The Lynch List, 12-Jan-2011

First: MP Maurice Vellacott makes a good point in his rebuttal to the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal on the denial of marriage commissioners to act upon their consciences:

The Saskatchewan Court of Appeal stated that the obligation to solemnize same-sex marriages does not affect or interfere with the core elements of a commissioner’s religious freedom: the freedom to hold beliefs and the freedom to worship. The Court has hereby belittled religious faith by writing it off as something “you do in your head or on weekends” without it impacting all of a person’s life. This crowding it into a corner or to the edge of the gangplank is a secularist push premised on a false dichotomy.

Some commissioners are already speaking out: “They’ll have to fire me“.

Second: The Human Rights Tribunals overstep their jurisdiction yet again. At issue in this case is whether a Tribunal can overturn decisions by the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding policies for disabled people on federally-regulated transportation systems. Specifically, it regarded whether Air Canada could require a sight-impaired man to bring an attendant with him on a flight. This has far-reaching implications on the ability of the Tribunals to interfere and overturn decisions by other administrative bodies:

Thus, the argument came down to this: should the commission’s undoubtedly broad jurisdiction to deal with human rights complaints survive the creation of a more specific regime under which certain complaints, with a human rights component, were assigned to the agency?

Federal Court handed down its decision in September, in which a lily-livered judge declined to draw a line:

Justice O’Keefe of the Federal Court elected not to address the factual issues, but confined himself to addressing the question of jurisdiction. After a review of the facts and case law, he concluded that “one could conceive of cases” in which “the Commission and Tribunal might have jurisdiction”, but that they had exceeded their jurisdiction in the present case.

Weasel words. In other words, we caught you this time, Tribunal, but go ahead and keep trying to overstep your bounds. Your respondents will run out of cash eventually…

The decision is under appeal, to the Federal Court of Appeal, I’d assume. Let’s hope they provide a little more guidelines on this.

Third: I’m still not sure that I have ever understood this logic. Discrimination on the basis of sex is illegal. Only women can breastfeed. Therefore, any law, policy, or private act that restricts where, when, and how women breastfeed is discriminatory.

Let’s try out that logic on something else. Discrimination on the basis of sex is illegal. Only men can pee while standing up. Therefore, any law, policy, or private act that restricts where, when, and how men pee while standing up is discriminatory. (It works better if you use another bodily function that only men can do, but this is a family blog.)

Fourth: Blogger Christopher Di Armani is onto what the OHRC is trying to do with their “mental health survey”:

The Ontario Human Rights Commission (OHRC) obviously doesn’t have enough real cases of human rights violations to investigate, so they’re looking to create some new ones…

Are mental health issues, or drug and alcohol addiction serious problems?  Absolutely.  Do they cause people to lose their jobs, or not get hired in the first place?  Absolutely.

Does that make it a human rights violation?  Not for a second.  There is no “right to employment”, and nor should there be one.

Fifth: So. Mind-Numbingly. Wrong.  Troy Media publishes yet another sop to the human rights industry. At least the author, Linda McKay-Panos, gets one thing right, the Marxist underpinnings of any anti-discrimination legislation:

Many human rights advocates hope section 15 will also – eventually – require government to eradicate social inequalities, especially poverty, which limit the access of many Canadians to justice, health care and education.

But for the rest, it is the usual unsubstantiated assumptions and political pap of “all Canadians want this” and “all Canadians want that”. Let me know, Linda, if you want to debate this topic sometime.

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