The Lynch List, 28-Apr-2011

April 28, 2011

First: So here’s the story. An aboriginal woman, with a Master’s degree in “native studies”, gets a poor review from attendees to a workshop she is hosting. Apparently they believed that she was endlessly exaggerating the historical injustices of aboriginal peoples. After her employer terminated the agreement based on these complaints, she went to the Tribunal – who fined the government agency $20,000 for daring to listen to the complaints.

The Tribunal found fault with the Ministry for failing to “take great care to ensure that the feedback it relied upon was not infused with discriminatory beliefs.” Okaaaay, it’s now illegal to criticize identity “academics”.

Second: When positive economic rights are dressed up like human rights, there will inevitably be a gut-check time in which people come to the realization, “Just who is going to pay for this?” For many of us, genuine property rights would preclude any sort of claim that someone else has to your money. But our “human rights” codes and act don’t make any mention of property rights – they only mock them.

So we come to an emotionally-charged story of a young woman with cerebral palsy who is about to lose a free taxi service provided on the taxpayer’s dime through the TTC. Someone at the Transport Commission came to the realization that I noted above:

Hers is the kind of scenario transit officials expect to see more often as a growing demand for Wheel-Trans bumps up against the system’s financial challenges.

“We just don’t have enough resources … How do we make decisions around scarce resources when there are varying degrees of need in the community?” said TTC chair Karen Stintz.

But material constraints matter little to Human Rights Tribunals. So they’re off to file a complaint. I sympathize with the situation of this disabled woman, but wonder just how far the Tribunal will go before it too comes to the realization that public funds are limited.

Third: We’ve seen it a few times before: if you’re not around to defend yourself, the Tribunal will take the complainant’s word as verbatim for what happened. To top it off, there’s no appeal of Tribunal decisions.

Despite having an abysmal sales record, a kitchen designer managed to get a hearing without his employer around to defend himself. Suffice to say, there’s nothing to indicate that the complainant didn’t fabricate all his evidence – it was only corroborated by hearsay from his wife, a double no-no in any real court. At any rate, spousal hearsay is enough in a Tribunal to extract $15,000 from your hide.

Fourth: A nice letter on the Earle decision:

The Human Rights Tribunal ruling against comedian Guy Earle on the complaint of Lorna Purdy that she was insulted at his show at the Zesty Restaurant has crossed a red line against the stifling of freedom of speech, the lifeblood of a society of free men and women.

The B.C. government should take steps to remove the clause from the Human Rights legislation that prohibits speech that “may incite hatred or contempt” so that adult British Columbians are not treated as children in a playground under government supervision.

When there is a dispute between adults in matters of speech or assault, the existing criminal laws on libel, slander and assault, that can be contested in a real court, should be invoked by the plaintiffs


The Lynch List, 24-Apr-2011

April 24, 2011

No joking around here. After all, it’s a human rights violation to do so…

First: Furious reaction all over the ‘net to the Guy Earle ruling:

Ezra Levant: “The BCHRT said Pardy’s counterfeit human right not to be embarrassed by a comedian trumps the real right to freedom of speech”.

Mark Steyn: The Human Right Not To Be Offended

Las Vegas Review-Journal: “I hope this kind of thing never comes to America“.

Punch Line Magazine: “For comedians worldwide, the ruling sets a scary precedent and forces performers to ask some serious questions, namely, “Will the next thing I say on stage cost me $15,000?

Stand Up For Freedom: Points out Tribunal Member Murray Geiger-Adams’ penchant for redefinitions.

Moonbattery: A comic’s job is to ridicule people – but not the special people.

Scaramouche: Even Fox News picked it up!

Christopher DiArmani: “Welcome to British Columbia! We hope you’ve left your sense of humour at home

Brian Lilley: “In my view the whacky rulings were slowing down but…….seems I was wrong.”

Adrian McNair: But Earle never stood a chance

Kathy Shaidle at Pajamas Media and then at her own site.

Second: Yes, this case was eventuall dismissed. But it highlights exactly what activists are trying to use the Tribunals to do:

The issue in this Application is whether the Code applies to a monument erected on the grounds of a Catholic church and bearing the following inscription:
“Let us pray that all life rests in the hands of God from conception until natural death.” [Translation]

…The applicant explained in her submissions that she is deeply offended by the Catholic Church’s teachings on abortion and that she feels that they and the monument in question are discriminatory towards women.

It’s a weapon in their culture war. Fighting fair was never their intention.

Third: Just in case you thought freedom of speech was only being wrenched from the cold, dead, hands of comedians, consider the final resolution of this one out of Quebec:

The matter dates back to July 11, 2006. On that date, only workers of Chinese origin had been summoned to a meeting in the company warehouse to hear the owner’s criticisms. Mr. Rapps said through an interpreter: “This is Canada, not China. We take showers and shampoo every day, wash hands with soap, flush the toilet after use. Don’t piss on the floor…This is my kitchen, not yours. My kitchen, I want it clean. You Chinese eat like pigs.”

That tirade cost the company $150,000. In addition, the respondent was spat on by the Tribunal for daring to defend himself:

The judge (sic) noted that Calego International Inc. and its owner had attempted, during the trial, to minimize the nature of the discriminatory comments

Maybe Calego International missed the memo: there is no defence to a human rights complaint. The company is appealing, though; good on them.

Note also that the head of Quebec’s HRC waved his finger at the public, proudly trumpeting another newly-minted “human right”:

“This ruling serves as reminder that employers must abide by the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms which guarantees the right to… be treated with dignity.”

Fourth: Another complaint against a university for not being racist enough:

“When two candidates are judged equivalently meritorious, the principle of employment equity states the position should go to the member of the equity-seeking group,” Chan told QMI.

Fifth: Yet another invented human right. Did you know that you have the right to the same “quality of life” as everyone else?

It’s Official – BCHRT is the Grinch that Stole Humour

April 21, 2011

A decision has come down from the BCHRT on the complaint by Lorna Pardy against comedian Guy Earle and the restaurant at which Earle performed: guilty. (thanks for the link BCF) Free speech arguments do not apply at the BCHRT, says Tribunal member Murray Geiger-Adams in a less-than-artful dodge:

The respondents cannot challenge the constitutionality of s.8 of the Code on Charter grounds before the Tribunal, as the Tribunal does not have jurisdiction to decide the respondents’ Charter-based free speech arguments.

That’s dead wrong – the Supreme Court recently ruled that administrative Tribunals not only have the jurisdiction to consider Charter arguments, they are duty-bound to do so. In fact, the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal did exactly that in the Lemire case, refusing to enforce the same hate-speech provision in the federal Act on Charter grounds.

Earle was ordered to pay $15,000 to Pardy for “injury to feelings, dignity, and self-respect”. The restaurant was ordered to pay $7000 for the same.

The Tribunal has just injured the feelings, dignity, and self-respect of every single Canadian who holds our fundamental Charter freedoms dear.

More to come…

The Lynch List, 18-Apr-2011

April 18, 2011

First: Imagine that the crown prosecutor brings an acused to trial, but when asked by the judge, cannot say what the charges are. Changing his mind several times, the prosecutor appears to have no idea what crime the accused has committed. Nevertheless, the judge gives the prosecutor 14 days to sort out his charges, with the accused remaining imprisoned until then.

Kangaroo court? You bet!

Second: The 113rd chapter in “My Disability Gives Me the Right to Tell Others What To Do”: ready for some serious body odour when you go and vote on May 2nd?

According to the Chemically Sensitive, their right to vote precludes you from showing up at the polling station after having applied any personal hygene product that may trigger a reaction.

Third: Again, a he-said-he-said dispute finds its way to a Tribunal, in which only one of the “he” gets taxpayer funding and the other has to fend for himself…

The Lynch List, 14-Apr-2011

April 14, 2011

No truth to the rumor that the OHRC accepted a complaint against a charity soup kitchen for refusing to provide room service to an SRO occupant suffering from a hangnail…

First: Another instalment in the series of “my disability allows me to get away with anything at work”:

Silva testified he fired Hoang because of his attitude, not because of his back injury. He recalled that on Aug. 17, 2009, the day Hoang was fired, Silva told Hoang and another worker to end their shifts early because it was a slow day. The supervisor recalled Hoang got into a “heated” discussion, so Silva fired him. Silva recalled Hoang had previously been hostile to other drivers, even trying to provoke one into a physical fight.

Second: Even the lawyers are starting to notice:

For many years, [awards of damages for injury to dignity, feelings, and self-respect]  tended to be relatively modest in nature, typically well under $10,000. More recently, however, there has been a noticeable increase in some of these awards.

Third: Hm. Time for a Human Rights Complaint over the term “Israli Apartheid”? Something tells me that it’s a foregone conclusion…

The Lynch List, 10-Apr-2011

April 11, 2011

First: Remember the substitute teacher in an Alberta Catholic school who was let go after having a sex change? (S)he has rejected a settlement offer, including reinstatement and $78,000, from the school board because it was accompanied by a confidentiality clause.

Respondents are often slapped with confidentiality clauses to prevent them from speaking about the injustice done to them via the human rights system. What’s good for the goose isn’t good for the gander, Buterman?

Second: A blogger is almost as incredulous as I am over the food bank complaint:

This just boggles my mind! If such a complaint can be even considered by the Human Rights Tribunal, the latter must be so overrun with political correctness that it positively reeks of patchouli and prissiness!

Third: I think there are Canadians of all stripes who believe the Human Rights Museum is a bad idea – that it would morph into a politically correct competition between real and supposed atrocities to see which would get primacy in the hierarchy. It is interesting to note that the museum was first conceived as a Holocaust museum – and has been hijacked by the same usual suspects that abuse our human rights system for their own gain.

The Lynch List, 08-Apr-2011

April 8, 2011

First: Remember the hearings over the dispute between CBSA and an Akwesasne woman, who blamed the border guards for “irradiating” her unborn child and forcing her to get an abortion because of it? The tribunal member, who has faced countless accusations of bias (surprise, anyone?), has now resigned before concluding the case, and will pass the file to someone else.

Second: While most federal candidates are steering clear of both sides of this issue, a Conservative candidate offered some support for Mayor Tremblay on the prayer-in-council Tribunal decision that is being appealed.

Third: What does the controversy over the approval of day-passes for BC child-killer Schoenborn have to do with the BC Human Rights Tribunal? Walker Morrow makes the connection.

Fourth: A blogger rightly notes: Human Rights Leads to Despotism

Human rights legislation is essentially idealism on paper. It is subject to gross violations of common sense, to whims and notions…

Before this fledgling despotism flies on its own, society has a choice. Abolish human rights commissions and tribunals altogether, and leave such matters to real courts. (The taxes saved would be enormous.) Or, we can clarify the law with rigid definitions of all operative words. The present criteria of political correctness, feelings, tendencies and vagueness merely fuel the fires of despotism.

Fifth: The BCHRT is turning disabilities into an even larger liability than they already are. Just as an earlier complaint turned “family status” into a licence to unilaterally make scheduling demands of the employer, likewise a disability appears to absolve the employee from all but the worst workplace behavior. All that needs to be established is that the disability was a “factor” in the firing decision, however small, and we’ve got a successful human rights complaint.