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 In addition, the order to cease and desist from using the Morality Statement was rescinded.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Fourth, what happens when the exemption that aboriginals enjoy from our Human Rights straitjacket is repealed?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.