Alright, here we go.
First off, via Xtra Mag: Montreal man battles government over allegations of homophobia:
By Tracey Lindeman
Former federal public servant Paul Richard just wants some justice, but it would appear that justice is only for those who file swiftly and Richard is 20-some-odd years late to the game.
In 2005, he filed a complaint with the Canadian Human Rights Commission against the Treasury Board of Canada for discrimination based on sexual orientation. Since then, his request to have his complaint heard has been refused twice and appealed twice. Richard is desperately hoping that the third time before the Commission’s a charm.
Richard worked as an economist for the federal government in several departments and ministries from the early 1970s until 1985, when the near-constant organizational restructuring finally pushed him out. In his original complaint, he chronicled his experience of being shuffled from department to department to department and finally, out the door.
Richard, now 58, feels he was left out in the cold for being an openly gay man.
Read the rest here. Meanwhile, on a related note, from the Daily Gleaner: Man wasn’t fired because he’s gay, jail official says:
WINDSOR, N.S. – A youth worker was fired from the Nova Scotia Youth Facility because of a long history of missing work, not because he is gay, a human rights inquiry was told Tuesday.
The former employee, who can only be identified as A.B. because of a publication ban, had an unusually high record of absenteeism for six years leading up to his dismissal, Angelo Visentine testified at the inquiry being held at a Windsor hotel.
The worker was fired in 2005.
The youth worker filed a complaint with the Nova Scotia Human Rights Commission within months of his firing, claiming he was let go because he’s gay.
He and other witnesses for the commission have testified that he was continually harassed at work by co-workers because of his sexual orientation. Some of the witnesses said A.B.’s co-workers bullied him, called him names and played practical jokes on him. They described the atmosphere at the centre as homophobic and anti-female. A.B. says his high absentee rate was a result of the poor treatment he was receiving.
Read the rest here.
Second, from Raphael Alexander at Unambiguously Ambidextrous: Crucifixes Banned In Schools In Italy? No seriously, Italy?
If you thought the Canadian Human Rights Commission came up with some ridiculous ideas, just look at the European Court of Human Rights. They have said that the display of crucifixes in Italian public schools violates religious and education freedoms in the heart of European Catholicism. The response from the Catholic Church in Rome has been swift and angry. The reason for the ruling:
The ruling could force a review of the use of religious symbols in government-run schools across Europe. Saying the crucifix could be disturbing to non-Christian or atheist pupils, the court in Strasbourg rejected arguments by Italy’s government that it was a national symbol of culture, history, identity, tolerance and secularism. The Italian government immediately said it would appeal, with one minister saying the court should be ashamed and a conservative senator calling the ruling “absurd”.
Italian bishops said they were perplexed by the ruling. “The multiple significance of the crucifix, which is not just a religious symbol but a cultural sign, has been either ignored or overlooked,” the Italian Bishops Conference said.
I have to agree with the church on this one. The crucifix, while a symbol for Christianity, is also evocative of two thousand years of European culture and history, and it would be ridiculous to ignore this aspect when making decisions about removing the cross from schools. Indeed, what often united the fratricidal fiefdoms throughout Europe’s bloody history, was their link to Christianity. The celebration of Christian calender events, cultural festivals, and observation of holy days are all commonly shared within the European continent.
Third, a bit of a grab bag. Blazing Cat Fur notes the Free Speech and Liberty Symposium being held on Dec. 7th in Ottawa, as does Jay Currie. Stand Your Ground and Blogging Canadians note George Jonas’ article for the National Post: Saving the Canadian Human Rights Commission though amputation. Modern Commentaries notes Kathy Shaidle’s latest bout of laughable hatemail, along with a fisking of Andrew Reitman’s – well, one hesitates to call them ‘arguments’ – while Scaramouche provides a couple of fitting, slightly off-colour ditties for the occasion..
Meanwhile, as Scary Fundamentalist has already commented upon for this blog and his own, Deborah Gyapong writes on Voice of the Martyrs’ decision to include itself in Canada’s HRC debate, which is also noted by Blazing Cat Fur. Also, from Free Dominion: Hate, hate-speech and hate-crimes.
Fourth, from Scaramouche: Hold me closer, fancy dancer:
The latest “human rights” tribunal ruling on the CHRC site appears to be about a teacher who worked for a First Nations school board in Alberta, and who wasn’t allowed to return following her pregnancy leave–what you or I would call a wrongful dismissal suit were it to turn up in a regular courtroom. But why on earth would someone with a gripe want to take it before a real judge when the rules of the “quasi”-judiciary are so much more lax, and when you can have your legal tabbed picked up by the taxpayer, even if the tribunal rules against you. It’s nice to see, though, that despite the fact that political correctness precludes infidels from complaining about hateful imams, and would no doubt preclude a teacher in a similar situation from complaining about an Islamic school, a non-First Nations woman was allowed to complain about a First Nations school. Could this be the “human rights” tribunal’s way of signalling that, pace Steyn, Levant and the rest of the critics, the system is not necessarily mired in stultifying P.C.?I didn’t have the patience to wade through the entire lengthy ruling, but this part jumped out at–and amused–me
Read the rest here.
Fifth, via Five Feet of Fury: ‘We are seeing steady interest in ”Tyranny of Nice’…’:
Kathy Shaidle’s [and Pete Vere’s!] excellent summary of the human rights industry in Canada.
With a substantial Introduction by Mark Steyn, this little book for only $10 makes an excellent concise summary of the real dangers human rights commissions pose to fundamental liberties in Canada.
Read it here. Congrats to Pete and Kathy.
Fifth, Binks at Free Canuckistan does that magic that he does with another heaping helping of links and commentary on a whole range of issues, not the least of which is freedom of speech. Check out his latest effort: Steynian 395.
Sixth, via the Centre for Cultural Renewal: The State of Free Speech in Saskatchewan:
Summary of Facts:
William Whatcott (“Mr. Whatcott”) is a former licensed practical nurse and a former homosexual who converted to Christianity and became an activist against both abortion and homosexuality. As a result of his actions he was the subject of both a human rights complaint for hate speech and a professional disciplinary review for allegations of conduct unbecoming a licensed practical nurse. This review covers both proceedings.
i. Human Rights Matter
In 2001 and 2002 Mr. Whatcott distributed four separate pamphlets that criticized homosexuality.
Flyer A was titled, “Keeping Homosexuality out of Saskatoon’s Public Schools!”, indicating that a Saskatoon Public School Board committee had recommended that information on homosexuality be included in the curriculum and school libraries. It stated, in part:
… sexual politics of the perverted type … Now the homosexuals want to share their filth and propaganda with Saskatchewan’s children.
. . . We also believe that for sodomites and lesbians who want to remain in their lifestyle and proselytize vulnerable young people that civil law should discriminate against them. In 1968 it was illegal to engage in homosexual acts, now it is almost becoming illegal to question any of their sick desires. Our children will pay the price in disease, death, abuse and ultimately eternal judgement if we do not say no to the sodomite desire to socialize your children into accepting something that is clearly wrong.
Flyer B was titled, “Sodomites in our Public Schools” and in addition to the printed message had the following hand written comments:
Break the Silence! Born Gay? No Way! Homosexual sex is about risky & addictive behaviour!
Break the Silence! Sodomites are 430 times more likely to acquire Aids & 3 times more likely to sexually abuse children!
Flyers C and D copied the classified section of a gay magazine that stated, “searching for boys/men for penpals, friendship exchanging video, pics, magazines and anything more.” The hand written comments on the flyers stated:
Saskatchewan’s largest gay magazine allows ads for men seeking boys!
‘If you cause one of these little ones to stumble it would be better that a millstone was tied around your neck and you were cast into the sea’ Jesus Christ
The ads with men advertising as bottoms are men who want to get sodomized. This shouldn’t be legal in Saskatchewan.
Four separate human rights complaints were filed with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal (the “Tribunal”). In May 2005, the Tribunal ruled that Mr. Whatcott violated section 14 of The Saskatchewan Human Rights Code, S.S. 1979, c. S-24.1 (the “Code”) and that section 14 was a reasonable restriction on Mr. Whatcott’s right to freedom of religion and expression as guaranteed by section 2 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (the “Charter”)1.
Mr. Whatcott was ordered to pay $2,500 to one of the complainants and $5,000 to each of the three other complainants. He appealed the Tribunal’s decision to the Saskatchewan Court of Queen’s Bench.
Read the rest here.
Seventh, from the Ottawa Citizen: Union seeks language shift at U of O:
By Jennifer Green
OTTAWA — In a vote with campus-wide implications, a union at the University of Ottawa is expecting fireworks today when it decides whether to drop the requirement for fluency in English and French.
The 161-year-old school may be touted as one of Canada’s foremost bilingual institutions, but only a third of its students are francophone, while two-thirds are anglophone. The anglophones say they are finding it increasingly hard to find representation, according to Sean Kelly, president of CUPE 2626.
Ultimately, the question may have to be resolved by the Ontario Human Rights Commission, says Kelly, who is bilingual. “We are expecting a heated debate. It’s a very polarized issue.”
Read it all here.
Eighth, via Scaramouche: Welcome to the dystopia:
Last week Canada’s chief commissar, Jennifer Lynch, regaled a parliamentary committee with her thoughts re our numero uno freedom:
In spite of Canadians’ collective human rights accomplishments, forms of discrimination will continue to exist. This one area in particular requires continued vigilance. Canadians are still the targets of egregious acts of discrimination.
Let me be clear. Hate propaganda, sadly, is alive and well. Hateful expression aimed at groups of people continues to pose a threat to the harmony of our communities and undermines equality. Equality is guaranteed in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
It is therefore ironic that some point to the same Charter as providing an absolute right to freedom of expression. No right is absolute. When rights are in conflict, legislators must find a way to balance those rights.
Now, what, I asked myself, does this type of thinking remind me of? I know–it’s this:
The purpose of Newspeak was not only to provide a medium of expression for the world-view and mental habits proper to the devotees of Ingsoc, but to make all other modes of thought impossible. It was intended that when Newspeak had been adopted once and for all and Oldspeak forgotten, a heretical thought–that is, a thought diverging from the principles of Ingsoc–should be literally unthinkable, at so far as thought is dependent on words.
Read the rest here.
Finally, old friends of Barbara Hall; reminiscent ( scroll down ); commentary from Diana West that you totally check out; lies, lies, lies; a giant leap for children; look on the bright side; seek them out online ( scroll down ); and what would Elmo do?