The Lynch List, 29-Nov-2011

November 29, 2011

First:  It’s clear that the Tribunal cannot even be trusted to properly handle private medical records. And yet they have been entrusted with nearly unlimited powers to “remediate”. Go figure.

“It was my address on the front of the envelope, but they weren’t my documents. When I called them (the tribunal) they just wanted it swept under the rug and they wanted to send a courier to pick them up. They wanted to brush me off. They told me this person had been made aware of the mistake.”

Second: A local newspaper in a small hick town of BC (I used to live there) has been publishing op-eds by local criminology professor John Martin. They are routinely spot on. I guess a criminologist with common sense will always be relegated to the backwaters of academia.

So let me get this straight…

There is a fiscal crisis in the administration of justice. We don’t have enough judges, sheriffs or prosecutors to run the courts in an efficient manner. Consequently, charges are being thrown out and cases are being dismissed on account of the backlog.

Meanwhile we have the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal that prosecutes comedians, journalists and others who may have hurt some hyper-sensitive soul’s feelings.

Third: There is one very good exception to the principle of non-discrimination – when the human rights industry needs to increase its workload.

National security agencies should collect race-based and other statistics about their operations in order to track whether they discriminate on the basis of characteristics like race, disability, religious or ethnic origin, says the Canadian Human Rights Commission.

Fourth: Geez, will this group of social conservatives ever grow a thicker skin? Kari Simpson appears to be emulating the lawfare tactics of the extreme left, but she’s not very good at it.

The BC tribunal refused to hear the complaint, saying internet publications fall outside its provincial jurisdiction. “Human rights complaints regarding internet publications are within federal jurisdiction,” the tribunal notes in its Nov 21 decision.

Fifth: Good news and bad news: Barbara Hall has been reappointed as head honcho of the OHRC for an “abbreviated” one-year extension.

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The Lynch List, 25-Nov-2011

November 25, 2011

First: There are so many things that could be said about this complaint, that I’ll just give you the facts and let you come up with something on your own.

Two women, one of whom could not be over the age of 19, tried to get tickets to a Lions Club fundraiser in Guelph, Ontario. The event featured strippers. They were denied tickets to the show, and have filed a human rights complaint alleging discrimination on the basis of sex.

Second: What else will the human rights system be used to do? I would think the question of whether the mentally disabled should be institutionalized or live in the community should be up to our elected representatives. Instead, it looks like the government of Manitoba is being strong-armed by a special interest group, through a human rights complaint, to de-institutionalize. Not only does this sidestep democracy, but it encourages governments to pass off necessary but politically risky decisions like this to unelected bureaucrats.

Third: The infamous “white police officers are all unconsciously racist” decision at the OHRT against Constable Michael Shaw is going to appeal, and the OHRC has come out guns a-blazing in support of the decision.  Why wouldn’t they? The decision creates a potential human rights complaint out of every single interaction between a white police officer and a person of color. Their intervenor factum is here.

 


The Lynch List, 23-Nov-2011

November 23, 2011

First: Hertz car rental company in the United States has recently had the gall to – gasp! – require their employees to clock out when they stop work for religious observances like prayers. This sort of religious oppression wouldn’t happen in Ontario, says a Toronto law firm (which, surprise surprise, is the very law firm at which Andrew Pinto works, the same Andrew Pinto that was asked by Ontario premier McGuinty to do a “thorough review” of provincial human rights legislation).

No, Pinto’s firm believes that prayers should be done on their employer’s dime. What’s next? Statutory holidays for Ramadan, Lent, and the Ten Days of Repentance, for adherents only?

Second: The Catholic Register comments on the impending (hopefully) demise of Section 13.

Third: Law firms are giving advice on the ramifications of the SCC decision prohibiting Tribunals from redefining “expenses” into including legal costs. Unfortunately, that advice includes capitulation:

Where a Tribunal cannot award legal costs but the employee is represented by counsel, settlement offers which include payments to legal costs can help to get the deal.


The Lynch List, 21-Nov-2011

November 21, 2011

Sorry for the hiatus…

First: Endorsements are pouring in for Bill C-304 that will repeal Section 13.

PEN Canada

The Justice Minister and by extension the entire Conservative government

Ezra Levant  (who did you expect? Bernie Faber?)

Over 20 Conservative members of parliament – apparently “unheard of” for a PMB

Conservative MP Blake Richards with a nice blurb

Second: Yes, the human right to taxi service strikes again.

D.A.R.T.S. is a not-for-profit organization that provides transit services only to individuals who require the use of a wheelchair, walker or scooter, require kidney dialysis or have Alzheimer’s disease. Hamiltonians with disabilities that don’t fit the service’s limited eligibility criteria may qualify for the Taxi Scrip program instead. But the alternative program, noted McCarthy Large, is not an affordable option given the distance she must travel on an almost daily basis.

Third: A Vancouver cop faces both criminal and human rights charges over his alleged shove to a disabled woman. In a show of magnanimity unlike most human rights tribunals, chair Berndt Walter has agreed that the Tribunal hearing, despite it “taking precedence over other enactments”, cannot proceed alongside a criminal trial for fear of violating the rights of the accused. Since when did a human rights tribunal consider the rights of the accused?

Fourth: When does the encouragement of racial diversity cross the line into anti-white racism? Immediately, in my opinion; any suggestion that “colored people” cannot accomplish the same things as white people is racism in my books – and so is the reverse

Fifth: Here’s a perfect example of what a human rights complaint does to the victim (respondent). First, it cost the city of Cornwall over $74,000 to prepare for the hearing. Then, six days before the hearing was to begin, the Tribunal informed the complainant that they couldn’t use their own lawyer due to a conflict of interest. That would mean additional costs of at least $100,000. Instead of paying to see justice done, the city pled guilty.

I’d call that a bludgeoning.


The Lynch List, 16-Nov-2011

November 16, 2011

First: At one time, the boys were able to play hockey amongst each other. The human rights tribunal banned that (but still allows girls-only hockey). Now, it has levied more fines over a problem of their own making – the confusion over whether the few girls who play in boy’s leagues should be allowed to change with the boys. The Brampton Minor Hockey Association wouldn’t bend over backwards, and now has to bend over – to the tone of $18,000 to two sisters who wanted their cake and the privilege of eating it too.

Second: Thank you, Supreme Court! Human rights tribunals have long been a chance for a “second crack” if complainants in other administrative tribunals weren’t satisfied with the amount they hosed their victims for. The tribunals maintained that they had standing to review whether the original deciding body had misapprehended the relevant human rights principles and law applicable to the issue. In other words, they regarded themselves as the Supreme Court of administrative tribunals.

The Supreme Court of Canada has clipped their wings a bit. As you might have guessed, it was the BC Human Rights Tribunal that went too far, and got slapped.

Third: “Human rights” like freedom from discrimination are absolute, yep, totally, completely. Unless the “distinction was accepted honestly, in the interests of sound and accepted business practice, and not for the purpose of defeating protected rights under the Code”.

So, the mainstream business community can continue to use their collective moral compass to determine when supposedly absolute human rights can be broken or not, provided they hold no animus towards the Code and its Guardians at the Commission. But private individuals cannot?

Fourth: Howard Levitt describes the weight of onus on an employer(!) to investigate whether poor behavior on the part of an employee may be due to a medical condition. You would think that it is the responsibility of the employee, but this is human rights la-la-land, after all.


The Lynch List, 13-Nov-2011

November 12, 2011

First: A complainant is alleging that Ryerson University has discriminated against her creed of “ethical veganism” when a professor wouldn’t allow her to do her Master’s in social work on oppression and systemic discrimination against animals. Apparently sociology is discriminatory because it only deals with humans.

But even more important, the reason she was rejected was because her chosen topic compares the suffering of animals to the historical suffering of minorities. This, in itself is dehumanizing and bordering on a hate crime, assuming it exists. But when asked if her topic is racist, she responded with the central tenet of the modern bigot:

In response to criticism equating humans with animals is a common racist trope, she said that she, as a racialized woman, cannot be racist.

“How am I being racist if ‘race’ is a part of my identity?”

How can we be ‘speciesist’ if ‘species’ is part of our identity? (Jonathan Kay has more)

Second: Howard Levitt uses the recent developments in the Herman Cain campaign to “out” the claim, repeated in the human rights industry, that a settlement doesn’t represent an admission of guilt. He describes the dillemma commonly facing employers when faced with baseless litigation or human rights complaints:

What is the employer’s choice? If they don’t settle the case, they invite litigation. If they settle, they risk what Cain is now enduring even if they are innocent. I suspect he wishes he had toughed it out, completed the investigation and been cleared.

Third: A man who suffers from multiple sclerosis has had his human rights complaint against the government thrown out. He was denied access and funding for a controversial procedure that applies venous angioplasty on the jugular veins. The College of Physicians and Surgeons has threatened to yank the licence of anyone who attempts the procedure. While I’m glad that the complaint was thrown out, I believe this should be a Charter challenge instead. Public rationing and restriction of health care stands perpetually in conflict with our Charter rights.

Fourth: Dear Toronto School Board: you know you’re pissing into the wind when even the Ontario Human Rights Commission won’t respond to your letter alleging homophobia.


The Lynch List, 07-Nov-2011

November 7, 2011

First: It’s now official – Canada’s various agencies cannot exclude the disabled from working in war zones if they so desire, according to the CHRT. Of course, it’s the taxpayer’s responsibility to pull out these over-courageous souls from the predicaments that they will get themselves in. I’ve written about this case many times, but here’s the snapshot:

In September, Judge Sophie Marchildon ruled that CIDA and Health Canada must compensate CIDA employee Bronwyn Cruden $5,000 each after evidence showed the two agencies used “wilful and reckless discrimination” against her.

Cruden, who has Type 1 diabetes, said she was denied a job posting in 2009 after she failed to meet Health Canada’s “absolute medical requirements” under the agency’s Afghanistan Guidelines.

Second: Paul Groarke, a former CHRT adjudicator, complains that the Supreme Court’s ruling that Tribunals cannot award costs is a big mistake. The SCC justices took the law too literally, he says, implying that they should do what every Tribunal does and stretch it a bit:

It is a mistake to abstract the issue away, as the Supreme Court has, in the technicalities of statutory construction.

But most of Groarke’s arguments are that the Tribunal should be considered as close to a real court as possible, including the need for counsel (provided by the CHRC for the complainants free of charge, of course). Except he neglected to mention that real courts actually take into account the rights of the accused – and employ real judges.

Third: Warman has won the latest round against Terry Tremaine at the Federal Court of Appeal. At issue is how an order of the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal can be enforced, and whether a breach of the order constitutes contempt of court.

The court of appeal ruled that, as long as it is properly filed with federal court, a BCHRT order can be enforced through contempt proceedings. This means that some human rights activist, who has not necessarily ever been called to the bar, and doesn’t necessarily need to abide by longstanding ethical rules for the judiciary, can issue an order with the same weight of enforcement as a federal court judge. Scary.

Fourth: A complaint has been launched claiming that Toronto’s ban on shark fin soup transgresses their human rights. While I’m inclined to agree with them, I wish they would go through the courts invoking their Charter rights, instead of claiming discrimination – which is the only way to launch a human rights complaint

Fifth: Heh. Smoking pot is a human right, too. Really, officer.