The Lynch List, 16-Apr-2012

First: A York University law professor believes that it should be illegal to state in job postings, “Must be able to lift 35 lbs”, because it’s discriminatory against women. What a sexist. Then he also says it’s discriminatory against the disabled to state, “must be able to stand for extended periods of time”.

Can we specify that a heartbeat is required? Or does that discriminate against those with irregular rythm?

Second: A good analysis of the Wildrose Alliance party’s stance on the human rights system in Alberta, as long as you understand it is written by a lawyer who has a customer base to protect.

There are a few items in Wildrose’s platform that either will have complications or remain ambiguous. For example:

– What will happen to the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission? The platform states that a special arm of the Provincial Court will take over the complaints process, but what abot the Commission’s mandate for propaganda, re-education, and indoctrination?

– The system by which complainants are given legal counsel is complex and open to political manipulation.

– They state that the new Human Rights Court will still have “streamlined and simplified rules of procedure”, which is still using pseudo-justice to limit our constitutional freedoms. Cutting corners always leads to a reduced standard of justice.

– The Wildrose states that they will “impose stringent penalties and remedies for human rights violations”, moving them closer a punitive rather than remedial approach. This will run into constitutional issues with the distribution of powers between the provinces and the federal government.

– They also state that it will be mandatory to proceed through an alternative dispute resolution process. That is all well and fine if the process is transparent and public, but on the face of it there will be even more arm-twisting behind closed doors.

– While I personally agree with Wildrose’s position on conscience rights, is a human rights complaint the best way to police them?

Of course, many of the author’s “complaints” are actually features of the Wildrose’s position, such as the fact that human rights rulings would have to adhere to the Charter, and that qualified judges and not activists will be deciding on the cases.

Third: Though the details aren’t available, it’s interesting to note that the Tribunal wouldn’t even consider discrimination against white people as grounds for a complaint, and only moved forward with a component of the complaint that involved the complainant’s disability.

The tribunal heard that the quick turnaround time for immigrants was in “distinct contrast to the experience of white Canadian families” at the shelter, including [the complainant’s], who had to wait months for housing…

The adjudicator of the tribunal dismissed all but one of the grounds in the Munroe application… But Munroe’s claims of reprisal — notably that he was subjected to “poorer treatment” in the shelter after filing an application with the tribunal — were not dismissed. In the reprisal section of his application, Munroe also says his family was transferred into the shelter’s smallest room as a punishment for complaining about being kicked out for five days because of his aggressive behaviour.

Moral of the story: It’s okay to deny someone housing because they’re white, but not if they behave aggressively to other clients…

Fourth: While violating the privacy of many law students who thought their answers to a survey would remain confidential, the Windsor Star has the temerity to actually print an explanation for racial disparity that doesn’t assume that all white people are unmitigated bigots:

Minority students brought up in cultures that place a high value on deference to  authority and respect are less likely to have the aggressive, outgoing  personality traits many firms are looking for, he said.

Fifth: Not a human rights complaint (yet) but it’s on the topic of censorship nonetheless. A University of Calgary Thompson Riers University fine arts student put on display a photograph of a niqab-clad woman holding a bra, which was torn down by a Muslim student a few days later. The culprit claimed that the photo was offensive to her – which I don’t doubt in the slightest. There are many photos and depictions that offend people from many faiths and cultures. But that doesn’t grant the right to deface other peoples’ property. There are other ways to protest than vandalism.

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2 Responses to The Lynch List, 16-Apr-2012

  1. Bubby says:

    “…that doesn’t assume that all white people are unmitigated bigots”

    You know, I’m white and I’ve never been called a bigot or a racist. There is probably a pretty good reason (other than the fact that you are a pro-apartheid activist) that you are frequently called a racist. Think about it…..

  2. Mark Mercer says:

    It wasn’t the University of Calgary, but Thompson Rivers University, in Kamloops, BC. Sadly, after restoring the photo to its place on the wall, university officials didn’t mention freedom of expression but instead defended the photo as a work of art acceptable to hang in the wall. That is, had the work really been offensive (in the university’s judgement), it would have remained down.

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