The Lynch List, 4-Feb-2011

First: Plenty of commentary flying around on the Maxcine Telfer case in which she almost lost her home – until a judge reversed the “fatally flawed” Tribunal decision.

Lorne Gunter: Run Afoul of the Rights Police, Lose your Home

Miss Marprelate: Ways to describe an HRT Adjudicator’s Words

Stand Up for Freedom: Workplace Squabble can Cost You Your House

Mararet Wente: The Case of the Smelly Lunch

Second: The free market discriminates against poor people, who are overwhelmingly black, says Asafo Addai in his human rights complaint. Therefore, the free market is racist and must be abolished. The hearing for this ridiculous complaint is set for this coming week.

Third: Though I’ve never worked at one, I can imagine that a shipyard is a blue-collar workplace. A black employee at the Victoria Shipyards is alleging a series of racial slurs and an incident in which a KKK hood was left with his belongings. While the incidents, if proven, are serious and should definitely be dealt with in some way, a human rights hearing is not the answer. Pretending to be “remedial” while handing out $35,000 fines doesn’t exactly qualify as a bridge-building exercise or a teachable moment.

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6 Responses to The Lynch List, 4-Feb-2011

  1. Kevin says:

    Serious question. When you say “the incidents, if proven, are serious and should definitely be dealt with in some way …” what do you imagine is the “some way”?

  2. Kevin: a very, very good question, and it needs to be answered in any discussion of abolishing the HRCs. How will genuine acts of racism be curbed? The key word in my statement is the word “should”, which implies a moral, not legal, obligation.

    Contrary to what the HRCs would have us believe, Canada is a remarkably tolerant society. The very first line of defence for this employee would be his own resources – engaging those who make such comments with reasonable dialogue. His fellow employees should listen and understand the pain and suffering they are inflicting on their colleague. Failing that, the supervisor or other employee authority should deal with it fairly and promptly, in a conciliatory fashion. Failing that, there are non-state ways to put pressure on the employer, including removal of services (quitting), media exposure, and/or censure from business or professional associations. Look at how much popular support a simple YouTube video can generate.

  3. Kevin says:

    Thanks for the response. I think your suggestion reflects a well-thought-out view of the appropriate role of the state/law in enforcing justice.

    But I don’t think it’s realistic. By the same token, we could scrap all of the systems put in place to prtect employees’ wages and vacation rights–we would simply trust employers to do the “right” thing, at risk of losing their employees or gaining bad PR. That’s never proven a successful means of protecting the vulnerable.

    Similarly, we had generations where we let society and the free market fight racism/sexism/homophobia without legal recourse, and there wasn’t much success.

  4. Kevin:

    I’d like to see a modern example of where this has been tried. I do believe that the state has a role to prevent/punish fraud and to enforce legal contracts (i.e. mutually agreed wages and vacation). But nobody would be “trusted” to do the right thing – we all have a responsibility to hold each other to account, though many have abdicated this to the state and the legal system.

    However, the fight against racism/sexism/homophobia will never be won via legal action. Punitive measures only force the problem underground, engenders resentment and entrenchment of positions. Bigoted employers and fellow employees will only live up to the letter of the law, circumventing any meaningful reformation of their character, and view those who are “protected” in even more of a negative light. Take one look at any landlord forum in Ontario to see what methods they are figuring out to work around the draconian housing policies of the OHRC and keep bad tenants out.

    Those who are discriminated against should be protected – that much is imprinted on the moral character of the vast majority of Canadians. Similarly, most of us believe that the infirm and the elderly should be visited. Yet there are no laws to compel us to do this, and some of our infirm and elderly languish in lonileness and despair. Such laws would be an infringement on our right to liberty, just as these employment laws are an infringement on our right to property.

  5. […] HUMAN RIGHTS MADNESS– The Lynch List, 07-Feb-2010; The Lynch List, 4-Feb-2011 …. […]

  6. […] HUMAN RIGHTS MADNESS– The Lynch List, 07-Feb-2010; The Lynch List, 4-Feb-2011 …. […]

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