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?
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.