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…