The Lynch List, 26-Mar-2012

March 26, 2012

First: Some arguments from the Moore case that is now before the Supreme Court. For those who don’t remember, Moore is the father who won a human rights complaint when he wasn’t satisfied that the public school system was meeting the needs of his dyslexic son. The BCHRT mandated the Ministry of Education to expand its programs and change its funding model, a decision that subsequent courts threw out as an unconstitutional reach of a Tribunal into executive power.

Moore’s lawyer puts forward the usual, disingenuous, “access” argument – the reframing of a positive right, or claim right, of special services provided by the taxpayer into the negative-sounding right of “access”. Well, I want equal “access” to that lawyer’s bank account…

Second: Ah, yes. A cash payment extraced from a non-profit society. Which is what most complainants are after all along. And why the cash payment? Because they were guilty? Hell no:

“We decided that to proceed to a hearing would have been very costly,” said Covert. “It might have been the end of the club monetarily.”

Third: The Alberta PC government seems to have staked out the provision in its Education Act that hands over moral authority in education to the Albera Human Rights Commission as its hill to die on. One MLA reports that the bill might die when an election call is issued. The fact that the Wildrose supports “99% of the bill” is instructive – there’s no opposition to the bill other than the contentious clause. Something tells me there’s a bit of electioneering going on with this…

Fourth: I submit to those that still believe we can use the state to stamp out “hate” – why is it that the vast majority of examples that are given of hate around the world are always committed by – gasp – governments? If the government would simply put all its efforts into making sure that it doesn’t promulgate hate itself (by, for example, eliminating racial quotas), it might wake up average citizens to the fact that the responsibility to combat hate lies with themselves. But no, we must have more laws that police opinion. For all the same reasons that the War on Drugs isn’t effective, the War on Hate will always fail miserably.

Fifth: The latest clash in human rights: the right of a school employee to ensure their personal safety vs the right of mentally disabled students to “fit in”. Time for government to step in and tell us what’s more important!

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The Lynch List, 19-Mar-2012

March 19, 2012

First: If Barbara Hall gets her way, incidents like the Fanshawe College riot will become commonplace. The OHRC is dead-set on stripping municipalities of their zoning powers by which they can control the concentration of particular types of housing. Yet it is clear from university and London city officials that the heavy concentration of students on Fleming Drive is partly to blame for the riot.

There have been talks already with the city about bylaws that could reduce the number of students and crack down on landlords.

Good luck with that. Barbara will defend to the hilt the students’ right to riot…

Second: A great read in the Calgary Herald on Alberta’s attempt to replace parents with the province’s human rights commission as the primary educator of children.

The crucial issue is that the act subordinates education to the soft  totalitarianism of the Alberta Human Rights Commission.

Third: Bill Whatcott was arrested again, this time in Calgary. As he was distributing his graphic homemade flyers, he was arrested by Calgary police for “breach of the peace”. Yet Crown prosecutors immediately decided that the flyer was not hate speech, and he was released. Still, the police say they’ll continue to harass him:

“It is offensive and it’s offensive to many people, not just within the GLBT  community, but elsewhere. We have received calls on it and we’re going to  continue to deal with him on a case-by-case basis,” Denison said.

Xtra reports that Whatcott was confronted by a lesbian (good for her) who was trying to confirm that he is the hateful, violent, unstable psychpath that the media makes him out to be:

“I told her she could complain to anyone she wished and I wasn’t phobic of her at all, rather I just believe her lifestyle is harmful to her and displeasing to God, and her homosexual agenda is harmful to society,” Whatcott wrote.

Fourth: Here’s how a “settlement” in human-rights-land works: admit guilt, concede that all of the complaint’s allegations are proven, and pay through the nose. The complaint against Crescent Housing Society aims to have the landlords cease their discriminatory conduct – which is a comical statement because the truth is the reverse. The landlords were permitting smoking in some of the subsidized apartments, apparently under some confused understanding of human rights whereby people have the right to smoke. The housing society submitted a settlement offer, and asked the BCHRT to accept the offer as reasonable under the circumstances, thereby avoiding an expensive hearing.

The tribunal rejected the application, since the housing society didn’t fall on its own sword – no admission of liability, no compensation for “injury to feelings”. Assuming there is no argument over their warped definition of discrimination, the Tribunal has strayed far from its mandate of eliminating discrimination and is irreversibly intoxicated with punishment.

Fifth: If the Small Claims Courts of Ontario can handle human rights claims with respect to wrongful dismissals, why have a parallel complaint handling mechanism at the Tribunal? This is but one example of many to show that there are standing institutions that can handle human rights complaints, and a politically stacked tribunal is unnecessary.


The Lynch List, 12-Mar-2012

March 12, 2012

First: More reaction to the “I have a right to a parking spot wherever I darn well want it” complaint:

Michael Coren: “This is not abuse, you see, this is an inevitable use of the human rights commission…”

Rex Murphy: “Well, all of us know what a trauma it can be when one or more of your side-mirrors gets dinged…”

Ottawa Citizen: “One has to wonder if Howson didn’t choose the unusual route to solve her issue  because of her familiarity with the tribunal process…”

Second: While I certainly sympathize with the right-to-fooders, keeping hens in one’s city lot should not be a matter that invokes Charter protection. At least not until parental rights, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, and freedom of association are restored.

Third: The New Brunswick Human Rights Commission is sounding the alarm that there isn’t enough discrimination against those who cannot or will not bear children. Most employees cannot take a year off and expect their job to still be there when they get back; most people cannot get a job if they plan on taking an extended leave of absence within a few months of starting. To act all surprised that the employment market values pregnant women less than others, especially when the government piles on all sorts of extra obligations on the employer, is wilfull and egregious naivete.

Fourth: What? A human rights tribunal upheld the tyranny of their ideological cousins, public-sector unions? Say it ain’t so?

Fifth: “Discrimination still exists in Saskatchewan” says the Sask HRC. It must – or they would be out of a job. Somewhere, someone isn’t getting the “basic level of dignity and respect” that they deserve, which is all the justification required for their existence. After all, someone might get called a nasty name, get demoted at work, or get bounced from a nightclub – clearly grounds for an expansive bureaucracy!


The Lynch List, 6-Mar-2012

March 6, 2012

First: We’ve already heard that it’s a human right in Quebec for the morbidly obese to confiscate the best condo parking spaces from little old ladies. Now a former CHRC investigator believes that having three children amounts to “special circumstances“, triggering the “family status” provision in the Ontario Human Rights Act and subsequent suspension of any and every law she doesn’t like. Her beef? She can’t navigate the laneway to her backyard parking spot, and the city of Ottawa won’t let her park in front of her home. Instead of applying for a variance, the aggrieved “special” mum went straight to the Tribunal.

Matt Gurney does a bit of simple math:

Her laneway is 8.5 feet across — wider than the typical garage door that people drive their cars through a bazillion times a day without incident, never realizing their human rights are being violated.

Second: My biggest question in this case is, why isn’t the police investigating? And if they are, then why have two investigations at the same time? Black jail guards in Toronto’s prison allege that they have been subject to threatening mail and graffiti from some KKK wannabees, and they suspect some of their workmates. Unhappy with the job that the correctional service has done to address the situation, one guard has gone to the OHRT. I say a failure of the police to investigate repeated death threats against a citizen is the real problem here.

Third: Alberta home-school families are protesting, quite rightly, the invasion of the human rights police into every facet of their lives. Since the line between school time and family time doesn’t exist in homeschooled families, there is nothing to stop the province’s human rights jackboots under this proposed legislation from scrutinizing everything that parents say to their children in order to prevent the transmission of unapproved values.

Fourth: Maybe I’m old-school, but I remain convinced that someone who is guilty of murder has forfeited his own life – it is only by the benevolence of society that he continues to live. Similarly, one who has willingly infected someone else with HIV has forfeited any supposed right to treatment – any treatment he does receive is at the benevolence of the society that he has harmed. But I’m sure the human rights tribunals won’t see it that way. While at least one woman’s life has been tragically altered forever by this man’s crimes, he can still launch human rights complaints over alleged lapses in his treatment while in custody.

Fifth: The selfishness of a few is again putting many at risk. Few occupations are as physically-demanding as firefighting, and a mandatory retirement policy of 60 years seems more than reasonable. Yet that’s not good enough for one complainant, who feels that his own fulfillment is more important than the protection of his community. If he succeeds, it will also do a disservice to other firefighters who, at the age of 60, will feel pressured to continue, and put themselves at risk.