The Lynch List, 25-Feb-2011

February 25, 2011

First: Our brave Human Rights Tribunals are working hard for those accused of assaulting and threatening their boss to keep their civil-service job:

Bradford Junkin filed the complaint over the loss of his job in February 2008 with the B.C. sheriff’s service.

His dismissal came two months after he was charged with assaulting and uttering threats against his superior officer.

Second: A Victoria employer was found to be guilty of discrimination on the basis of sex because he did not hug his male employees as much as his female ones. While it’s certainly inappropriate for any employer to “hug” an employee in the manner described in this case, I wonder if he would have been acquitted if he hugged his male employees too. Oh, and those hugs cost $10,000. Repeat after me – remedial, remedial, remedial…

BCF has more on the case of the serial hugger.

Third: Maybe the Human Rights Commissions can do some good in this case – where Quebec’s courts are deeming any religious symbol in a taxi to be “contraband“.

Fourth: Barbara Hall, apart from never playing a hockey game in her life, wants to take hitting completely out of the NHL game. I’m sure her OHRC will get right on that. Oh, and she manages to somehow ensure that her views on capital punishment are publicized in an interview about hockey.

If I might borrow a quote from the “infamous” Mike Milbury, I think Barbara is certainly an expert in “pansification”, and not just concerning hockey.

Fifth: Here’s a wonderful open question that I encourage you to answer: What human rights are ignored in Canada? (hint: start with the Charter’s section 2)


The Lynch List, 23-Feb-2011

February 23, 2011

First: The union representing most HRC workers in Canada, PSAC, has had its legal challenge dismissed in federal court. Under pressure by the Tribunal (whose workers are also members of PSAC), the federal government gave $3.6 billion of taxpayer dollars to settle a pay-equity complaint. The union wasn’t satisfied; it challenged the rules set out by the government as to retroactive taxation on the settlement cash. No dice, says the federal court. Maybe the real courts are immune to conflicts of interest…

Second: More commentary on the Saguenay case that is going to judicial review. From the Calgary Herald:

Hard to see how Simoneau’s freedom of conscience was breached, since it is unlikely Tremblay held a gun to Simoneau’s head and forced him to recite the prayer.

Third: A good comparison between Pakistan’s evolving blasphemy laws and Canada’s own weapon of censorship. From the Activate CFPL blog:

[Pakistan entered] on a less moderate path that incrementally altered the original British law until it became only illegal to criticize Islam, and then legislated that essentially an individual would be punished if simply accused by one other of criticizing the prophet Mohammed.

This is not dissimilar to the establishment of Human Rights Commissions to administer [the] Human Rights Codes in Canada. The commissions and legislation originally intended to encourage acceptance, or at least tolerance, for one another (not necessarily agreement or approval) have been twisted into weapons directed toward those who disagree or disapprove. Also similar, is the use of these laws by a minority of zealous activists to punish those who intend simply to live freely in a democracy based on their own conscience – and, often, innocent and harmless principles of belief.

Fourth: Mark Steyn not altogether comfortable with being labeled a “human rights activist” (scroll down)

A while back, Ezra Levant took part in his umpteenth “free speech” debate, and got put up against somebody labeled a “human rights activist”, which translated out of Trudeaupian means “taxpayer-funded identity-group hack in favor of giving the state more and more power to regulate every aspect of human existence”.


The Lynch List, 21-Feb-2011

February 21, 2011

Back on track, unlike the federal Tribunal…

First: Some strong words from the Quebec legislature, or so Don McPherson of the Gazette interprets:

To hell with the Quebec human rights tribunal. And while we’re at it, to hell with the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

That was the message of the Liberal government and the Parti Quebecois opposition this week when they reiterated their determination to keep the Catholic crucifix in the National Assembly, after the tribunal ruled it must be removed from the Saguenay city council chamber.

As was discussed earlier, the Tribunal had insisted on “neutrality” in all public proceedings. In its bizarre definition of “neutrality”, it forbade “abstaining completely from praying or displaying religious symbols”. It appears that only those religious that employ expressions of prayer or the display of symbols are to be barred from national legislatures. These Tribunals appear to be quite adept at state-sponsored discrimination.

But even more interesting, this is shaping up to be a collision of an unstoppable illiberal force (the human rights movement) and an immovable illiberal object (Quebec’s obsession with its identity). Fun times ahead.

Second: Once the Quebec human rights tribunal starts dictating religious practices in Saguenay’s town hall, the good people of that town unite:

Saguenay officials says a fundraising drive has pulled in $23,000 on the first full day of a high-profile bid to collect funds for its legal battle against those who want to stop prayers at council meetings.

All the credit to Saguenay’s council and especially mayor Tremblay for appealing this decision.

Third: You would think that business owners in modern Canada would know better than to invoke some archaic notion of “employer’s prerogative“. I mean, it’s almost as if some misinformed Canadians believe they have the right to property ownership or something. Preposterous.

Fourth: Who knew? Rich Mullin at cfl.ca reveals that the Ontario Human Rights Commission almost succeeded in destroying the Canadian Football League in the 1960s:

Of course, teams started to take advantage of this rule, so in 1965 number of Naturalized Canadians on each roster was limited to three. However, one player who was released due to this new quota went marching off to the Ontario Human Rights Commission, which ruled that it was unlawful to discriminate employment based on citizenship, threatening all roster management. 

Fifth: The AODA (Access for Ontarians with Disabilities Act) website commends the Ontario Human Rights Commission for threatening the McGuinty government with complaints should it allow all municipal transit systems to grandfather in “non-accessible” buses. In the typical language of the inversion of rights, the site characterizes the purchase of a non-accessible bus as “creating new barriers against passengers with disabilities”.

Funny, I thought it was the disability itself is the barrier that prevents them from doing what able-bodied people take for granted. Silly me.


The Lynch List, 16-Feb-2011

February 16, 2011

A big List today; enjoy it ’cause you won’t get one on Friday…

First: The CHRT is in “turmoil”, says a Postmedia article. Several lawyers have expressed dismay at the slow pace of cases moving through the Tribunal, blaming the delays on staff departures, internal issues, or several key positions not being filled.

As first reported by the Citizen in January, more than half the tribunal’s staff has left for other public service jobs or has been sidelined by stress since the appointment of Shirish Chotalia, a Calgary lawyer named to the post by the Harper government in late 2009. 

According to the Public Service Alliance of Canada, five employees — roughly a quarter of the staff — have filed harassment-related complaints against Chotalia.

Those interviewed also complain about several changes that the incoming chair has made to the process, changes that make things a little more difficult for the complainants and get some complaints dismissed faster. And that’s a bad thing? Oh wait, these are human rights lawyers and public sector unions…

Second: Many human rights decisions have unintended consequences. Gee, ya think?

For example, the CHRC – in a decision that will unintentionally make it more difficult for young men and women with families to find good employment – awarded Fiona Johnstone over $35,000 in damages, plus lost wages and benefits because her employer would not bend over backwards to accommodate her request for a specific work schedule after she returned from maternity leave…

 In effect, Johnstone wanted to be insulated from the natural consequences of her own life-choices. And, more significantly, she wanted the Canadian taxpayers, her fellow employees, and men and women of similar circumstance to foot the bill for her life-choices. So, she complained to the CHRC…

However, as the old adage goes, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Since the CBSA is a government agency, any costs awarded against it will ultimately be paid by Canadian taxpayers. In addition, Johnstone’s fellow employees will shoulder some of the burden. Since Johnstone was unwilling to work undesirable hours, her fellow employees had to pick up the slack and work those hours in her place. Granting Johnstone a greater degree of flexibility and choice means that other CBSA employees suffered a corresponding lesser degree of flexibility and choice.

Third: The BCHRT may have had the wool pulled over their eyes in this case. A woman had a consensual relationship with her boss, and then complained to the tribunal when her breakup with him led to demeaning text messages, and a reduction of hours. $30,000 later, I’d like to know if this “office flirt” (who called her male colleagues “boy toys”) used the relationship as a means to get the job and an increase in hours to begin with.

Either way, I can’t bring myself to feel bad for anyone who mixes work with romance. It simply never ends well.

Fourth: More on the crucifix and prayers at Saguenay’s city hall:

The crucifix is staying at Quebec’s National Assembly, despite this ruling, says the Gazette.

A letter-writer says exactly what I’ve been thinking:

[The Tribunal] has handsomely awarded atheist Alain Simoneau $30,000 for asserting his right to the freedom of being an atheist while denying others their freedom of religion to say a prayer for guidance in conducting business on behalf of their taxpaying citizens.

Fifth: Howard Levitt weighs in on the Telfer case. Specifically, he comments on the credentials of the Tribunal members handling this case. As we all know, the background of most human rights tribunal members are better suited to be sitting in the complainant’s legal counsel chairs, not the judge’s seat:

In past columns, I have decried the inherent unfairness of the tribunal process. All complaints of discrimination, regardless of their lack of merit, qualify for a hearing. The employer is generally extorted to offer a settlement to avoid the greater expense of the hearing. Even if the employer is successful, they cannot recover those costs.

Less noticed is that the vice-chairs making these decisions are mainly drawn from the ranks of advocacy groups and union lawyers.

The profile of Bhabha, for example, shows a background of representing numerous public interest organizations and NGO’s and, specifically, clients who are disadvantaged by disability, race, gender and/ or poverty in issues related to employment as well as working in human rights advocacy in Israel/ Palestine and South Africa. He has a Masters from Harvard and is an adjunct professor at Osgoode Hall Law School. David Wright, chairman of the tribunal, was formerly employed as a lawyer acting for trade unions and has no record of representing management.

Sixth: Okay, I’m sure you’re sick of hearing this, but so am I. Another Tribunal decision has been shredded by the courts and sent back for reconsidering. The federal court found that there might be a danger in requiring Air Canada to have octogenarians pilot their jets. The Tribunal has been asked to reconsider whether age can be a bona fide occupational requirement in safety-critical situations like piloting a 747. Thanks for the injection of brains, feds.


The Lynch List, 14-Feb-2011

February 14, 2011

Ho hum, just another day in February… (What was that, honey?)

First: A Quebec mayor has been fined $30,000 for praying before council meetings, payable to an offended atheist city councillor. Strangely, the Quebec tribunal has termed these “moral” damages.

I submit this query as I always do – isn’t conducting meetings according to atheist, secularist, or humanist beliefs also discriminatory? There is no such thing as “neutrality”, despite QHRT claims.

Second: We now have an “unusual situation” in which the BCHRT has awarded costs to the defendant!

A woman who filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal alleging sexual harassment by an employer has been ordered to pay the company $3,500 for dropping her complaint one day before a hearing…

A lawyer for [the respondent] claimed preparing the case cost more than $35,000 and wanted more than $5,000 in damages.

[The Tribunal] ruled $3,500 is sufficient to signal the tribunal’s condemnation of Ms. Samuda’s conduct.

Small price to pay for bilking your former employer for $35,000 in legal fees and dragging its reputation through the mud, but it’s a start.

Third: It’s an oldie but a goodie – if you haven’t read about the CHRC’s refusal to investigate Imam Al-Hayiti for a book with a long list of discriminatory statements, here’s a review. The book includes the approval of slavery, the claim of ethnic superiority, and a statement that a man’s intellect is superior to that of a woman.

The CHRC weaseled out of doing any sort of investigation. As the author states:

The purpose of my complaint was to test the objectivity of the Commission.

[…]

[In conclusion,] if you belong to a minority, you can with impunity propagate hatred and contempt against the majority. You are not held to the same standards of tolerance, respect and civility as the majority. Equality under the law, according to the Commission, does not exist anymore.

Fourth: Creepy. There is a lot in common between Sharia and Canada’s “human rights law”.


The Lynch List, 11-Feb-2011

February 11, 2011

First: The BCHRT has ruled that a trade unionist sh*t-disturber may receive human rights employment protection under “political belief” as long as there is any evidence of adverse treatment on the basis of union activism. It dismissed this complaint because no evidence of adverse treatment was given, but the implication is clear:

…there must be some alleged comment or conduct to connect the adherence to, or expression of, an identified political belief to the alleged adverse treatment.

h/t Carmella Allevato

Second: The requirements of the Human Rights Act has resulted in a Ph. D in psychology a core requirement for any human resource professional. In order to stay onside with the “religious accommodation” clauses, employers must be able to differentiate between a “sincerely held belief” and mere preference:

Sincerity can be assessed by analyzing whether the alleged religious belief is consistent with the individual’s other current religious practices. Therefore, where an employee’s religious belief is less clear, the employer can inquire into the sincerity of the belief by considering the following:

  • The spiritual or moral nature of the belief, or both
  • Previous religious experience
  • The relationship between those previous religious beliefs and current beliefs
  • The connection between the religious belief and the requested accommodation
  • The extent to which the religious beliefs are applied in the employee’s daily life

Third: It’s American, but entirely appropriate (click to enlarge):


The Lynch List, 9-Feb-2011

February 9, 2011

First: If a complainant can’t even bother to write down the correct address of the respondent, should any more tax dollars be wasted on the issue? Yes, according to Ontario’s tribunal. If the Notice of Application cannot be delivered by the Tribunal, yet another hearing can commence specifically for the complainant to argue whether (s)he took reasonable steps to ensure that the address was correct:

If the applicant believes that any address previously provided is in fact current, complete and accurate contact information for the respondent, then the applicant shall provide the reasons for that belief, and the steps taken to verify that the address is current, complete and accurate.

Giving new meaning to the term, “bending over backwards”…

Second: Bill Siksay’s “bathroom bill” seeks to expand the mandate of the CHRC:

It is also important that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has an explicit educational mandate on issues related to the experience of transsexual and transgender Canadians.

Third: JR inquires into the missing body parts of our politicians when it comes to the HRCs, and the indomitable wit of Scaramouche:

What’s happening here, I’d suggest, has far more to do with the Commissars flexing their muscles and justifying their benighted existence than it does with helping those who have mental health problems.