less powerful and ended up making it more powerful,” said Smith, who released her first policy position paper yesterday after announcing her leadership bid in early June.
‘BE REINED IN’
“Now it’s been perverted so that the human rights commission is delving into an area they shouldn’t,” said the former newspaper columnist and lobbyist. “They need to be reined in and get back to their original mandate.”
Also in Alberta HRC news, at least three dozen transgendered people have filed human rights complaints against the government of Alberta because of health care cost cuts. INews880 has the story:
Alberta sex change patients file human rights complaints over lost gov’t funding
At least three dozen sex change patients have filed human rights complaints since the Health Department cut funding for operations that can cost up to $80,000.
Jordenne Prescott, a 31-year-old from Calgary who is waiting for male-to-female surgery, says she was told by the Alberta Human Rights Commission last week that her complaint will be heard.
A lawyer for the commission couldn’t confirm that, but said most of the complaints are still under review and not all of them will proceed.
Seventh, a bit of news on a couple of other complaints being made before the CHRC:
The CBSA’s permanent border crossing is on Cornwall Island, which straddles the Canada-U.S. border, inside the Akwesasne Mohawk Territory.
The agency closed the crossing at midnight on May 31 after dozens of Akwesasne residents camped out nearby, protesting Ottawa’s plan to equip border guards with handguns.
The guards currently stationed at the makeshift facility near downtown Cornwall are toting the 9-mm guns, a CBSA spokeswoman said in an e-mail.
“It’s an important step, but it’s also a first step towards a larger, more permanent solution,” said Kilger.
That solution will have to be hammered out between the federal government and the Mohawk Council of Akwesasne, said Kilger.
Cornwall police Chief Dan Parkinson said tempers have remained calm on the Canadian side of the border.
“We wouldn’t expect (any incidents),” said Parkinson. “This is basically a return to the previous normal. People have looked forward to this temporary solution for quite awhile now.”
Akwesasne Mohawks have argued the federal policy of arming border guards infringes upon their sovereign rights. Council officials have accused some border officers of engaging in racial profiling, harassment, and intimidation.
In a statement released Monday, Grand Chief Mike Mitchell said only a few customs officers are the target of the majority of complaints by Akwesasne residents.
Two of those complaints have been forwarded to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, said Mitchell.
Read the rest of that here, via the Winnipeg Sun.
Eighth, Janet Keeping does that thing that she does in the Montreal Gazette: Canada’s human-rights maven misunderstands free expression:
It is perfectly understandable that people disagree on how human-rights statutes should be amended to protect free expression. But a recent speech by Jennifer Lynch, chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, should worry everyone, for it reveals a serious misunderstanding of free expression.
To be fair, Lynch makes valid points about the controversy over whether human-rights agencies should have authority to punish offensive speech. Much, as she points out, of what has been said about human-rights commissions is inaccurate or unfair.
But Lynch is wrong on some basic issues, most importantly on freedom of expression. She says that the “power (of words and ideas) while overwhelmingly positive, can also be used to undermine democracy, freedom and equality.” For that reason “Canada, and many other nations, have enacted laws to limit forms of extreme hateful expression that have very minimal value in the free exchange of ideas, but do great harm to our fellow citizens.”
In fact, most ideas are neither “overwhelmingly positive” nor harmful – they are trivial. It’s not only “extreme hateful expression” that has “very minimal value.” Just turn on the TV, go to nearly any blog or Twitter.
Finally, Haroon Siddiqui of the Toronto Star wonders where all the commission critics are on freedom of speech when it comes to bringing Al Jazeera to Canada; Human Rights Commission horror stories; Jesse Kline in the Western Standard points out that there may be another bureaucratic threat to our freedom in town in the form of new faux-Conservative legislation; let’s play some human rights Jeopardy; and some light summer listening for all your anti-authoritarian needs. Also: did you know that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has commissioned pieces of art? They’re fine pieces, to be sure, and nothing to be held against the artist whatsover, and I’m sure it’s not out of the question for art to be displayed in a public office – but it’s just interesting to see how the CHRC’s money has been spent ( scroll down a ways ).