The Lynch List, 27-May-2011

I sincerely wish I could get to these more often, but twice a week seems all I can manage.

First: The Canadian Human Rights Tribunal again wades into the shark-infested waters of aboriginal politics. In a decision released earlier this year, and reviewed here, it seems that any function of the Ministry of Indian and Northern Affairs Canada can be declared discriminatory if the Tribunal so wills it. Considering that any act of government with respect to aboriginal affairs is in itself discriminatory (as it only affects members of a particular ethnic group and/or nationality), it’s curious how the Tribunal can pick and choose which policies are discriminatory and which are not.

Second: Another case of double-dip: the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has awarded $30,000 in damages for sexual harassment in the workplace while civil litigation (to the tune of 7.5 million) is ongoing. Think the OHRT case will have an influence on the civil proceedings?

Furthermore, the case established that if you can dish it, you still don’t have to take it – if you’re a woman:

While acknowledging the existence of the rumour and that certain of the comments made were sexualized, the respondents suggest that the complainant’s own use of profanities and sexualized comments must be considered in assessing what injury was done to her…

I agree with the respondents’ argument that someone may be treated adversely for reasons unconnected to Code.  However, this does not mean that a difficult person cannot experience discrimination.  In this case, I do accept that the complainant was a difficult person.  However, when I review the totality of the evidence, I have difficulty concluding that her manner of dealing with people was the entire cause of the negative working environment. 

Third: The Canadian Human Rights Commission is being discussed on Politics Forum with a good lead editorial.

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