I might have to chop this into two pieces – I don’t know, yet. We’ll see how much things have piled up.
First off, the cries of ‘inequality’ over women’s pay equity continues, with the usual HRC inclusion. Coverage from We Move To Canada, the Winnipeg Free Press, Pushed to the Left and Loving It, and ThePolitic.
Second, a bit of a grab-bag. Some more coverage of Faleen Davis’ complaint before the CHRTribunal against the Canadian Border Services Agency from Akwesasnes Womens Fire, while Ezra Levant continues in his campaign against Syed Soherwardy, and Denyse O’Leary at Post-Darwinist notes Truepeers’ excellent run-down of a recent Jewish forum.
Third, from the Edmonton Journal: Scents and sensitivity:
By Chris Zdeb
Michelle Marie has been skeptical about people with scent sensitivities ever since she worked with a woman who claimed to have them.
“She had signs plastered everywhere about it being a scent-sensitive area around her, but I had to interact with her a couple of times and wore hairspray and deodorant that I could smell, so I’m sure she could, too, and she was fine. She never said anything, never had any bad reaction that she said she always had.
People with scent sensitivities, such as those with physical disabilities, have a right to be accommodated in the workplace, says Louise Borle, northern director of the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission.
Since 2006, the commission has dealt with two complaints involving scent disabilities. In one case, the parties worked out their differences voluntarily; the other case ended up in court, Borle says.
Read the rest here.
Fourth, Ezra Levant writes, in his blog: Thank you, my friends:
What was the 16th most popular book on Amazon.ca in 2009?
Thanks to everyone who supported it and recommended it through word of mouth. I think we’ve gone through four printings of the book now, including the new paperback edition, which is much more affordable than the hard cover, at just $13.71.
I really enjoyed touring with the book, which took me around the country and even to the U.S. Though it was sometimes physically tiring, I found it very energizing to talk with people about freedom of speech and other core Canadian values. The mainstream media was quite receptive to the message of freedom, too, which I think is very hopeful. For two years now I’ve been saying that freedom of speech is a non-partisan issue, and I think that’s been proven to be true.
And a special thanks to my friends at McClelland & Stewart who took a chance on me and the book — neither of which would count as “normal” in the book business! I’m glad it was a commercial and critical success for them.
Fifth, have I introduced you to Stop Section 13 dot com, yet? Because if I haven’t, let this serve as an introduction.
Sixth, the Canadian Centre for Policy Studies’ Free Speech and Liberty Symposium, which was held on Dec. 7th and attended by yours truly ( lots of coverage of the event over on my personal blog ), and where our HRCs received their fair share of discussion, receives coverage from the Miss Marprelate Tracts ( lots of posts ), Five Feet of Fury, Deborah Gyapong ( with more here ), Our Changing Landscape, and many more. A good time was had by all, by the way.
Seventh, from Public Service Alliance of Canada BC: PSAC Statement on Human Rights Day: The struggle against discrimination faces uphill battle:
The United Nations’ Human Rights Day marks the anniversary of the adoption of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 by the UN General Assembly. The UN has announced that this year’s celebration will focus on non-discrimination.
More recently, there has been a concerted campaign by right-wing pundits and media to entirely discredit the role and the need for human rights commissions in Canada, including the Canadian Human Rights Commission and the Canadian Human Rights Act under the guise of defending free speech. Their attacks picked on certain decisions by the Commission and Tribunal around section 13, the hate messages clause, of the Act. However their often malicious criticisms expand beyond these specific cases and have the intent of turning public opinion against the human rights commissions, which they have variously labeled as the “thought police” or compared to violent dictatorial regimes. Attacks against the commissions have not been isolated to the federal level but have also been directed towards the Ontario Human Rights Commission and other commissions all across the country.
Read the rest here.
Seventh, our man Warman makes an appearance. From The Roanoke Times: Neo-Nazi White’s trial begins today:
By Laurence Hammack
For more than a year now, the war of words between William A. White and the government has been one of arcane legal arguments.
Did a racist’s online rants amount to “true threats,” as defined by federal law? Or did the words of White, a neo-Nazi leader, stop short of “inciting or producing imminent lawless action,” and thus fall under the protection of the First Amendment?
Defense lawyers say White’s comments should be viewed in the context of today’s no-holds-barred attitude among commentators on cable television and on the Internet. That especially applies to Pitts and Richard Warman, a human rights lawyer White is accused of threatening, they say.
Eighth, via the National Post’s Posted Toronto: City orders group to remove plaque on nativity scene identifying anti-abortion group:
By Matthew Coutts, National Post
The city yesterday ordered a Catholic group that had donated a nativity scene outside of Old City Hall to remove a plaque identifying an anti-abortion group as the donor of the statues of Baby Jesus and his entourage.
Suresh Dominic of Gethsemane Ministries said city officials asked him to remove a small plaque identifying Campaign Life Catholic as the donor over concerns of the group’s abortion stance. (The plaque’s existence was first reported here by Torontoist.)
[…]In a statement, a city communications official said: ‘‘The nativity scene that is currently located on the front lawn of Old City Hall has been located there during the Holiday Season for the past 14 years. A plaque had been erected, relating to “Campaign for Life,” which wasn’t approved as part of the permit and does not comply with the City of Toronto’s Human Rights Policy. As a result, the plaque will be removed.’’
In what free speech proponent Ezra Levant, who is Jewish, called “a brazen act of censorship,” the City of Toronto caved in to media pressure and ordered the text refering to Campaign Life Catholic’s contribution to be removed, apparently based upon a single complaint. East York resident Doug Macdonald had written to city councillor Sandra Bussin and Mayor David Miller to complain of “an overtly political group that’s getting a city endorsement of their agenda
Read the rest here.
Ninth, Deborah Gyapong writes, via Western Catholic Reporter: CWL brings resolutions to Parliament Hill:
OTTAWA – A Catholic Women’s League (CWL) delegation came to Parliament Hill Nov. 30-Dec.2 to raise concerns about poverty, end-of-life care and unjust hate speech prosecutions.
“We got our point across,” said CWL president Danielle McNeil-Hessian. “I think people were open to listening to us.”
The delegation also met with Justice Minister Rob Nicholson concerning a resolution passed last August to seek the repeal of section 13 – the hate speech section – of the Canadian Human Rights Act (CHRA). The CWL maintains that this section permits a low burden of proof that can be damaging to persons or institutions that face unjustified complaints.
Nicholson told them he was waiting to hear from the parliamentary justice committee, which is examining section 13.
The delegation also met with the Canadian Human Rights Commission’s secretary general Karen Mosher.
“All of them talked about the fact that there are two sides to this and that some religious groups would be against repealing it because they are the victims of hate messages,” said Hessian.
The use of section 13 and similar provincial legislation to persecute Christian expression did not come up in the discussions.
McNeil-Hessian said the focus of their resolution was based on ensuring high legal standards as found in the Criminal Code for anybody who would be prosecuted for hate speech.
Eleventh, via the National Post’s Full Comment: Jonathan Kay on Barbara Hall, and the latest ‘human-rights’ embarrassment:
Imagine you’re a hard-working suburbanite. You’ve scrimped and saved, and put together enough money for the a down payment on a four-bedroom house. You’ll be paying the thing off for years — decades, even — but it’s worth it: You’ve got a safe place for your children to grow up, as well as a rock-solid investment you can fall back on when the mortgage is paid, and it’s time to retire.
Now imagine your dream being destroyed: Landlords start buying up adjacent properties, and turning them into cheap dorm rooms for students at a nearby trade school. Instead of your neighbours being families with young children, they’re suddenly drunken all-night partygoers who use the streets as a toilet.
And so you fight back in the courts — finally persuading a provincial judge to declare the offending properties illegal. It’s a first step toward taking back the neighbourhood from the flop-house industry and the denizen of Psi Chugga Chugga.
But now imagine that a bureaucrat comes wading in to the fray, and litigates against you using your own tax dollars, wailing to the court that your desire to retain the family character of your neighbourhood violates Psi Chugga Chugga’s “human rights.” How would you feel?