The Quest(2) Begins…Again

August 31, 2009

This is just a brief note to let the readers know that despite the results of my earlier attempt to get ahold of Jennifer Lynch’s supposed ‘Enemies List’, I’ve decided to try again.

I know, I know. Conspiracy theories. Kooks. I get it. I just want to make sure that I didn’t miss something, something important, because my request criteria just weren’t specific enough, or just weren’t general enough. And so I’ll try again, and see where that goes. And if nothing good comes of it, well, I’m out five bucks for an FOI request, and you can get a good laugh at my expense. Then I can move on to other waters. Sound good?

And so, I’ve filled out another FOI request, and I’ve sent it out. And now, we wait.

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A brief announcement

August 31, 2009

Hello, faithful readers.

This is just to let you know that, as of today, I am leaving for about three weeks on holidays. That doesn’t mean that I’m not going to try my best to update this fine site whenever I can, but it does mean that my postings are probably going to be more sporadic. Perhaps ( hint, hint ), some of the other contributors will be able to step in to fill the void – I’ll certainly do my best to keep on top of all of that, too.

Also, over the next couple of days, I’m probably going to be the equivalent of offline ( in blogging terms, at least, although I’ll probably still be responding to email ), and so even though I’m updating the site early today, there may not be new content for a day or so. I’ll try and come back with a vengeance if I can though.

Meanwhile, it looks like I’ll be in town when Stephen Boissoin has his appeal of the AHRCC’s ruling against him brought before the Court of Queen’s Bench, in Calgary. If it’s even possible for me to get in, I’ll try, and I’ll try to write it up as best I can.

But, in the meantime,

Cheers!


Today’s ( early ) Lynch List

August 31, 2009

I am writing this in the dead of night, because I’ll be travelling tomorrow. How’s that for dedication, huh?

Our first, and only major story: more on the CHRC’s decision vis a vis Air Canada and mandatory retirement, from the Chronicle Herald: Lawyer: Pilots’ fight against forced retirement may affect others:

By Lindsey Wiebe

WINNIPEG — A lawyer involved in the case says there could be implications for other federally-regulated industries after a Canadian Human Rights Tribunal ruled in favour of two Air Canada pilots fighting mandatory retirement.

Pilots George Vilven and Robert Neil Kelly complained they were being forced to retire at 60, a measure they felt was discriminatory.

“It’s a pretty significant decision,” said Raymond Hall, a lawyer, who is also a retired Air Canada pilot in Winnipeg.

Vilven and Kelly were both forced to retire from their jobs with the airline when they turned 60 and decided to take their fight to the Canadian Human Rights Commission, which reviews discrimination complaints for employees who fall under federal jurisdiction. Both were referred to the tribunal.

The tribunal initially rejected their complaints and the case ended up in the Federal Court of Canada.

Hall said the court determined that mandatory retirement was a breach of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. It sent the case back to the tribunal to see if the breach could be reasonably justified. The tribunal found otherwise, and decided Air Canada could not justify the policy.

A spokesperson for Air Canada said the company was studying the decision and could not comment until a review had been completed.

Read it all here. H/t to Diamond Pilots. Also covered, including a soundbyte, by Manitoba’s CJOB 68.

Finally, Islam on Trial; the ‘ministrations of the Canadian Political Correctness Police’; upcoming events; and is it anti-semitism?


Today’s Lynch List

August 30, 2009

You know the drill.

First off, BigCityLiberal has the story on the American Political Science Association’s decision vis a vis Toronto: APSA And Canadian Human Rights Laws:

As I noted the other day, back in 2008 The American Political Science Association was presented with a petition from some of its members asking them to reconsider Toronto as the location of its 2009 general meeting due to concerns about Canada’s national and provincial Human Rights Commissions. After some consideration, APSA rejected this petition and will in fact be in town from from September 3-6.

Because I know followers of the Speechy Wars wanted…no, needed…to know the full story behind the APSA petition and its ultimate failure, I contacted Bahram Rajaee (APSA’s PR guy) and he was kind enough to direct me to the relevant documents.

It all makes for a (mildly) interesting read, but if you look at the petition itself and the response documents, you come across the following passage from the petition instigators:

…we… have some new information about an academic complaint of the sort that
might chill speech at the 2009 convention: According to Janet Ajzenstat, a respected Canadian political scientist, the Canadian Political Science Association is being asked to censure a session chair for allowing academic speech deemed offensive during a conference session. Without judging the details of the dispute, as reported it seems to be the sort of thing that is not imaginable under American or APSA norms — yet, it seems to us to reflect the rather different norms about offensive speech developing in Canada.

It turns out they were talking about the turmoil kicked-up at an August 2008 meeting of CPSA (The Canadian Political Science Association) in which Frances Widdowson, of Disrobing the Aboriginal Industry fame, presented a paper on “aboriginal methodology” that went down very poorly, with the Q&A afterwards ending in tears, lamentations, and cries of racism. At the time it was rumored that session chair Peter Russell would be censured for letting things get out of hand, a rumor Ajzenstat repeated to several of the people behind the petition, before later realizing that it was false (or at least “no longer true”).

More generally, APSA quickly realized that the Ontario Human Rights Code and the CHRA provisions for hate speech did not apply to academic presentations, and that the OHRC did not regulate published speech at all (only signs, emblems, and symbols). The petitioners seem to have mistaken section 13 of the Ontario Human Rights Code for section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. In any case, my favorite part in the response of the Canadian Association of University Teachers to APSA’s request for clarification re Canada’s hate speech laws:

On the specific matter of human rights commissions in Canada, there seems to be a good deal of confusion and obfuscation in the materials being circulated about the threat posed to free speech and their relevance to a meeting of the APSE. For starters, none of the specific cases noted by the authors of the petition’s accompanying information piece (“What’s the Matter with Canada”) were heard by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal, the only such body that would have jurisdiction over an event (unrelated to federal activities) taking place in Toronto. In this regard, the examples being used by the petition’s promoters are about as fair as us warning against travel to Massachusetts because Nebraska maintains the death penalty.

I’ve found a copy of the “information piece” mentioned above here, and I would just noted that if you quote David Warren as being an authority on anything, you are already in trouble.

Read it here.

Read the rest of this entry »


Pot Calls Kettle Black

August 30, 2009

But They Might Have Gotten It Right Kinda Sorta

[ ED NOTE: Mbrandon8026 from the Freedom Through Truth blog was kind enough to allow me to republish this article from his blog. You can read the original here. ]

I have been waiting for a human rights decisions that I could point to and say: “There, they did something kinda sorta right, in a back door kinda way.” So, conditionally, I am saying today that the Canadian HRC might have gotten one kinda sorta right maybe for the Air Canada Pilots – Fly Past 60 group of pilots who do not want to be grounded after they reach the company mandated retirement age of 60 for pilots. They just didn’t need to do it at all.

I am saying conditionally until I read the entire Decision, which will come out in a month or two. I am interested in the details released at that time. However, if as I suspect this is based solely on a calendar birth date, then it can be termed a form of age discrimination that has existed all along in our society. It is not like the pilots didn’t know when they hired on that they would have to retire at age 60. Not just one day, “Surprise, you’re 60. You’re outta here.”

The Canadian HRC is calling this mandatory retirement age unconstitutional. Since so much of what the Canadian HRC does in their own practices is unconstitutional, that is really the pot calling the kettle black.

I guess we have to wait until the first 62 year old pilot crashes an Airbus, and the lawsuits go flying left and right to see how this really plays out. I hope that day never comes.

Here is a question I do not know the answer to: Are we, the fare paying public, as safe on Air Canada flights with a 62 year old pilot as we are with a 40 year old pilot? Frankly, I haven’t flown an AC flight in so long, the answer is mute for me. We fly out of Detroit when we fly to the US, and fly Westjet from here in London for our Canada flights.

One follow up question: Does J Ly and her Canadian HRC care about the fare paying public or do she and they just care about fake human rights, like mandatory retirement ages?


Consider This

August 29, 2009

Stupidity and Hypocrisy

[ ED NOTE: Mbrandon8026 from the Freedom Through Truth blog was kind enough to allow me to re-publish this article from his blog. You can read the original here. ]

Over the last several months, I have reviewed countless Human Rights Decisions across this fair land of ours. I must say that I was looking for bad decisions, and I must also say in my defense that I did not have to look far. My only reason for skipping over some decisions in a top to bottom review was that most were less ridiculous than the ones that I chose to review. Many Decisions were not very mentally challenging for me, though they had been all of that for the poor Respondents that were the subject of their own Lynching or Halling or gutting by the Chief Commissar of the Province, Dominion or of the particular time period. That’s not to say that all the Decisions were wrong either. Sometimes, I think they got it right, and some day I might even write about one or two of them.

In looking at the work of the HRCs/HRTs, I have viewed the worker bees on up as well intentioned but narrow minded liberals, bent on creating law out of fake human rights, begat out of whimsy.

We have seen the antics of J Ly, Queen of Censors this summer as she chalks up frequent flyer miles seeking support to keep her job, from the “misinformation” being spread by the bloggers and media, without providing any correct information to help us poor misguided souls, since she can’t bury all the transcripts, Moon Reports, expense reports, and other live and real data that is available.

Here in Ontario, of course, our dear Barbara Hall is chasing Bishops for gays, chasing cops for blacks, chasing landlords for unwed mothers and students, and chasing transit systems for blind people, while ignoring the rest of us. I am not disappointed that she is ignoring the rest of us, just bummed that she is weirding out on these others, and using my tax dollars to do it.

When Premier McGuinty came to the support of Popessa Barb and her latest annual report with his Attaboy, I thought I would be ill, frankly. I was thinking summer vacation, too much suds maybe, a little too much sunshine on the old cranium (him, not me). But, I think he actually believes what he said, though that is not always why a politician says something. If he thought he needed to distance himself from her, he would in a heart beat, and wouldn’t issue an Attaboy first. So, she is in his good books.

Oh, and we have some pretty dull pencils in the drawer out on our western coast, delivering scintillating prose in Decisions like the Bertrend case recently, among others, in their lopsided pogrom on employers who might want to make a buck from honest labour of their employees. Perish that thought that people should have to show up and do work for pay.

As to the veracity of evidence before HRC Panels, I like the quote from Mr. Chipeur in the Stephen Boissoin Appeal document where he picked up on Justice Veit in Vantage Contracting Inc. v. Marcil [2004] A.J. No. 368:

The HRCM Act authorized appeals from Human Rights Panel decisions. In deciding that human rights panels had no particular expertise and required no particular deference, the Supreme Court of Canada held, in Dickason, that the court to which the panel’s decision was appealed should examine the evidence before the panel “anew and, if deemed appropriate, make their own findings of fact”.

Although this opinion of a superior court referred to Alberta Human Rights Panels specifically, it very well applies to all cases I have read, and to all tribunals and commissions.

Then it started to come to me as I read a few quotations from the famous and not so famous. Here are a few for you to ponder. See if they shed any light:

Thinking is the hardest work there is. That’s why so few engage in it. – Henry Ford

Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I’m not sure about the former. – Albert Einstein

Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped. – Elbert Hubbard

Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity. – Martin Luther King Jr. Strength to Love

Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by stupidity. – Hanlon’s Razor

My wife and I were doing our daily prayer reading yesterday from Living Faith, and it was about the scribes and Pharisees, through the eyes of Jesus, and the context of the time. In Matthews Gospel 23:27 it says:

Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, you hypocrites. You are like whitewashed tombs, which appear beautiful on the outside, but inside are full of dead men’s bones and every kind of filth.

The writer of the accompanying meditation goes on to say:

We all get fed up from time to time. This gospel passage reminds us of the movie Network, where the people open their windows and shout at the top of their lungs: “I’m mad as hell, and I’m not gonig to take it anymore.”

Certainly we can’t run around shouting at people every time we reach our limit. We have to restrain ourselves for civility’s sake, peace in the family, calm in the workplace. But in the face of raging hypocrisy, terrible injustice, the strong preying on the weak, a fair dose of righteous anger is understandable. It may be exactly what Jesus expects.

Dear Lord, help me confront my own hypocrisies.

That last line kind of gets you doesn’t it. I first became aware of the lopsided nature of HRC’s over 25 years ago. I remember water cooler type conversations at work with other guys about decisions that were going on then, and about us agreeing that the only people you could discriminate against were white anglo saxon men. We joked about it. What they were doing then was as wrong in its time as it is now. We did nothing for 25 years. What does that make us . . . make me? Yep. A hypocrite.

It is time to stop being stupid, stop being hypocritical, and work harder to put an end to this nonsense going on in our HRCs/HRTs.


Updates forthcoming

August 29, 2009

Yeah, yeah, yeah, they’re comin’!

There should be a few updates in the next day/night or so, so stay tuned. Apologies for not updating sooner – I had kind of a busy afternoon.