The Lynch List, 06-Sep-2011

School is back, and so are the Lynch Lists every two working days. Here we go…

First: Probably no more than a publicity stunt, but a Quebec separatist held his nose long enough to use a federal service – the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal – in launching a complaint against Stephen Harper for appointing a unilingual journalist as his director of communications. The complainant used to head the “League Against Francophobia Canada”, which is all the evidence you need to know he comes from a strong background in manufacturing grievances.

Part of the complaint alleges that the appointee, former Toronto Star reporter Angelo Persichilli, engaged in “Quebec-bashing” in some columns he wrote for his previous employer. If the Tribunal gives this any more attention than it takes to fire 16 sheets of crumpled fax paper into a wastebasket, we’ll be all over it.

Second: An article in Lawyer’s Weekly discusses the rapidly changing definition of “employee”, and the sudden and unexpected burden that the redefinition presents to companies. Two of the cases we’ve discussed already; the decision against Faskin Martineau LLP that defined a law partner as an employee, and the more sensible Suncor decision that put contractors at arm’s length from their clients. But a third case, which involves an interpretation of Ontario’s Occupational Health and Safety Act, elevates safety regulations to the same plane as human rights law: a “quasi-constitutional status” that can be applied broadly and liberally.

I’m getting sick of “quasi”- law, “quasi”-courts, and a “quasi”-constitution. It sounds to me like a circumvention of the consent of the people.

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