The Lynch List, 30-Jan-2011

January 30, 2012

First: Are our nation’s human rights tribunals a thought-crime police? You bet they are. Nowhere else can you be found guilty for doing something completely legal, but supposedly with prohibited intentions. In refusing to dismiss another “I didn’t get appointed faculty dean” case, this time at UBC, the BCHRT says that it must put the parties through a full hearing in order to probe the minds of the respondents for prohibited thoughts:

I am of the view that, only after a full hearing, is it possible to determine whether the Committee’s process was tainted by prohibited motivations.

Second: The lawfare campaign of three doctors against the University of Ottawa has intensified, now that a staggering $150-million lawsuit against the university has been disclosed. Even though the Ontario Human Rights Code prohibits the hearing of matters that are currently before the courts, the OHRT is dilly-dallying around and refusing to dismiss the human rights complaint outright. Note that the three complainants haven’t withdrawn their complaint either, even though this lawsuit was filed back in October.

Third: Not specifically regarding the HRCs, but Bruce Bawer at discusses how Reporters Without Borders does indeed have a border. Their latest press freedom rankings seems remarkably oblivious to state repression of criticism of Islam. In fact, it could even be said that RWB appears to reward countries that haul blasphemers into the courtroom, for example the Netherlands’ ranking skyrocketed while Geert Wilders was on trial. Concludes Bawer:

It’s hard not to get the impression that Reporters Sans Frontières grades threats to freedom of expression based on what, exactly, the threatened authors and journalists in question have done to give rise to the threats.

Fourth: What every potential human rights complainant needs to hear:

Grow up and move on.

Fifth: Looks like Hamilton is getting the Barbara Hall treatment: Hand over your zoning authority to me, now!


The Lynch List, 25-Jan-2012

January 25, 2012

First: The OHRT believes that some words are so offensive they should never be uttered, and those who do should be fined $5,000. The criminal is catering company owner John Graham, who used the term “faggot meal” to describe gluten-free cuisine. Oops, I just uttered it, didn’t I? As always, the only evidence necessary for conviction is hurt feelings, or as this tribunal member puts it, “confirming the applicant’s fears”. An excerpt from the judgment.

The reason these allegations… are relevant at all is that they relate to how the applicant perceived the word “faggot.” 

Whether or not he intended the word “faggot” to be a direct slight to the applicant, or was just an unfortunate choice of words spoken in anger, it had the effect of confirming the applicant’s fears about the respondent’s feelings about him as a gay man. 

Second: Is it just me, or are the heads of human rights commissions more prone to hasty stereotypes and generalizations than the general public? In comments about the complaint before the OHRT that would relegate all zoning authority to the OHRC, Barbara Hall believes that anyone who wants their municipality to retain control over their own zoning are selfish bigots who want to run the “undesirables” out of town:

“It’s very much a response to ‘We don’t want those people in our neighbourhood,'” she said.

…so her solution is to ram “those people” into the neighborhoods that supposedly don’t want them. All about reconciliation, aren’t we?

Third: It’s turning into a common theme in BC. Lesbian couple kisses in public. Lesbian couple launches human rights complaint for the very next event that adversely affects them. Next up: God is on the docket for turning the weather sour after two lesbians make out in Stanley Park…

Fourth: Brian Storseth sent out a letter to his constituents to drum up support for his PMB.

Fourth: Hmm, is the Individual Rights Party of BC the antidote to our inexorable slide towards dominance of group rights? Somehow I doubt it…

The Lynch List, 20-Jan-2011

January 20, 2012

First: Two things I learned from this complaint.

That the latest fashionable definition of “gender” might be forced upon the Canadian government (and, by extension, all private persons) by the CHRC. Someone could be a “female with male anatomical structure” and demand a change to their documents on that basis. (Really, officer, I’m actually 19 with 14-year-old anatomical structure!)

And, that the CHRC demands that all parties refrain from discussing complaints that are in-process with the public or the media. Can’t shine any light where the cockroaches crawl…

Second: Barbara Hall’s choice of wording is disturbing. In a letter castigating Toronto mayor Rob Ford’s decision to sell off some TCHC housing, she consistently refers to “individuals and groups protected under the Code”. Does that imply that the rest of us losers aren’t protected under the code? Some humans get human rights, and others don’t?

Third: The OHRC’s forum on how they can further curtail religious freedom got a visitor that I’m sure wasn’t exactly welcome. A Christian political advocacy group presented to Barbara Hall that the integrity of faith communities are under threat by the current interpretation of the Code. The OHRC’s response?

Some OHRC staff commented on how it is important for there to be diversity within a faith group (e.g. why it is good for a Christian congregation to have an atheist organist – it provides exposure to diversity.)

So it is the role of the Commission to force faith groups to accept atheists for “exposure to diversity”? Does that mean bare-headed swimsuit models in mosques too?

The Lynch List, 16-Jan-2012

January 16, 2012

First: Brian Coldin is a self-described “naturist” who enjoys walking around in the buff – in public. He has had multiple run-ins with the police, to the point that he launched a human rights complaint, claiming that law enforcement is discriminating on the basis of creed. Coldin himself commented (inarticulately) on these pages in the past in his defence.

His lawyers brought forward constitutional arguments in an Ontario court to ask that laws requiring clothing in public be struck down. Recently, the court declined to strike down the laws, and sentenced him to two years of probation for patronizing two fast-food restaurants in the nude. Which now will hopefully permit the police a leg-up in the human rights hearing. That is, assuming that the OHRT considers it within the Code for police to keep tabs on lawbreakers…

Second: Several doctors in New Brunswick want to reopen the abortion debate – though it’s not in the direction that you might think. A human rights complaint was launched against the government in 2008 which argued that its funding formula for abortion procedures is discriminatory. New Brunswick will only pay for abortions that have been declared medically necessary by two doctors. Now see if you can understand this pretzel-inducing logic:

The complainant is a female doctor. She wants her patients to be given taxpayer-funded abortions on-demand. She believes that she, as a woman, is discriminated against on the basis of sex because she needs to put her patients through the pain and anguish of this procedure in order to get a free abortion. Discriminatory how? A male doctor wouldn’t quite feel that same pain and anguish, apparently.

Ridiculous logic aside, the New Brunswick Commission gleefully accepted the window of opportunity to impose their own social order on the province. The complainant herself has even intimated that the complaint has little to do with her own suffering, and everything to do with “reopening the abortion debate in New Brunswick”. The government has now gone to provincial court in an attempt to stop the hearing. Let’s hope they succeed.

Third: Heh. The BC Human Rights Tribunal was almost enlisted on behalf of the villains in a case over systemic verbal abuse at a Surrey condominium. The judge eventually ordered the offenders – a middle-aged woman and her 20-year-old son – to sell their condo and move out, after he was presented with hundreds of allegations of offensive and intimidating behavior. The woman, at one point, went the route of many other societal troublemakers, and filed a human rights complaint. Her allegation? Fellow residents should “accommodate” being labeled a filthy whore, among other less savory insults, due to her son’s autism. The complaint was withdrawn when no evidence was presented.

Fourth: Joseph Brean at the National Post put together a great article on the quandry that Richard Warman and Section 13 now find themselves in. I hope Brean dotted all his i’s and crossed his t’s, cuz a lawsuit is never far away when Warman’s conduct is being discussed…

Fifth: A good scrawl by Brian Lilley – you don’t like human rights commissions? What do you have against fuzzy, cuddly kittens?

The Lynch List, 12-Jan-2012

January 12, 2012

A short one today.

First: Good grief. A sliding scale of acceptable heart rate based on age is discriminatory, the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal has ruled. A 64-year-old failed a fitness test for a city job twice, but launched and won a human rights complaint (costing taxpayers $45,000 for the award, not including legal costs). The grounds of discrimination was that a younger person has a higher acceptable working heart rate than an older person, a known physiological axiom to anyone who has taken Phys Ed 11. Next up: cardiac-challenged octagenarians in the military…

Another, even more tragic scenario – imagine the city being charged with negligence after being forced to hire a 89-year-old to shovel snow at the local hockey arena, causing cardiac arrest and death…

Second: The latest qualification for heading up a human rights commission? Trek to the north pole. In a wheelchair.

Third: 1001 examples of victimhood, #439: Denied entry to a university program? Claim age discrimination! After all, everyone is a member of an age group.

The Lynch List, 10-Jan-2012

January 10, 2012

First: Not all candidates are always invited to all-candidates’ meetings, whether it be for a federal, provincial, or municipal election. Excluded candidates can only whine and complain from the sidelines, or maybe even get a protest letter published in the local paper. Unless you’re a member of a victim group, upon which you can persecute the unfortunate organizers with a human rights complaint.

Former Toronto mayoralty candidate JP Pampena, who is blind, was not included in a mayoralty debate hosted by Silver Springs Community Association. That prompted Pampena to launch a human rights complaint. Though the complaint has now been dismissed, this is what the respondent had to say. Sound familiar?

“But it shows how lopsided the process is, that anybody can launch a complaint and it is a freebie and the respondent has to go to great lengths to defend themselves and there is no compensation or funds to defend yourself,” he said.

Second: So far, Harper’s appointment of Shirish Chotalia to the CHRT chair has been a bust – but not so much because of her decisions. Two harassment investigations  against her have been substantiated, amidst more allegations of a “toxic” workplace. If I may play the devil’s advocate here, I kinda thought in human rights-land a woman of color like Chotalia is automatically the victim?

Third: Just what we need. More expansion of hate laws. Apparently some groups (Liberal women, in this case) believe people aren’t acknowledging their victim status  enough yet.

Fourth: Comic relief. A discussion on a Ladies Free Ski night in support of breast cancer research devolves into a discussion on whether it is sex discrimination. One poster provides the zinger:

1% of breast cancers occur in men. I guess breast cancer itself practices gender discrimination, for shame. Would you be happier if 1 in 100 men get to ski free as well?

The Lynch List, 07-Jan-2012

January 7, 2012

I will get the correct year in the title more often than not in January, I hope.

First: Is a forced apology ever a true and sincere one? Or are forced “apologies” merely pursued because of the wads of money that can be legally extracted alongside? At any rate, is a human rights tribunal the proper forum by which to force a government to implement the recommendations of an ombudsman’s report, which includes an apology and monetary compensation?

I always thought adherence to “recommendations” was voluntary. In human rights land, I guess not; in that case, I “recommend” that the BCHRT disbands itself…

Second: This is the mentality of a “human rights” litigant: a “civil rights activist” in Grey Country, Ontario believes that the entire council of the county are “criminals” for reciting the Lord’s prayer before each meeting.

They are criminals and I don’t think that word can be repeated often enough.” Ferguson said he relied for those statements on “case law.” “The Ontario Court of Appeal says they are criminals,” he said.

Third: Andrew Pinto’s review of the recent changes to Ontario’s human rights code has at least the appearance of considering the effect of the Code on employers. Some question’s he’s asking:

  • How would you describe your overall experience with the Tribunal? What were positive and negative elements of that experience? What areas could be improved?
  • Do you feel you were treated fairly by the Tribunal and its processes?
  • Did you find the Tribunal dealt with your matter in a timely manner?
  • The Tribunal currently does not award legal costs to the successful party. In future, if the Tribunal made an unsuccessful party pay (or partially pay) the successful party’s legal costs, would you consider that fair?

Good questions to ask, but I’ll hold judgment until I see what he does with the feedback…

Fourth: Don’t like the way the health system is run? Unhappy with a doctor’s decision to actually follow health regulations? Launch a completely ineffective but tax dollar-draining human rights complaint!