The Lynch Mob, 29-Oct-2010

October 29, 2010

First: A particularly galling BCHRT decision loses in court – again. In 2005, Heather McNoughton ruled in favor of Rick Moore, and assumed the power to make funding decisions that were normally handled by the Ministry of Education. Specifically, to dedicate more resources to certain types of disabled students. Successive courts have now disagreed, stating that the Tribunal erred by insisting on positive discrimination when its mandate is only to remedy negative discrimination, or “disparate treatment”.

But the complainant, who claims to be of “modest means”, has deep enough pockets to take you and I taxpayer to the supreme court. Oh joy.

Second: The Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal didn’t like being smacked down by the courts – again – so it’s taking the Bill Whatcott decision to the Supreme Court of Canada. If you’ve been living under a rock, Bill Whatcott is a rather extreme anti-gay activist who has distributed flyers critical of the gay agenda in several instances, bringing him before HRTs, the courts, and even a censure from his employer.

Seems like the SCC docket is getting full of questionable human rights cases.

Third: I guess we could also file this one under “Why our Refugee System Stinks”, but the OHRT appears to be somewhat complicit in this as well.

An illegal immigrant since 1999 applied for refugee status, challenged the $500 fee in federal court, applied for health coverage in Ontario and was denied, and challenged that denial in court. Now having wasted a ton of taxpayer dollars in frivolous legal pursuits, she is now complaining to the OHRT that she is being treated differently than immigrants and refugees who play by the rules. On top of that, she demands that the OHRT grant her health coverage in Ontario. Luckily, the OHRT refused, even though it acknowledged that they had the power. Nevertheless, the fact that they’re even responding to this BS is perplexing to say the least.

Fourth: Joseph Brean at the National Post delves a little deeper into the dismissed complaint against a newspaper editorial in Prince Edward County.

Fifth: While it’s a good thing that Saskatchewan is moving further to get rid of its Human Rights Tribunal at the behest of its Commission, some of the other suggestions of the Commission are kind of freaky. Besides brainwashing teenagers, expanding the closed-door mediation system, and maintaining its gatekeeper function, Commissioner Arnot also wants to move towards a model of “systemic advocacy” championed by the OHRC, in which governments and businesses are pressured by the Commission to, among other things, adopt affirmative action policies. One step forward, one step back.

Sixth: If you haven’t heard already, Richard Warman, self-declared Human Rights Crusader, is on the warpath again. Now he’s suing Blazing Cat Fur. Go, show your support, and donate to the legal defence fund!


The Lynch List, 27-Oct-2010

October 27, 2010

First: It’s not a human rights case (yet) but it should be – I’ll be following quite closely the appeal concerning Quebec’s high school course on “ethics and religious culture” that has been forced on every single teenager in the province. If there ever was a human right, it’s the right of children to be free from government propaganda that tries to divide the beliefs of children from those of their parents. You know, that rarely-defended right to “freedom of conscience”.

Second: The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal – well, at least Comrade Wright – has declared it has no jurisdiction to hear complaints about newspaper editorials.

Alan Whiteley, a lawyer who lives in Picton, filed the complaint, arguing the contents of the editorial discriminated against an identifiable group — newly arrived “imports” to Prince Edward County. Adjudicator David A. Wright decided the tribunal “has no jurisdiction to scrutinize the content of newspaper editorials.”

Surprisingly, the OHRC agreed, and intervened for the rejection of this complaint. The OHRC? Really? The same OHRC that recommended to the CHRC to institute a National Press Council to govern what newspapers can and cannot print?

Third: Ah yes, the Human Rights Tribunal – the entity most likely to engage in the very racial categorization and stereotyping that it condemns (emphasis mine):

The hearing was adjourned in May because Bruce Robertson, Director of Toronto’s Licensing and Standards Division, revealed the City had photos of almost all taxi licence holders. He also said there were 3451 standard taxi licences operating in the City, with one third of them owned by corporations. As a result of that bombshell, it was decided to adjourn the case to allow for further study of the ethnic composition of the groups of licence holders. On October 29 there will be argument about the scope of that study and, in particular, whether corporate owners of standard licences should be included.

Racial quotas are just that – racist.

Fourth: Howard Levitt is the legal bulldog nipping at the fringes of the Human Rights system. In this column, he outlines how employers can go after “sick” employees, without getting a human rights complaint.


The Lynch List, 25-Oct-2010

October 25, 2010

I’m baaack, and have lots to talk about…

Off the top: The federal government, which intervened in Lemire to defend Section 13, has declined to intervene in the appeal before federal court. This is big news, as it signals a direction from the government away from defending Section 13.

First: An intervenor in the Carasco complaint is asking the HRTO to appoint Carasco as Windsor University’s law school dean – precisely because she is female and non-white:

In their application,  Women and the Law write about the importance of mentorship in legal education, what it would mean for women students and students of colour to have a woman of colour as Dean, and “the unique adminsitrative, curricular, and extra curricular approaches a woman of colour could bring to the adminstration of a law school”

I guess that’s exactly what the HRTO was designed to do – discriminate.

Second: The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has in the past been all too willing to second-guess municipalities when it comes to planning their transit systems, forcing them into costly re-routing to please a particular complainant. I guess they can only go so far with this. They declined to honor the complaint of a St Catherines woman to create a whole new transit system – just for her. Maybe if she tries again in a few years…

Third: Hmm. Should the HRCs get involved over Tamil ads promoting Rob Ford for mayor only because he’s straight? The Globe and Mail has already labeled them as “hateful”, so they must have hurt someone’s feelings. That’s all the evidence they need.

Fourth: Is there a limit to the right to be accommodated based on disability? A disabled man in Guelph says that every business he frequents has caved to his demands for accessibility save one – an old bookstore who already received a favorable review from the OHRC that exempted them from making prohibitively expensive renovations. That doesn’t stop our disabled crusader – he’ll litigate the store to death, beginning with a Human Rights complaint, just because he can.

Fifth: A flagging company doesn’t give a grossly overweight employee a shift. When he calls to ask why, they say they have concerns that he can’t stand up for eight hours straight.  Says BCHRT member Enid Marion:

Given the context in which the comment was made, it was serious, insensitive and understandably hurt his feelings.

$2,000 for hurt feelings. That will buy, oh, about 300 KFC Double Downs and another HRT complaint.

Sixth: A public service union believes that the reason that complaints to the CHRC have become so “adversarial” is because the Commission doesn’t have enough resources. Resources, presumably, to squash the respondent’s rights like a bug.


The Lynch List, 20-Oct-2010

October 20, 2010

First: Back and forth we go. Now the BC Court of Appeal has overturned the ruling of the Appeal Court, which overturned the BC Human Rights Tribunal decision that found Coast Mountain Bus Company guilty for instituting a program to reduce absentee rates. Now, the company has to exempt any employees with chronic sickness or disabilities from the program (recommended by BC’s auditor-general), in which employees who take too much “sick” time off work would end up losing their jobs. I wonder if the Tribunal will allow the company to require medical proof of such a disability or disease. Probably not…

Second: Will the Yukon Human Rights Commission investigate a case that involves a First Nations Chief? We will see…

Third:  Just a quote from a blog (gruesome picture alert) that I found particularly telling:

Many of my posts are illegal under the Ontario Human Rights Commission’s rules of fairness. Of course, if I said about Baptists or Catholics what I say about Muslims, I would be safe from the OHRC. Only Islam is protected, protected even from the truth of its teachings and history.

The Human Rights Commissions win only when we are too frightened of them to speak our mind.


The Lynch List, 15-Oct-2010

October 15, 2010

A light List for you this Friday:

First: Think the OHRT cares about collateral damage? After pressuring Ontario’s high school sporting organizations to allow girls onto boys-only teams, girl’s teams that have lost their best players are now folding across the province. Thanks to the OHRT, the opportunities for girls to participate in sports has declined.

Second: Holland’s court system seems to have taken on many of the facets of our HRCs. Geert Wilders, charged for uttering hate speech when he called for immigration reform and the banning of the Koran, is still before the courts despite the prosecution pleading for an acquittal. In fact, it was the court who started this whole debacle by ordering the prosecution to press the case that they didn’t want anything to do with.

Third: You learn something new every day. You have the human right to eat food on the transit system. Well, at least in Ontario you do.

Fourth: Vancouver City councillor Geoff Meggs, with well-known ties to big labour, is also none to happy about the consultations in BC into getting the BC Human Rights Tribunal out of workplace disputes. Gee, I wonder why.

Sixth: Great. Just great. Now the Federal Court has begun to order the CHRC to be more thorough in their inveistigations before they dismiss a complaint. That’s just what we need.


The Lynch List, 13-Oct-2010

October 13, 2010

Here we go…

First: It is now a crime for an employer to tell their employee to brush up on their English skills. Not only that, but if you call someone a “bimbo” at work, it’s $20,000 out of your pocket for “hardships” experienced.

Second: Okay, maybe we got a little ahead of ourselves when the BC government overhauled its Human Rights Tribunal. New acting chair Berndt Walter presented a brief that refuted the BCLI proposal to dismantle the Tribunal and transfer its employment-related cases to labour arbitrators and other agencies. It seems that he went to the same school of bafflegab as Jennifer Lynch: “Nothing’s wrong with the Tribunal! And if something is wrong, why can’t we just put on a fresh coat of paint instead of knocking it down?”

If public consultation, research, or review reveals concerns about the current employment standards, labour relations or human rights systems, consideration could be given to addressing particular concerns short of dismantling the current human rights system.

Third: Maybe this is how Elizabeth May got invited to the Leader’s Debate last federal election despite her party’s failure to ever win a seat. A mayoral candidate in Ottawa is demanding access to the debates and coverage of her campaign in local newspapers – because she’s a woman. And the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal is being asked to make that happen.

Mayoral candidate Jane Scharf has filed a human rights complaint after her ejection from a candidates’ debate on social issues last Thursday.

Scharf, who had not been invited to participate in the debate at the Bronson Centre, refused to leave the stage and was removed by police.

She said yesterday she’s being excluded from debates and ignored by media because of her gender.

Fourth: Mark Steyn is coming back to Canada, and will be speaking at the University of Western Ontario in November. Will we see the same lynch mob that tried to stop Coulter? Will some obscure dean at Western issue Steyn a stern warning that he could face charges or human rights complaints should he say anything unapproved?


The Lynch List, 08-Oct-2010

October 8, 2010

I extend hearty wishes for gastrointestinal health over this Thanksgiving weekend. I hope reading about the HRCs doesn’t contribute to any discomfort…

First: Both BC and now Alberta have “overhauled” their Human Rights apparatuses by installing new personnel, supposedly to ally some of the concerns about the bureaucracies. Nevertheless, the machinery still remains, and all it takes is for a less sympathetic government to install someone much, much worse. Don’t let these governments fool you: a benevolent dictator is still a dictator.

Second: Some more reaction to the CN Rail family-status decision:

Dufresne said the cases interpret the grounds of family status more broadly than previous decisions.

“There were some decisions that took the view that the grounds of family status had to be interpreted more narrowly than the other grounds and that provided less protection for parents with young children,” he said. “What these three decisions do is they reject that narrow interpretation and instead confirm that family status has to be interpreted broadly.”

He said the decisions are not binding on other panels, “but they are certainly very persuasive.”

Third: The Windsor Star calls for a “real debate on the need for the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario” in an editorial focusing on the complaint from Emily Carasco against Windsor University:

In other words, the tribunal has the power to effectively hire and fire at the University of Windsor, regardless of the impact on the institution. This is symptomatic of the trouble with the Ontario Human Rights Code that governs the tribunal — the code gives the tribunal carte blanche when it comes to remediation.

Fourth: An on-campus take on the Carasco complaint from the University of Windsor: