The Lynch List, 21-Jun-2011

First: I’ve noted this before, but it bears repeating. In all of the hoopla surrounding the extension of the federal Human Rights Act to aboriginals and their governments, is the fact that aboriginals still aren’t getting the same human rights “protections” as everyone else. Two clauses in Bill C-21 create the distinction.

The first is the same non-derogation clause as is found in the Charter. Essentially, any existing treaty rights supersede human rights.

The second is an interpretive provision, similar to the sentencing guidelines in the criminal code: “…the [Human Rights] Act shall be interpreted and applied in a manner that gives due regard to First Nations legal traditions and customary laws, particlarly the balancing of individual rights and interests against collective rights and interests, to the extent that they are consistent with the principle of gender equality”.

So First Nations will have a sub-set of human rights, in which their individual rights do not carry as much weight against the ominous-sounding “collective rights and interests” as ours do. The only sacred ground appears to be gender discrimination – other despicable and clearly discriminatory practices (such as expulsion for inadequate “blood quantum“) may be acceptable since it promotes “collective rights and interests”.

And we all know where “balancing” leads us – according to Jenny Lynch, “As we balance rights, there will come a time when there may need to be a limit on one and not on another.”

Second: This may have been lost on author Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes, which is the subject of a book-burning threat in the Netherlands. Hill gives an impassioned defence of freedom of expression, stating that no word should be banned and no book should be burned.

Burning books is designed to intimidate people. It underestimates the intelligence of readers, stifles dialogue and insults those who cherish the freedom to read and write. The leaders of the Spanish Inquisition burned books. Nazis burned books.

The Ontario Human Rights Commission burns books. Well, not quite. They do publicly condemn publications they don’t like, and desperately want the power to ban them. And guess whose father headed up the OHRC back in the ’60s?

Third: Stand Up For Freedom notes Barbara Hall’s campaign for Political Correctness in Housing Advertisements. Honor killings? Don’t have time to deal with that. Landlords mentioning a lack of soundproofing? Critical!

Fourth: Gordzilla in the Province thinks that the new Alpha Team superheroes – complete with an Inuit, an Aboriginal, a gay man, and two aliens – could easily be our Human Rights Tribunal. All they need is a mutant beaver and a one-legged lesbian!

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