The Lynch List, 28-May-2012

May 28, 2012

First: At the risk of employing the lowest form of humour, I can’t help but say that our fundamental liberties are being trampled on again. A fitness club has lost the right to enforce a dress code, and has been ordered to shell out $1900 to a man who wanted to wear hiking boots in the club. (decision is here)

You might be incredulous that the complainant couldn’t perform the very small portion of his workout regimen, indeed the only portion that required the hiking boots but no other equipment, in another place, even his own home. But you should be disgusted at the Tribunal’s definition of “disability”, under which grounds the complaint was substantiated. He suffered a “judo injury” a few years prior, from which he experienced “some pain”.

Under that definition, everyone who plays any manner of contact sports could classify as disabled, which in modern human-rights-land enables them to ride roughshod over the rights of others. As I’ve said many times before, it’s a slap in the face of the truly disabled for whom much of daily life is already a challenge.

Marni Soupcoff has more.

Second: Here is my objection to the wrong-headed kirpan settlement in Ontario – my long-standing objection to religious accommodation in general. If it’s okay for a law-abiding Sikh to wear an 8-inch blade into courthouses, then it should be okay for any other law-abiding citizen to do the same. Ditto with niqabs in the witness stand – I should be able to testify with a ski-mask on. And as for Christians and Jews who demand the state intervene to force their employers to grant them time off for holy days, the same provision should be extended to all regardless of faith – or better yet, extended to nobody at all.

The state should never be in the position of determining the authenticity of a person’s faith and/or religion and its proceeding practice. Instead, they should only be concerned with balancing the security against its consequential and necessary suppression of liberty.

Tarek Fatah blames the capitulation on the “guilt-ridden, bleeding heart white liberals” like Barbara Hall.

Third: Acting Commissioner David Langtry has said as much before, but clearly he’s not backing down. He spoke at a conference at York University recently:

“I believe that the Canadian Human Rights Act is potentially a new tool to address poverty

It was originally a tool to address discrimination. No amendments have been made to transform it into a weapon of wealth redistribution. But our CHRC appears to regard it as such.

Fourth: Where do failed election candidates end up? If they ran for the eventual ruling party, they get appointments to human rights tribunals. At least Robert Malo did.

Fifth: A human rights complaint is being filed by a Quebec bureaucrat working in the education ministry who was told to cease wearing symbols and slogans that support the province’s so-called “student strike”. Apparently it’s now your human right to openly demonstrate against your employer’s interests during work hours.

Sixth: Let me try this one out. If the infamous “bathroom bill” is passed in Ontario (a similar one has been introduced federally by MP Randall Garrison) , the entire concept of sex and gender becomes relative to one’s “identity” and “expression”, instead of their biology.

Can I try this too? I’d like to self-identify as Aboriginal when it comes to tax-time or should I ever come before a judge for sentencing. I shouldn’t need a doctor’s note to self-identify as disabled and force everyone to accommodate my whims (and footwear). I can self-identify as a woman when payday rolls around, so that I can demand the same pay as a male co-worker with far more experience and education but happens to have the same title. I could also self-identify as Cherokee when I want to score completely unearned points with university faculty. And, self-identifying as 19 would have helped me get me into bars or acquire my driver’s license at a biological, but arbitrary, age of 13…


The Lynch List, 21-May-2012

May 21, 2012

First: While I admit I have far more contempt than sympathy for Quebec’s snivelling student body (well, at least 1/3 of it) who are being well paid by the unions to wreak political havoc, nothing tests one’s principles more than their application to persons and/or ideas that one despises. Bill 78 contains much to be alarmed about, in the fashion that it appears in some cases to punish protesting and not lawbreaking.

Harsh penalties for protesters that physically prevent other students from attending class? He didn’t go far enough. In my opinion, it’s as much a hate crime as any other – assault on a person solely for their political views.

But the inane requirement for protests to give police 24 hours notice of the route and timing of a protest involving more than 50 people? If there is to be traffic disruptions, then well and good, but there doesn’t appear to be that distinction in the legislation. Even more eye-rolling is the demand for student leaders to encourage their students to comply with the law. Again, a negative stipulation would do instead of the positive – it is already illegal for an individual or organization to counsel another to break the law, and there’s no reason that the student groups couldn’t be charged under this principle.

It’s clear that Charest’s government doesn’t care much for fundamental human rights.

Second: The UN is the godfather of modern human “rights”, and so there is much to learn about the way that they attempt to apply them. John Ivison examines the rhetoric used by the UN Special Rapporteur on the “right to food”, noting first that he is wrong on his statistics. But more important, it is obvious that the UN’s efforts are to spread a particular political ideology – socialism – under the guise of human rights.

When asked whether all this didn’t smack a little of discredited bureaucratic socialist welfare systems that are currently crumbling all over Europe, he replied that it is the countries with generous social welfare programs that have proven most robust.

When Canada’s own fiscal constraints were raised, he said “the deficit is a pretext used for limiting social benefits.”

…kinda like the morbidly obese claiming that their health problems are a pretext to limit junk food intake. Brian Lilley has more.

Third: I won’t go into the details of the latest tiff between the Akwesasne  Mowhawks and the Canadian Border Security Agency, but I want to draw your attention to one thing:

…the MCA is also pursuing legal action against the CBSA on the same grounds as complaints filed with the CHRC in previous years.

The CBSA settled previous complaints in good faith through the mediation process. Yet they’re being sued “on the same grounds”. How does that compute?

Fourth: Looks like Bill C-304 is successfully making its way through parliament. Godspeed!

The Lynch List, 14-May-2012

May 14, 2012

First: Another page out of the book I’m writing, “1001 ways to exploit your ‘disability'”:

A BC government worker prefers to wear shorts to work. When his employer demanded that all employees wear pants for safety reasons (Which is the norm in a lot of workplaces I have been in) he complained that his varicose veins were irritated when he wears pants. Voila! He now has a human right to wear shorts to work.

The BC Human Rights Tribunal is entertaining this silliness. And truly disabled people across the country groan and slap their foreheads.

Second: An Ontario law student claims that Veganism should be a protected creed under the Code. Honestly, I do have a shred of sympathy for this one; the vegans that I know are pretty religious about it, and I think it’s reasonable that one’s religious dietary restrictions should be respected within reason for law-abiding citizens in public institutions like hospitals. Prisoners, on the other hand, should just be content that the taxpayer is actually feeding them anything.

Third: I’m actually disappointed that the anti-Semitic comic Dieudonné will not be coming to Canada for his scheduled shows. Not because I agree with anything this lunatic has to say, but more to test the mettle and impartiality of our provincial and federal censors. If Mark Steyn receives a public rebuke in Ontario and several days of hearings in BC for writing a piece critical of Muslims, and Guy Earle was put in the proverbial stocks for putting down some homosexual hecklers, you’d imagine Dieudonné would be symbolically tied to the bumper of Barbara Hall’s hybrid Hummer and dragged through the city, would you not?

Fourth: Among several other points of argument, there is one aspect to this Toronto Star editorial by the AODA that is particularly disingenuous. The author makes an erroneous assumption that all human rights complainants are automatically victims. It ignores the presumption of innocence. It also ignores the fact that often the respondents are victims of vexatious or spurious complaints, and often have had their human rights under the Code violated as well. Slanting the process towards the complainants is simply a miscarriage of justice, any way you look at it.

Fifth: I’ll give Paul Schneidereit of the Herald the last word on the T-shirt fracas, in a well-worded, balanced editorial forwarded to me by a loyal reader.

I’m no human rights expert, but it strikes me if you need an expert to tell you what could be “reasonably interpreted” from a five-word message, perhaps that’s a clue that someone, somewhere has, um, over-reacted.

The Lynch List, 07-May-2012

May 7, 2012

First: 19-year-old William Swinimer was suspended for 15 days for wearing a t-shirt that read, “Life is wasted without Jesus”. Did he run and cry to a human rights tribunal? Nope, he decided to fight for his freedom of speech, and pledged to wear the t-shirt again when he was allowed back in class. Note that the young man never disrespected authority – he served his multiple suspensions without a fuss, didn’t organize a rock-throwing protest, and there’s no evidence he planned to blow up a bridge.

The school board responded by sending the matter to a “human rights expert” who would decide whether his t-shirt violated the rights of his fellow students, i.e. those who whined that their right not to be offended was being violated. Michael Den Tandt opines:

Here’s how the fuss might have been avoided: They could have told the kids who  complained to stop being so damned sensitive.

So what was waiting for William this morning at the school? The school board, the superintendant, faciliators from the provicial Justice department, and representatives from the human rights commission. The entire student body was invited to attend a “forum” at which William’s right to wear the shirt would be discussed, with all of those officials poised to set this troublesome kid straight. No wonder his father angrily yanked his son out of school.

(oh, and by the way, the atheists agree with Swinimer)

Second: I understand the argument that the Ottawa police shouldn’t object to the collection of race-based data if they aren’t doing anything wrong. What I object to about this sort of thing is what will be happening in practice. Just as speech controls “chill” expression, so will police officers be taking a conscious or unconscious tally of the races of people they stop, making sure their statistics don’t look out of place. That will result in a government initiative prompting police officers treating people of differently based on race.

We should be trying to encourage our police officers to be color-blind in their enforcement of the law. This policy does exactly the opposite.

Third: As the OHRC continues to campaign for the transfer of city planning authority from municipalities to itself, it is interesting to note the reasons behind Kitchener’s bylaws that restrict group home placement:

Kitchener, Ont., for example, a separation bylaw was enacted to arrest what was seen as the decline of a downtown neighbourhood where there was a concentration of multiple dwellings with absentee landlords, assisted and supportive housing, and residential care facilities, together with problems relating to drugs and prostitution, according to Kim Mullin, a partner with WeirFoulds LLP who acted for the City of Kitchener at an Ontario Municipal Board hearing challenging the separation bylaw on the basis it was discriminatory.

So the effect of the OHRC’s plan on the disabled in Kitchener would be to consign them to dilapidated housing infested with drugs and prostitution, and run by absentee landlords. So glad that they have the best interests of the disabled at heart.

Fourth: The UN is here to promote yet another positive right – the “right” to food. And not just any food, but high-quality, nutritious, and sustainable food. And guess who would end up paying for it if the UN’s latest wet dream came true. Hide those wallets, but be sure to invite anyone in your town who is truly hungry to your supper table. I’m sure you won’t find a single one willing to attend…