The Lynch List, 29-Nov-2010

November 29, 2010

The last List for November coming your way…

First: The staunchest defender of the human rights racket, Pearl Eliadis, is out to defend her bread and butter with another editorial on why the peasants must be prevented from speaking their minds for their own good. She is responding to Mark Mercer’s recent editorial on how the censors are in fact facilitating the spread of “hateful” material through their “denouncing” activities. Besides making the amusing assertion that free-speech warriors are all on the right, there’s plenty more in her rambling, incoherent editorial:

Mercer’s unqualified opposition to “censorship” runs contrary to the law, both here and in most countries with legal systems worthy of that name.

[…]

This does not make the Superior Court of Justice a “censor.” What it does is to remove the “rights-shield” from defamatory speech

[…]

There are significant differences between supporting well-established legal exceptions to free speech and being a “censor.”

[…]

The free speech extremists conflate efforts to limit extreme forms of speech, like the ones mentioned above, with authoritarian and heavy-handed censorship. This is as intellectually dishonest as if I called Mercer a supporter of genocide because of his free speech position.

[…]

Finally, there is the issue of why commissions like the federal Canadian Human Rights Commission receive and investigate speech-related complaints. It is because it is in their legislation and, in one form or another, always has been. They are not “overstepping” or “expanding their jurisdiction” as many allege. Commissions are doing their jobs as mandated by Parliament in accordance with international human rights law.

So it’s not “censorship”, it’s just removing that annoying “rights-shield” from any speech that she disagrees with. In addition, apparently once censorship becomes a well-established legal exception to free speech, we’re not longer allowed to refer to it as “censorship”. I guess that goes without saying…

Second: Overheard in a Human Rights law office:

Complainant: What is the liability of the investigator of the Canadian Human rights Commission for biased and deliberately negligent investigation Report?

Lawyer: What actually happened?

Complainant: What happened is that investigator conducted the investigation and in the Reports is using logic, which is designed to protect the Respondent by all means.

Heh. Damn that infernal logic. God designed it to favor the respondent, so we must get rid of it!

Filed under “Pitfalls of Text-message Grammar”

Third: Um, hey Catholics, please don’t use the devil’s tools:

They are urging Catholics and others to contact the Star and also complain to the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Ontario Press Council about the article as inciting hatred towards Catholics and an attempt to intimidate a religious denomination to change its beliefs and internal disciplines.

The defamatory article is a humour piece by the Star’s Joey Slinger, which has since been taken down. You can see it on a forum here.

I guess at the very least, if a complaint is actually launched, the anti-Christian bias will be proven yet again…

Fourth: Your latest update in the Carasco vs Moon complaint: A fellow professor at the University of Windsor fires back at the laughable assertion that the Tribunal is objective and neutral:

Prof. West’s view that the human rights tribunal has a quasi-monopoly on objectivity and neutrality is clearly incorrect.

Fifth: Never forget to visit Binks!

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The Lynch List, 26-Nov-2010

November 26, 2010

Your Friday Lynch List:

First: The BCHRT just couldn’t pass this one up (also caught below by Walker). It was eventually dismissed, but the complaint was initially accepted and the Vancouver Police Board forced to fight it for five years. I mean, isn’t it time that the Code is amended to include “sexual expression”?:

The B.C. Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed the complaint of a Vancouver man who alleged he was denied a chauffeur’s permit due to his BDSM lifestyle and pagan beliefs.

Here’s the justification of pursuing the complaint from the judgment:

In Hayes (No. 1), the Tribunal also accepted for filing Mr. Hayes’ complaint of discrimination in services on the ground of sexual orientation. The Tribunal did so on the basis that discrimination against a person who practices a “BDSM lifestyle” could (not necessarily did) constitute discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Second: Gee, you know where this is headed after the first few paragraphs (my emphasis):

On the one side, supporters argue HRCs are needed as much as ever. On the other, extreme critics call for their disbanding.

Third: Barbara Hall accepts submissions for a report on the attacks against Asian anglers in Ontario, and her response is all-too-predictable.

Those that confirm her predetermined conclusion are accepted as fact.

Those that express concerns about conservation of fish stocks are filed under “expresses negative and discriminatory sentiments towards Asian Canadians”.

Fourth: Terry O’Neill in the Tri-City News on the broadening of human rights codes to include the poorly-defined terms of “gender identity” and “gender expression”:

Operating in such a fundamentally unjust framework, it’s not only counterproductive but also unfair to all Canadians to seek to broaden the list of the groups supposedly protected by federal human rights law.

Fifth: I am beginning to see (thanks Kevin) the serious ramifications of the Levant vs Vigna decision. Essentially, the judge has decided that any opposition to the HRC’s is unworthy of any of the typical defences for journalists in court. Scary stuff for anyone who publishes anything critical of the system.

Popehat, south of the border, launched a tirade that would get him arrested up here. I’ll quote a section that I think I’m legally allowed to, but I might get slapped with a suit for simply linking to a “far-right” site:

Vigna didn’t file this suit to salvage his reputation.  A prosecutor who would beg off from trial by whining about his inner feelings will have no reputation to save once word gets out.  Vigna filed this suit to stifle Levant’s legitimate criticism of his agency and his methods.  To make an example of Levant, and to warn more timid souls who would dare to criticize the censors of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.  To censor an inconvenient critic who couldn’t be silenced by the usual accusation of hate speech.


BC Human Rights Tribunal dismisses one complaint, leaves room for more

November 25, 2010

Via Natasha Barsotti at Xtra.ca, we learn that the BC Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed the case of Peter Hayes, who was denied a permit to become a chauffeur and took things to court:

The BC Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed the complaint of a BDSM lifestyler who says police denied him a chauffeur’s permit because of his sexual orientation.

However, the tribunal deliberately declined to rule on whether BDSM qualifies for protection from discrimination under BC’s Human Rights Code.

Instead, the Nov 23 ruling says the tribunal “assumed, without deciding, that BDSM could constitute a ‘sexual orientation’ protected by the Code.”

“I think the important thing flowing from this case is that the tribunal has left the question of whether BDSM identity could constitute sexual orientation open for another day,” Peter Hayes’ lawyer, Lindsay Waddell, told Xtra on Nov 23.

“It’s unfortunate that they didn’t stray into the definition of sexual orientation, but at least they didn’t draw any negative conclusions about that.

“That is something that I have no doubt will be tested by the tribunal again,” she adds.

Great. We’ll be, er…looking forward to it. H/t to BCF.


Mark Steyn: “three years on”

November 25, 2010

Mark Steyn, who critics of Canada’s HRCs will recognize from his battles with the BC and Ontario Human Rights Commissions, sums up the battle for freedom of speech in Canada three years after his ordeal:

It’s three years since Mohamed Elmasry and his sock puppets filed their suits, and, to be honest, I’d hoped we’d be further along in the campaign to restore free speech to a nation foolish enough to let a gang of totalitarian social engineers steal it away from them. For some, the issue remains mine and Maclean’s “whiteness”. For others, it’s about imposing new social norms and ever tighter bounds of acceptable discourse. As George Jonas puts it, the new “human rights” are nothing more than the tender sensitivities of favored groups.

Read the rest, if you want to feel somewhat depressed.

On the one hand, Canada’s HRCs have been rather effectively denormalized when it comes to policing certain activities, like speech. On the other, their defenders continue to lob lawsuits at their critics, and the mindset that led to the HRCs’ over-reach continues unabated.

Sigh…


The Lynch List, 24-Nov-2010

November 24, 2010

After a few monster Lists, it’s about time for a short one.

First: Max Yelden, former commissioner of the CHRC, claims that the federal and provincial Commissions are not in the “denouncing” business, as Mark Mercer earlier claimed. Oh really? Then what is this?

While freedom of expression must be recognized as a cornerstone of a functioning democracy, the Commission has serious concerns about the content of a number of articles concerning Muslims that have been published by Maclean’s magazine and other media outlets. This type of media coverage has been identified as contributing to Islamophobia and promoting societal intolerance towards Muslim, Arab and South Asian Canadians. The Commission recognizes and understands the serious harm that such writings cause, both to the targeted communities and society as a whole. And, while we all recognize and promote the inherent value of freedom of expression, it should also be possible to challenge any institution that contributes to the dissemination of destructive, xenophobic opinions.

If it walks like a denouncer, quacks like a denouncer, and looks like a denouncer, it probably is one.

Second: I missed this complaint that was launched at the end of September, but a friend politely reminded me of it. The parents of a Down’s Syndrome boy are demanding that their son’s dog be allowed in school. The school board is working towards it, even paying for the dog’s American-based trainers to shuttle up to Manitoba and train the teachers on how to handle the dog. Not fast enough, says the parents, who also dismiss the complaints from other parents who don’t want their children in the same classroom as a dog. Maybe another complaint can be filed with the Manitoba Human Rights Commission concerning a classmate who is allergic to dogs…

Third: Ah, yes. Their kids are allegedly bullied, so the parents look to the nearest deep pockets in order to cash in on their childrens’ misery. The bullies themselves? Not responsible. Who pays? The rest of the students, since the funding for their education is now diverted to pay for lawsuits, legal fees, and settlements. All this started by a BCHRT ruling that held school boards – and not the perpetrators – liable for bullying incidents.


The Lynch List, 22-Nov-2010

November 22, 2010

With a salute to University of Windsor Law Professor Emily Carasco, who is single-handedly dragging the entire Human Rights system into disrepute.

First: Carasco complains that the University of Windsor did not discriminate enough when considering her for the dean’s position:

In documents filed at the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario, she also claims her bonus of four percentage points for being a woman and a visible minority was insufficient, and a “deliberate attempt to lowball” her score and keep her out of the dean’s office.

Related: “Objective, neutral human rights tribunal?” What planet did you come from?

Second: HIV sufferers have a human right to conceal their condition from fellow employees, says Quebec’s human rights tribunal, even in food-preparation industries.

Third: White man belittles Aboriginal – that’s racism. Aboriginal belittles white man. That’s just an expression of frustration at being historically discriminated against. Endorsed by those who staff our Human Rights bureaucracies.

Memo to Drew Hayden Taylor: Stop being a racist.

Fourth: Mark Mercer on the censorship paradox: protesting against someone’s ideas often backfires, giving those ideas valuable publicity:

The Waterloo disruption succeeded in its limited aim of shutting the event down. But likely enough it will also result in increased sales of Blatchford’s book. It certainly earned Blatchford media coverage across the country.

Fifth: Ezra Levant lost his libel defence against Vigna, (great pic of Ezra, btw) and was ordered to compensate Vigna $25,000. While much ado is being made about this statement from the judge:

[Levant] spoke in reckless disregard of the truth and for an ulterior purpose of denormalizing the Human Rights Commission across Canada which makes his statements malicious in that sense.

I don’t think it’s any indictment on any efforts to denormalize the HRCs. Rather, all the judge was doing was establishing malice – that an ulterior motive exists to the libel. If I’m wrong, let me have it in the comments.

Sixth: As much as I may not like the notion of grappling with transgendered inmates (see the title), the Conservative government is going against the orders of the CHRT in refusing funding for sex changes in federal penitentiaries. The CHRT, of course, insists that sex change operations should be an essential medical treatment, paid for by moi et tu.

Seventh: Okay, sometimes the courts are even crazier than the Human Rights Commissions. The federal court felt that the CHRT didn’t go far enough in awarding the CPP nurses back pay and “pain and suffering” for not being paid as much as doctors. Gee, the court is quite generous with other peoples’ money.

Finally, Scaramouche nominates Barbara Hall for TSA chief!


If only the rest in the Liberal Party were so articulate

November 22, 2010

Interestingly enough, during the push-back against Human Rights Commissions in Canada, it has been members of the Liberal Party of Canada that have been at the fore.

Some might expect this position to be held by the Conservative Party of Canada – what with its libertarian and social conservative base members. However, while many in the Conservative Party of Canada base have internally expressed their desire for HRC reform, the party brass has, time and again, been too afraid to touch that particular file.

Indeed, even when it would have been fairly easy and fairly painless, the PMO has dropped the issue of the CHRC’s infamous Section 13(1): in the senate, after the last prorogue; through back-door routes by actually increasing the CHRC’s funding. Rod Bruinooge aside, the CPC just doesn’t seem to have the guts to take on the human rights industry in Canada.

The Liberal Party of Canada, officially, has not done much better. But it was a Liberal MP, Keith Martin ( who is, incidentally, resigning ) who introduced a private member’s motion calling for Section 13(1) to be scrapped.

And – with many thanks to Russ Campbell for finding this clip – a couple of months back, another Liberal member and supporter gave a very spirited defense of freedom of expression in the face of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Akaash Maharaj has served as the LPC National Policy Chair, was one of the authors of the party’s Red Book platform, and served on the party’s National Executive. And early in October, on The Agenda with Steve Paikin, he gave the following monologue:

Good for you, Mr. Maharaj. You’re a credit to your party. Now, if only we can get a few more to stand up and speak their minds…