First: The dismissal of white supremacist nutbar Terry Tremaine’s appeal is now apparently the last word on the powers of the Human Rights Tribunals. The Federal Court of Appeal ruled that the Tribunal’s sentencing power, which are essentially limitless and can include jail time, is valid. I won’t shed a single tear for Tremaine, but it is chilling to think that the HRTs of our country have sentencing powers that our criminal courts couldn’t dream of, yet have few of the safeguards and protections for the accused that our courts mainatin.
Second: The outcome of this case has been talked about for some time now, and doesn’t need to be re-hashed. This is the complaint about the trailer park tenant with a brain injury being refused a spot at a BC trailer park. What is surprising is the Tribunal member’s assertion as follows:
“…there is an inherent injury to dignity whenever a human right has been violated”
This is an appalling statement since it presupposes the outcome of every human rights ruling – that as long as it can be shown that the Human Rights Code has been violated, money must change hands to remedy an injury to dignity. There are probably thousands of individuals across Canada that aren’t aware that their dignity is injured!
Third: This philosophical item bears repeating. The prevailing theory of human rights amongst academia (and, by extension, the administration of the Commissions and Tribunals) is that rights are something given to citizens by government, not something that they inherently posess apart from government. Furthermore, these “rights” have no hierarchy, and the resulting conflicts can only be resolved by government intervention. The result is an unfettered and limitless intrusion of the state into the lives of its citizens, in order to “manage” their rights for them. Gone is the assumption that rights are something that government is tasked to respect and protect our basic rights – the introduction of all manner of additional rights and claims serves to delegitimize and ultimately destroy our inalienable rights.
Fourth: I confess that I see nothing wrong with Muslims paying full price to have their statement of faith plastered in subway stations. I may be obtuse, but I don’t understand the offense that people are expressing. Preaching one’s religion, publicly or privately, is foundational to our rights in Canada.
Fifth: I usually agree with the sentiment, but not the methods, behind human rights initiatives. This one is no different. Employers should not be asking for access to private social networking sites of prospective employees. That’s about as intrusive as asking for last year’s tax return or a list of the websites visited in the past week. Using the human rights apparatus to enforce this is, though, not what I would recommend.