The Lynch List, 19-Oct-2011

First: The complaint against Les and Su Molnar is before the Tribunal this week. The Molnars refused a bed in their B&B to a gay couple, citing their religious convictions. We all know that the BCHRT doesn’t give a whit about religious freedom, except when it comes to Reiki practitioners and Oprah devotees. So there will be no surprise when they rule against the Molnars. Yet this will illustrate that the Human Rights Code has enabled the intervention of bureaucrats into the very homes of Canadians, making a mockery of the Charter’s freedom of religion clause and the property rights found in the Bill of Rights.

Second: Not specifically a human rights issue, but this matter is central to speech freedom nonetheless. The Supreme Court has ruled that simply hyperlinking to a defamatory site does not, in itself, constitute defamation. I guess that means we are allowed to link to that “far-right hate site” without fear of libel suits from you-know-who (starts with a W and sounds like “Mormon”).

Third: Stand Up For Freedom actually has a lawyer participating in the SCC Whatcott case. Read what he has to say.

Some of the more shocking arguments included an assertion from the lawyer for the Sask. HRC stating that certain passages of the Apostle Paul from the Bible could be considered hate speech and arguments made by the Ontario and the Alberta HRCs that there should be a double standard of enforcement of hate speech: a zero tolerance approach for “vulnerable” groups and a less stringent standard for not-so-vulnerable groups. (i.e. no equality before the law).

Fourth: We argue often in these pages in support of religious freedom. But there is a distinction between religious freedom and religious accommodation, which I believe private individuals and organizations should not be forced to provide. In this case, a Christian employee of Statistics Canada complained that his beliefs were violated when a female security guard walked into the washroom while he was changing. His demands were incredible, including a policy that security guards couldn’t enter washrooms of the opposite sex, and that he would never have to see that particular security guard again. The Commission declined to proceed with the complaint and dismissed it as frivolous. The federal court got it right, and agreed with the Commission that the complaint has no basis.

Fifth: John Carpay on the Whatcott case:

A legal right not to be offended is incompatible with a free and democratic society. The right to express oneself, to participate in democracy, and to seek truth through debate and argument, is a right possessed by all people, regardless of their level of education or their income. Not everyone uses the kind of language that one hears at a dinner party in Rosedale.

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