The Lynch List, 15-Dec-2011

December 15, 2011

Merry Christmas, assuming the expression hasn’t been banned yet…

First: The BCCLA intervention in the judicial review of the Lemire case has rankled the censors.

Micheal Vonn, BCCLA policy director, noted that while there is no doubt that Lemire’s statements, which have been posted on websites, “are ignorant or offensive,” the prosecution has done more to disseminate the material than he has.

“A perverse thing happens when you try to censor those statements,” Vonn said. “We would like people to call out and say his ideas are wrong. You’re allowed to hold wrong ideas but everyone should have the right to tell you why you’re wrong.”

More on the judicial review from the Post.

Second: The Canadian Press reports (using very non-neutral language) that Richard Warman is upset over the efforts to halt his Section 13 gravy train. As usual, he invokes the typical “Nazis are everywhere” fear-mongering.

Third: Meanwhile, Canada’s most liberal newspaper has come down squarely against Section 13 and in support of Brian Storseth’s bill that would repeal it. Will wonders never cease?

The Canadian Human Rights Act, for example, prohibits publishing via the Internet “any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.” That can draw fines of up to $10,000 plus heavy damages. That’s a damper on spirited public discourse. The act can be interpreted to cover stereotyping and defaming, as well as hate-mongering. There’s no need to prove intent. Evidence can be accepted that would not stand up in court. And guilt doesn’t have to be established beyond doubt. All this puts an unreasonable burden on anyone unlucky enough to be hauled on the carpet.

Fourth: I continue to say that the silver lining concerning Alberta’s Bill 44 is that the province’s teachers now know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of the inevitable chill that human rights statutes place on our freedoms. They’re all for draconian quasi-judicial star chambers when the net only catches people with beliefs they don’t like, but now that it could possibly be used against them, they’re up in arms. All of the teachers’ arguments against that particular section of the Code could be applied to every single section.

If this was a poison pill planted by Stelmach and Blackett for the eventual demise of Alberta’s human rights code, I would have to tip my hat to their genius and eat all of my previous criticisms. But somehow I doubt it…

Fifth: Again, more absurdity over “discrimination on the basis of family status”. One bylaw officer in Langley wanted to dictate her work hours so she could take care of her three children. This started a years-long brouhaha that culminated with the city laying off two of the officers, including the one who wanted restricted work hours. She, of course, launched a human rights complaint, which was only rejected on a technicality. I guess having kids gives you the right to inflict migraines on your employer.



The Lynch List, 09-Dec-2011

December 9, 2011

First: One of two complaints against Oak Bay police department have been resolved. The Victoria-area police force arrived at a mediated settlement that is, surprise surprise, confidential. The allegations? All we’ve heard about are two relatively innocuous incidents – a male colleague with less seniority was promoted over her, and in a separate incident, she was told to “keep her mouth shut”. These probably netted her a five-figure sum in hush money. Too bad taxpayers have no right to know how much of their money is going to settle these frivolous complaints.

Second: A complaint before the CHRC has taken over two years, with nothing investigated to date. When contacted, the CHRC says that there are “eight complaints preceding” it, and that the investigation process “might be lengthy”.

Do you think the reason that the complaint is taking so long to get moving is that the complainants are “old, white males“?

Third: The Ottaw Citizen comments on the never-ending pendulum: First, Ontario under Mike Harris tries to crack down on a serious bullying problem with the Safe Schools Act. Then, the OHRC objects because too many black kids are getting suspended. Now, when bullying is on the rise again (thanks OHRC), the McGuinty government re-implements the Safe Schools Act with added lipstick and social-engineering components.

In a couple years, the OHRC will find that black kids are over-represented in the mandatory “anger management counselling” and this process will begin all over again.

Fourth: Ontario neighborhoods and stratas are starting to get creative on how to keep university student renters out of their boroughs. Students, of course, bring with them all sorts of undesirable behaviour, reducing property values and quality of life for the neighbors. But the OHRC has been harassing any strata or municipality that implicitly or explicitly prohibited students from renting in certain areas.

An Ottawa condo corporation is under fire for insisting that the units be rented only to single family units. Nice try. It didn’t take long for a complaint to be filed – discrimination based on family status, apparently.

Fifth: The CJC was one of the most ardent cheerleaders for Section 13. Now that it has been absorbed into the CIJA, and “Burny” Farber is no longer at the helm, their position on Section 13 has considerably softened. They have refused to take a position on Storseth’s private member’s bill at the present time. Good for them.

The Lynch List, 5-Dec-2011

December 5, 2011

First: You’ve heard me talk about scope creep before – the HRCs know that the only way they can expand their mandate/budget/empire/power is if they gradually redefine the terms in the legislation that enables them. The latest is in relation to services provided by the school board.

Now you and I would probably surmise that the recipients of school services are the children. Not necessarily, says the HRTO, which has accepted a complaint by which a disabled parent is claiming she was discriminated against because the school didn’t give special transportation to her able-bodied children. Apparently it could be argued that schools are supplying a service to adults – childcare.

Second: It makes me uncomfortable to criticize parents of our heroes that have fallen in battle, but I have to shake my head at those who are launching human rights complaints in order to profit off the deaths of their children. After a single complaint was resolved through mediation, four more complaints have arisen, all asking for a $20,000 benefit that normally goes to the immediate family, if any, of a fallen soldier. Even worse, the possible outcome of a landslide in similar complaints is that the policy might get yanked – which means that the spouses and children of our fallen will be left out in the cold thanks to the avaricious human rights system and the greed of a few.

Third: A Tsawassen man believes Section 13 must be retained in order to, among other things, prevent abusive comments on Craiglist. Because sacrificing free speech to a qusi-judicial system staffed by moral busybodies is totally worth all the effort it would otherwise take to roll that mouse wheel with your index finger…