Well, it’s that time of day again, when I talk about all those people who are talking about Jennifer Lynch and her wonderful multi-colored commission, with gratuitous mention of the various other commissions and commissioners currently mucking about in the Dominion.
First off The Windsor Star has an unsigned editorial up on Human Rights Commissions: The Code and rights:
Just how much power should human rights commissions have? It’s a question that’s been directed at bodies at both the federal and provincial levels, and most recently at the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
At the federal level, we have what amounts to two-tier policing of racism and hate speech in Canada — one through the courts applying Criminal Code and the other through a human rights act.
Critics say the Code is all that’s needed. They contend that the CHRC, with a bar set far below criminal standards, often adjudicates trivial complaints and serves as a censor of ideas that are not intended to provoke hatred or violence, but to promote controversy and debate. As well, the commission has an almost never lost a case it’s prosecuted.
Jennifer Lynch, chief commissioner of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, counters that the Code and act “serve useful purposes in protecting Canadians from discrimination in today’s society.”
Lynch’s view of freedom on expression is that the “power of words and ideas) while overwhelming positive, can also be used to undermine democracy, freedom and equality.”
However, the problem is that the CHRC is essentially the investigator, prosecutor and judge of complaints of racism and hate speech. The burden of proof under Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act is also subject to interpretation. It says it’s an offence to communicate anything “likely to expose a person … to hatred or contempt.”
Second off, James Cohen of the International Free Press Society gives some commentary on a recent appearance by Jennifer Lynch on CTV, with video of her appearance included:
It is important to know how Lynch is spinning this. Not too long ago, a Quebec blogger took a case to the Quebec HRC asking that a particular Montreal Imam be taken to the HRC for violating section 13 of the HRC act. The Imam had published on paper and on the internet an astonishing book of hate violating in word and spirit every aspect of section 13 by orders of magnitude more than many who had already been convicted by this commission.
And third, the complaint by Jim Corcoran against several members of the Catholic Church before the OHRC garners some more commentary from Freedom Through Truth, and from Scary Fundamentalist ( with more here and here ).