The Lynch List, 14-Sep-2010

First: Heather McNoughton, outgoing chair of the BC Human Rights Tribunal, prepared an advisory paper for the Yukon territorial government. Its object was to assist the government make a decision on whether to streamline its human rights system and put in place a direct-access Tribunal. In her essay, McNoughton roundly criticizes the BC government for reforming its human rights system for “ideological reasons”.

But more importantly, McNoughton advises on how to shield Tribunal decisions from the real courts: the introduction of a Privative Clause in the Code:

Decisions of the B.C. Tribunal are not appealable but are subject to “judicial review”. Judicial review is narrower than a right of appeal and focuses on whether the Tribunal has exceeded its jurisdiction. The standard of review applied by the B.C. Courts is set by statute and because there is no privative clause in the Code, the scope of the review tends to be broader than it is for those tribunal’s whose decisions are protected by a privative clause. In Ontario, the Tribunal’s decisions are protected by a privative clause.

A privative clause provides greater certainty and finality to Tribunal decision making.

Second: Has Syed Soharwardy seen the light?

At the time, Soharwardy argued the cartoons were a form of hate speech.

However, the leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Canada has been through a lot since then. You might say he’s had a change of heart about hate.

“My view of the human rights commission has changed almost 180 degrees,” he told Canwest News Service. “Especially about this Section 13, the freedom of speech.”

Um, nope: (emphasis mine)

He says he hopes his planned Freedom of Speech Centre can help Muslims and all Canadians explore ways to balance hate speech and free speech.

Third: Whatever happened to our human right to be free from smelling other people’s body odor? That right doesn’t exist anymore, thanks to Ontario’s new policy on scent-free workplaces. Neither does your freedom to wear whatever scented products you desire; the rights of anyone with “environmental sensitivities” trumps your own, always and everywhere.

Fourth: From McLean’s On Campus Blog, Should HRCs pick your faculty dean?

Humans Rights Commissions in Canada are the provincial and Federal bodies that will bring a comedian to court for making disparaging comments to a heckler, ensure your human right to breastfeed while in a public pool, and enforce your right to counsel rape victims at a women’s shelter, even against their vulnerable objections. Now the Human Rights Commission of Ontario has been asked to guarantee Emily Carasco’s human right (?) to a five-year term as dean of law at the University of Windsor.

Fifth: Your beer just got a whole lot more expensive:

Tyszka had hoped to obtain a back-to-work order that would have seen Sleeman accommodate his disability, but he said his settlement wouldn’t see him returning to work at the company.

“I feel great that it is over,” he said. “What I got, fit . . .”

Sixth: Anyone who believes that the Christian Horizons case was a victory for the faith-based group hasn’t fully comprehended the ramifications of the decision. In short, the Tribunal wanted to eradicate any semblance of Christian character in the organization. The courts, on appeal, only narrowed the eradication to the belief that homosexuality is against Christian teachings. So instead of abolishing belief in charitable workplaces, the government is dictating it. Sooo much better.

Seventh: Alberta thinks it can fix its Orwellian Human Rights system by reforming it. Gullibility lives on

“We had to change the governance of how it’s run,” Blackett said. “It has to be objective. It’s a quasi-judicial body that has to be run like one.”

3 Responses to The Lynch List, 14-Sep-2010

  1. Kevin says:

    I think scent-free policies represent a complete abandonment of science in favour of quackery and pseudo-medicine. There is not a single reliable medical study that supports the existence of “chemical sensitivities” or “environmental sensitivities”. (There are well-understood medical phenomena like asthma and allergies, but those can be accommodated without drastic measures.) The leading scientific consensus is that people claiming chemical sensitivity are most likely manifesting a more mental disorder (paranoia, depression, anxiety). While mental disorders are real and troubling, we do not help matters by pretending they are something they are not. “Scent-free” policies make things worse by actually validating the person’s belief that scents are harmful.

  2. Thanks, Kevin. Science doesn’t really seem to matter to the HRCs. I think we all know that they will support whatever quackery that generates more complaints.

  3. Kevin says:

    ALthough not HRCs (or not just, anyway.) The Bill you linked to was proposed by the House Leader for the Ontario government, and has to do with Occupational Health and Safety, not human rights.

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