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…