Highlights of the Guy Earle Trial

March 31, 2010

Many thanks to BulletProofCourier for his excellent running commentary of Day 3, including the testimony and cross-examination of several witnesses. Here are the best quotes distilled from the morass:

First, there is no corroboration that Pardy approached the restaurant owner the day after the incident to request an apology in good faith. A server at the restaurant testified:

[Pardy] got quite angry and started yelling that Zesty’s was a bad place and not to eat there. There were maybe 3 tables of patrons inside who heard. She then went outside and Salam wanted to follow her, to call the police. I held him back. It seemed she was trying to get him to do something. She was outside, yelling, walking down the sidewalk, saying things about the place.” (emphasis mine)

Second, multiple witnesses dispute Pardy’s assertion that she wasn’t drunk and was only “kissing her partner on the cheek”, including fellow comedian Marlo Franson:

Ismail: “Did they appear drunk when they came in?

Franson: “They were loud, they were talking and ordering some drinks.”

Ismail: “Were they interfering with the show?”

Franson: “Sometimes it happens during a comedy show, a group of people come in, a bit noisy, but usually they settle down. They were being very affectionate with each other. Sitting close to each other, [tonguing] each other, and making out.

Ismail: “Not a kiss on the cheek?

Franson: “No.”

Third, Pardy also testified that she wasn’t aggressive. That’s true, if you don’t classify uttering death threats as being aggressive. Fellow comedian Grant Espaniel relates:

Espaniel: “As a comedian, I felt obligated to go over to the table and apologize for what happened. But Pardy wasn’t frightened of Guy, just angry. She said she wanted to break her beer bottle and stab him in the neck with it.”

Ismail: “Stab him in the neck?”

Espaniel: “Yes. She said she wanted to break the beer bottle on the edge of the table and stick it in his neck.”

And the highlight of the day: an amateur comedian, Nic Roy, responds to cross-examination questions by the lawyer for complainant Lorna Pardy:

Cousineau: Was this a major incident in your life?

Roy: [sarcastically] Yeah, I keep having nightmares and I wake up in cold sweats… I’ve been drinking every day since then.

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The Lynch List, 30-Mar-2010

March 30, 2010

As the Earle hearing gets underway, this List is in tribute to the comedian who coined the phrase, “it’s not a crime to be an asshole”.

First and foremost, Guy Earle’s case is getting lots of exposure in the national media. Attending bloggers reported trouble finding a seat in the hearing room due to the heavy media presence. Even CBC reported on it, in its usual squeamish style.

Bulletproof muses on whether he should go to Day 2. Send him a comment of encouragement! He also has a short rundown of the complainant’s testimony, including alleging that she suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder – for being insulted.

Trupeers has a more complete account of Pardy’s testimony. It’s a gas.

BCF is keeping a running log of links.

Second, the Canadian Human Rights Commission has tabled its 2009 annual report in parliament. This will certainly provide fodder for future posts for those of us bored enough to slog through it.

Third, BCF reports that Darren Lund is appealing the decision overturning Stephen Boissoin’s conviction at the Alberta Human Rights Tribunal.

Fourth, an editorial that appeared in several local papers, Closing Offices is Not An Attack on Human Rights:

Union jobs will be lost and union honchos are more worried about that than whether Canadians can march down the street to file a human rights complaint.


Following the Guy Earle Hearing

March 29, 2010

The Guy Earle hearing will certainly be a centerpiece of tomorrow’s Lynch List, but here’s a good rundown of those who seem to have more time than I during regular working hours:

Covenant Zone: Guy Earle Trial Part 2

Bullet Proof Courier has a site set up solely for the hearing: The Guy Earle Trial

BCF is on top of things, as usual: Kavalkade of Kangaroo Justice

My own take is here.

I’m going to leave you with a parting shot from Natasha, from Moose and Squirrel:

Ya know, it’s so outrageous you want to laugh, as if watching some ridiculous comedy, then you remember it’s real, and these are real people being screwed over for big bucks.


Senator Calls for Inquiry on Erosion of Free Speech

March 29, 2010

From Stephen Taylor:

Today Senator Doug Finley rose in the Senate to give notice that he would “call the attention of the Senate to the issue of the erosion of Freedom of Speech in our country” and that this would be done through an inquiry.

Under the rules of the Senate, a minimum of two days must be given before a sponsoring senator can speak to an inquiry he or she would like to initiate. This means that Senator Finley is expected to speak to the issue next Tuesday at the earliest. Also, the sponsoring senator can provide a reply at the conclusion of the inquiry.

This move by Finley is likely in reaction to recent events by university officials and students at the University of Ottawa to intimidate US conservative commentator Ann Coulter from appearing on campus. Coulter’s scheduled speech was cancelled due to safety concerns this past Tuesday. The Senator will also rise during a time when federal and provincial human rights commissions have run amok, hearing complaints by politically offended groups and individuals.

The Ann Coulter cancellation at the University of Ottawa has further mainstreamed public opinion against censorship of speech drawing defense of the American firebrand by a broad cross-section of Canadian opinion-makers.

Finley’s call for a Senate inquiry will promote discussion of the values of free speech and will draw lawmakers to consider the broader view of how far this freedom has slipped away in Canada.


The Lynch List, 27-Mar-2010

March 27, 2010

It’s the weekend version of the Lynch List:

First, Joseph Brean at the National Post confirms that the closing of the CHRC offices is a PSAC tempest in a teapot.

Second, Mark Steyn picks up on what I’ve called the “land-mine of Human Rights euphamization”:

In a way, this is the logical reductio of the state ownership of human rights. In the degradation of Trudeaupia, human rights ceased to be (as they were in Magna Carta) restraints upon the King by the citizenry, and became instead restraints upon the citizenry by the Queen (Jennifer Lynch, QC). In her recent speeches, Chief Commissar Lynch has redefined “human rights” further into a synonym for her crappy bureaucracy. Now the “public” “service” union has come clean and admitted that in Canada “human rights” is defined as “jobs for life for statist hacks with benefits you can only dream of”.

In other words in Canada, you measure “human rights” by the size of the bureaucracy.

Third, a letter-writer realizes that the OHRC and Tenancy Act stacks the deck against landlords – and the Star actually prints it!

The Ontario Residential Tenancies Act, free tenant legal representation, the Ontario Landlord Tenant Board’s policies, and even the Ontario Human Rights Commission, whose housing policy requires landlords to “accommodate” tenants’ physical, emotional and financial needs to the point of the landlords’ “financial hardship,” all contribute to a system that encourages abuse.

If these factors are not investigated and addressed, good tenants will continue to suffer with higher rents (required to offset the costs of those playing the system), private affordable housing will continue to disappear as new prospective landlords are deterred from investing, current landlords will exit the rental market in frustration and taxes/user fees will increase as the various levels of governments must supply more affordable housing units.

Fourth, the Liberal Government of Ontario has effectively given the middle finger to their own Human Rights Commission. After the Tribunal ruled that its Special Diet Allowance was discriminatory and must be expanded, the government has now pulled the plug on the whole program. It sends a message loud and clear: If the Human Rights bureaucrats want to abuse their power and run the government’s programs, let them come up with the funds themselves.


Extra! Extra! CHRC Offices Cut by Harper Government

March 26, 2010

Oops, not so fast, says BCF.

It’s a standard political ploy: give with one hand while taking with the other.

The Harper government has decided to close CHRC satellite offices in Halifax, Toronto, and Vancouver. Listen to the pathetic whining from the union that represents the CHRC employees:

Harper government attacks human rights

Closure of CHRC offices will punish marginalized people

OTTAWA, March 25 /CNW Telbec/ – The Public Service Alliance of Canada condemns the Harper government’s decision to close Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) offices in Vancouver, Toronto and Halifax. The union maintains that the closure of the three offices will make it substantially harder for individuals from marginalized groups to launch human rights complaints.

Such is the landmine that has been planted by all the euphemistic branding of the Commissions and Tribunals as “protecting human rights”, when in fact they are doing the exact opposite. When any government (or individual, for that matter) takes any action to rescue our fundamental freedoms from these grievance-hucksters, the headlines practically write themselves.

But is the Harper government really reducing the reach of the CHRC?

Nope.

Yet a spokesperson for Justice Minister Rob Nicholson says “The Canadian Human Rights Commission is an independent agency that administers the Canadian Human Rights Act without interference from the Government. This internal re-organization was a decision made by the Commission without direction or input from the Government.”

While the union sees this as part of the Conservative government’s attempts to undermine human rights groups, documents filed with Parliament show the CHRC is set to grow, not shrink. Despite the looming office closures the CHRC’s budget is expected to grow from $21.5 million in the current fiscal year to just under $23 million in 2011-2012 fiscal year. The number of employees is set to rise as well from 197 full-time equivalencies to 203.

Pfft. Brian Lilley also notes the government’s refusal to do anything substantial about the system:

A planned review of section 13 was underway prior to prorogation but has so far not resurfaced at the Justice Committee. Minister Nicholson, despite voting for a resolution to repeal section 13 at a Conservative Party policy convention in 2008 has never expressed a similar desire in Ottawa and has always deferred on the issue to the Committee. Prime Minister Stephen Harper has similarly shied away from any attempt to alter the work of the Commission, saying that while he understands some people have concerns, “the most egregious” cases he says are at the provincial commissions.

We’ve got our work cut out for us at the federal level.


The Lynch List, 25-Mar-2010

March 25, 2010

This List will not mention Ann Coulter, I promise.

First, Mark Steyn on a certain American conservative pundit, who happens to be a woman, sums it up nicely.

Translated from the original Canadian, “diversity” means “state-mandated mob-enforced conformity.” As for whether “it works” for Canadians, ask Guy Earle.

See Binks for tons of links on the subject of the aforementioned pundit.

Second, the OHRC believes an employee has a human right to pick and choose his/her own employment hours, if they are caring for a disabled relative.

Third, the bed and breakfast owners in Grand Forks, BC, are set to appear before a Tribunal on May 4 and 5. There the Tribunal will be decide who is entitled to use the Christian couple’s private property.

Fourth, a letter-writer commends the Abbotsford School District who is currently being hauled in front of the BC Human Rights Tribunal for increasing parental involvement in their childrens’ education:

The Star Chamber mentality of our overweening BC Human Rights Tribunal is truly terrifying. This unelected, non-representative, quasi-legal body has arrogated increasing powers for itself, to the point where Canadians must truly be fearful of what they say in the public marketplace.

[…]

It’s time for all of us to implore our federal government either to give the tribunals a clear and strictly limited mandate, or preferably altogether disband the human rights tribunals that have become such a scourge to our nation. It’s time for all of us to appeal to our provincial government to find the courage to re-empower parents with a greater voice and responsibility for what their children are taught.

Fifth, Scaramouche on the OHRC’s campaign to collect human rights-based data, making a salient point about the definition of such data:

…data which, in a non-“human rights” context is often called “racial profiling”