The Lynch List, 31-May-2010

May 31, 2010

The last Lynch List for May…

First: A B.C. Human Rights Tribunal will be asked today to decide whether a homeless person has a right to sit down on a sidewalk without being harassed by private security guards. Of course, the Tribunal would never rule on whether common citizens have the right to walk the streets without being harassed by homeless people, but I think we all knew that.

“Sidewalks are the issue,” said John Richardson, executive director of the Pivot Legal Society, on Sunday. “An important part of security guards’ job is removing the homeless from downtown. There have been hundreds of illegal removals.”

The two-year-old complaint was brought against the Vancouver Ambassadors, a privately funded security organization, whose mandate is to address “quality of life” issues such as panhandling, littering and illegal vending.

“When a super-marginalized homeless person is just sitting down because they are not doing well, tremendous harm is created when they are removed,” said Ann Livingston, a volunteer with the Vancouver Area Network Drug Users, which is a co-complainant with Pivot.

That’s the first I heard of yet a new level of privileged status before the state: super-marginalized. Do they get more rights than the ordinary marginalized?

Second: Christie Blatchford on the Tribunal complaints against Ontario ombudsman Andre Marin:

And now these complaints to the Human Rights Tribunal, which appear far less about discrimination and a culture of fear than about a demanding boss and a campaign of productivity. Should this tribunal really be hearing complaints from people so fragile they count good mornings?

Third: The Gator Ted’s dilemma has now gone all the way up to our federal Health Minister. Ted is the bar owner who was hauled before a Tribunal for asking a medical marijuana smoker on his premises to butt out – which is required of him by the province’s liquor laws.

Fourth: Mark Steyn notes the long, slow death of Section 13 and a note of encouragement for all of us:

From time to time I get e-mails from supporters of Ezra and me in our battles against the Canadian thought police wondering whether the campaign’s worth it. Yes, it is. The wheels of kangaroo “justice” grind exceeding slow, but two-and-a-half years after we began this thing, Section 13 is unenforceable and suspended – and not just for noisy, deep-pocketed types like me and Maclean’s but for no-account, nickel-and-dime hatemongers, too.

Fifth: Charles Lewis at the National Post on the confusion caused by the Christian Horizons decision

Finally, Americans look to Canada for examples of what censorship is like, maybe Ali Mallah will bring his racism complaint against Blazing Cat Fur to the OHRT, and the Nanaimo Minor Hockey Association caves to the BCHRT.

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Section 13 is Currently Inoperable

May 28, 2010

The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal has adjourned a Section 13 case currently before it, pending the outcome of the CHRC vs Lemire judicial review before the Federal Court. From the reasons for adjournment:

It is now up to the Federal Court to determine the operability of s. 13 of the CHRA. This will achieve the clarity that the Commission has indicated and that I agree is desirable in order to allow the Tribunal to be able to determine this and other cases brought under s. 13 of the CHRA.

A brief reprieve from state censorship, but it only further highlights the monumental importance of the outcome of Lemire.

h/t BCF


Corcoran Complaint Dropped

May 27, 2010

The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal complaint launched by Jim Corcoran against the Catholic church has been dropped. Corcoran accused the diocese of Peterborough and several of his fellow parishioners of discriminating against him on the basis of sexual orientation when he was removed as an altar server, a volunteer position, upon written complaints. The Human Rights Commission accepted the complaint, and the Tribunal required the respondents to submit statements of defence and attend a mediation hearing.

Read the whole story.


The Lynch List, 27-May-2010

May 27, 2010

It’s all about Quebec today…

First: The Quebec Human Rights Commission is following its sister Commission in Ontario on the racial profiling issue. One, claim that a massive problem exists in the absence of causative evidence. Two, assume that government coercion is the best way to deal with it. Three, hold a “hearing” in which you give handpicked participants a forum to make unsubstantiated anecdotes, in an effort to  “alert the public.”

Second: Ever been called a liar? The Quebec Human Rights Commission thinks that the pain and suffering from enduring such a horrific insult should be worth about $18,000.

Third: A reasoned analysis of the Lemire vs CHRC appeal

Fourth: The CHRC will be holding another forum in November, focusing on such things as “workplace enablers” for aboriginal people. Is that yet another euphemism for affirmative action? Maybe you should take their survey and give them some constructive suggestions. (h/t Scaramouche)


The Lynch List, 25-May-2010

May 25, 2010

Getting back on the horse…

First, the Christian Horizons appeal decision can be found here. Here’s a summary from my cursory examination:

1) The Tribunal was found to have erred when it would not consider Christian Horizons as a religious organization, and therefore qualifies for an exemption to discrimination laws under section 24(1)(a).

2) The Tribunal was found not to have erred when it decided that the nature of the complainant’s position does not have a specified religion as a bona fide job requirement. This means that Christian Horizons was still wrong to fire Ms. Heintz, a caretaker, on account of her homosexual lifestyle. This also aligns Canadian human rights law with that of Britain, where churches can be forced to hire openly gay employees, something I consider to be a major affront to our supposed freedom of association.

3) The appeal court refused to revisit the issue of whether Christian Horizons “allowed a poisoned work environment”. This does not mean that the Tribunal made the appropriate decision, but only acknowledges that they had some evidence.

4) The remedial order to allow the Commission to rewrite all of Christian Horizon’s employment policies was tossed out as unreasonable. In addition, the order to cease and desist from using the Morality Statement was rescinded. However, the ban of the clause within the Morality Statement forbidding same-sex relations was upheld. Other orders demanding “sensitivity training” were also upheld.

Hardly a resounding victory for any of the freedoms outlined in our Charter. This ruling was a temporary reining in of an overzealous OHRT, not the radical amputation that it so badly needs.

Some commentary from someone more qualified than I, here.

Second, the Toronto Police Service has officially been OHRC-ized. In completely unrelated news, the recruitment of police officers for the TPS has nosedived…

Third, what does an American think of our hate speech laws? Richard Shulman of the Examiner tells all:

Canada’s law violates the key legal principle of clarity.  The law is vague.  Aside from a list of specifics prohibited, the law also bans opinions that “could expose someone to hatred.”  What does that mean?  One cannot tell in advance.  It is up to what euphemistically is called the Canadian Human Rights Commission to decide.  The result: chilled freedom of speech.

Fourth, what happens when the exemption that aboriginals enjoy from our Human Rights straitjacket is repealed? They get to develop their own dispute-resolution process – on the taxpayer’s dime, of course.

Fifth, a great title to an op-ed: Hiring Based Solely on Merit, So Naturally There’s Uproar:

Neither the universities nor the minister have anything to apologize for. In fact, they should be congratulated for a good beginning of a program to quick-start Canadian research and development. Perhaps they may even set a precedent — that all federally funded hiring be based on merit rather than gender, but that’s probably too radical a thought to even be publicly expressed right now.


The Lynch List, 20-May-2010

May 20, 2010

Fresh for your Friday Morning Reading:

First, on the Christian Horizons appeal decision, which overturned much of the Tribunal’s ruling but still left many questions unanswered. According to The Record, both sides are declaring victory, contradicting each other in their interpretations of the ruling. I will hold my tongue until I get my hands on the ruling itself.

Second, the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commissioner David Arnot describes how he’d like to see the system changed here in Saskatchewan. Yes, he’d like to dissolve the Tribunal and have all hearings heard by the Court of Queen’s bench. But he also wants several other things, including:

Arnot says most Canadians don’t understand the Constitution, the basics of government or the Human Rights Code and he’d like to see a “new set of 3 Rs” taught in schools: rights, responsibilities and respect, similar to the program he inspired as provincial treaty commissioner.

So, if he can’t beat us all into submission with Tribunal orders, it’s now time to start the indoctrination of your kids. Human Rights Commissions lecturing anyone on the Constitution is far beyond any black kettle/pot cliche.

Third, want a look at the (redacted) manual for the CHRC’s investigations of Section 13 cases? It’s the one that Marc Lemire was repeatedly rebuffed for on Freedom of Information requests. The Privacy Commission rapped the CHRC for refusing, and forced them to supply the guide. Here it is. (Thanks Walker!)

Fourth, another victim group has come out of the woodwork in support of Section 13. The ACLC, which claims to represent all blacks just like the CJC represents all Jews, wants Section 13 preserved for the supposed safety of the black community. Strange, since there has never been a single anti-black piece of hate speech brought before the Tribunal.

Fifth, the Calgary Herald tells author Marci McDonald (who wrote a book about a big, scary, religious right), where to find the real scary fundamentalists – at the Human Rights Commissions.


The Lynch List, 18-May-2010

May 18, 2010

My apologies for the extended hiatus:

First: Great News! Christian Horizons has won their case to overturn a previous OHRT ruling! The OHRT had decided that the non-profit organization, which supplies care to the elderly and handicapped within the context of a Christian mission, was not allowed to restrict its hiring to those of the Christian faith. It awarded the complainant, a lesbian who had been let go by the organization, $23,000. It also forced the non-profit to revise its hiring policies “in consultation with the Ontario Human Rights Commission”.

The Ontario Divisional Court Justice didn’t like the idea of the OHRC running all of our non-profits and private businesses. It also sided with Christian Horizons on their position that it operates its facilities for religious reasons, therefore qualifying it for an exemption under the Human Rights Code. According to LifeSite:

The judge wrote: “It is clear that Christian Horizons operates its group homes for religious reasons – in order to carry out a Christian mission, imitating the work of Jesus Christ by serving those in need.”

“It would not be doing this work of assisting people with disabilities in a Christian home environment but for the religious calling of those involved,” the judge added.

The court also struck down a Tribunal directive forcing Christian Horizons to review its employment in consultation with the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Besides a resounding victory for Christian Horizons, it represents yet another high-profile decision by the Tribunals that was overturned in a real court. I’ve lost count…

Second: The BC Human Rights Tribunal believes that the act of distributing six letters to neighbors constitutes a public statement that falls under the Human Rights Code’s censorship provision. What is this complaint all about? The BCHRT is stepping into a neighborhood dispute between two people, siding with one because she happens to be a lesbian. Heeeeeere comes the strongarm – er – mediation!

Third: This just in – A Womens’ Study professor is considering a human rights complaint against Stephen Harper’s government for handing out research grants on the basis of competency, rather than sex. Another complaint alleging lack of discrimination on a prohibited ground…

Fourth: Dismissal of a complaint? Heck no, we haven’t even had our entertaining mediation session yet – and we also haven’t as yet fleeced the respondent for thousands of dollars in legal fees. The “legal duty to accommodate” needs to be decided on a case-by-case basis through Human Rights Tribunals, on the defendent’s – and taxpayer’s – dime.

Finally, a few insignificant pixels, but very true ones, pulled out of the blogosphere:

It is for that reason that attempts by government to censor hate speech, such as the Canadian Human Rights Commission or the “international organization” favored by French foreign minister Kouchner, as noted in an earlier post, are futile.  As intrinsically political organizations they must inevitably be blind to hate speech directed at their political foes, or “out-groups.”  I know of not a single instance of such an organization raising the least objection to the mindless demonization and villification of the United States, even when it was at its most extreme.  The only real antidote to hate speech is free speech.