The Lynch List, 22-Aug-2011

First: Barbara Hall has laid down the gauntlet on the City of North Bay, claiming that unruly university students have every right to mess up the neighborhood that they are renting in.

Furthermore, Hall states the familiar refrain that only certain groups of people – the “vulnerable” – are  worthy of protection and advocacy from the OHRC:

Vulnerable people under the Code include, “newcomers, young people, older persons, people from racialized and Aboriginal communities, single people, people with children, and women.”

I’d like to see where in the Code that the word “vulnerable” is even mentioned. Barb? Anywhere?

Second: The Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has dismissed a case against Barrie Police in which a former officer claimed she had suffered a miscarriage while following orders – nine years ago. The plaintiff complained of the Tribunal:

“It seems hardly human rights-ish of them”

If by “human rights-ish” you mean bending established rules, ignoring guidelines, and dodging precedents which are supposed to safeguard against abuses of the system, I would agree.

Third: There’s no question that a job in the prison system is not an easy one. Whether it is prison guards, policemen, front-line military servicepersons, or professional hockey players, there are attitudes and coping strategies that are employed and entrenched by those who dish out and suffer violence as a part of their daily job. One of the most common behavior is to ridicule differences in others – Kyle’s big ears, Tom’s fat mother, Ed’s quirky religious beliefs, and Mike’s aboriginal heritage.

For former prison guard Mike McKinnon, a Cree, he wanted to end this practice – at least as it relates to aboriginals. He was understandably injured by the insults leveled his way in the 70’s and 80’s, and fought for many years through human rights complaints to impose changes on the prison system. While his efforts are laudable and commendable, and should hopefully yield some positive results, there are some problems to taking a “human rights” approach to this issue, not the least of which is human rights activists dictating policy for one of the most difficult workplaces in the country. In addition, the laundry list of “prohibited discrimination” and its metastasizing and discriminatory list of “vulnerable groups” will lead to an unequal application of any anti-harassment regulations – Mike would be protected, and so would Ed as long as he isn’t a Christian, but the others are simply out of luck.

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