[Vancouver Sun] A strata council has been ordered to pay a blind man $12,000 for frustrating his attempts to buy into a Vancouver Island townhouse development because he was bringing his guide dog with him.
“I have concluded that it was Ms. Frazelle’s understanding that the strata council could only accept a dog over 15 kg if it was a registered guide dog. This had an adverse impact on Mr. Jones because of his physical disability,” [BC Human Rights Tribunal Member, Barbara Humphreys] said in her written decision.
Humphreys said that while Chloe didn’t have training as a guide dog, there was evidence she had adapted to the role as Jones lost his sight.
[Reuters] The newspaper quoted Attorney-General Walter Woon as saying that it would be “hypocrisy” for such activists to decide what is acceptable for the rest of society.
“There is a misconception that Singapore officialdom is against human rights,” the pro-government daily quoted Woon as saying at a Singapore Law Society event.
“What we are against is the assumption of some people that when they decide what are human rights, it is a decision for the rest of humanity,”
[Canadian Press] That’s what animal rights activists in West Virginia had in mind when they donated Canadian interactive software that replicates a frog dissection to Wheeling Park High School.
Marilyn Grindley, a member of the Ohio County Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, said dissecting animals “desensitizes kids.”
“It tells them that we do not have any respect for any animal.”
She wants to end the practice.
Tip of the hat for a gutsy move on this guy’s part. There goes his grant money.
[Thane Rosenbaum, WSJ] This is a difficult issue for me. I didn’t vote for President Bush – twice. And as a human-rights law professor, the events at Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo Bay, along with various elements of the Patriot Act and the National Security Agency’s wiretapping of Americans, are all greatly troubling to me.
All this time Americans have been safe from suicide bombers, biological warfare and collapsing skyscrapers, while the rest of the world has been on red alert. And yet President Bush is regarded as the worst president in American history? Sorry, I must be missing something here.
[CHRC website, May 29, 2008] The Commission was commenting on the passage of Bill C-21 in the House of Commons.
“This is a milestone piece of legislation,” said CHRC Chief Commissioner Jennifer Lynch, Q.C., “How appropriate that this historic step forward by Parliament is being taken now, as today is the National Day of Action.”
Repeal of this section is just a first step. The real work for the Commission and for First Nations — building effective human rights protection — is just beginning.
Don’t forget to pony up the cash…
[Jennifer Lynch, Speech, April 19, 2007] I would like to articulate clearly the imperative need of ensuring that both First Nations and the Commission have the resources needed to ensure that implementation is successful. No matter how well an interpretative provision is drafted or how long the transitional period is, implementation will not be successful without adequate resources to build needed capacity. Without that capacity, implementation may falter and this would bring the Canadian Human Rights Act into disrepute. No one wants this result.
…and just remember who you’re dealing with, too.
[Speech, same page] Finally, I would like to clarify that the Commission’s statutory mandate goes well beyond the investigation and resolution of human rights complaints. The Act makes the Commission the guardian of human rights by giving the Commission broad powers to ensure that human rights are effectively implemented in the federal jurisdiction.
But it’s all about Aboriginal rights, isn’t it?
Posted in Bureaucrats, Cash, CHRC, Your Money
Tagged Aboriginal Rights, Bureaucrats, Canada, Cash, CHRC, Human Rights, Jennifer Lynch, Politics, Your Money
[Canwest] Teresa Hitchings, 31, filed a complaint with the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission after she was terminated from her job as an order desk clerk at salon products company P.S.S. Professional Salon Services.
After a 2005 hearing, a human rights tribunal ruled in Hitchings’ favour after boss Don Campbell testified Hitchings likely would have received a letter of warning for being “a troublemaker” at work, had she not been on maternity leave.
The tribunal awarded her a total of $4,384 in lost wages and personal injuries suffered.
Campbell appealed, and a Queen’s Bench judge upheld the ruling in 2006.
But last December, the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal overturned that decision, saying the tribunal disregarded enough evidence to affect its ruling.
The human rights commission tried to fight back, applying for leave to appeal to the Supreme Court of Canada, but on Thursday, the country’s top court refused to hear the case. The court does not release reasons for refusal.
[Ottawa Citizen] Mrs. Blair, who is also an accomplished barrister specializing in human rights law and member of Britain’s Queen’s Counsel, is being criticized as “cash-hungry,” “opportunistic,” and for providing too much personal information.
[Vancouver Sun] Female ski jumpers have attacked the wrong organization in trying to win access to the Vancouver 2010 Winter Games, the organizers of the Canadian Olympics said Friday.
In a statement of defence filed Friday, the Vancouver Organizing Committee categorically rejected all the women’s allegations with a simple statement: “The plaintiffs have sued the wrong defendant.”
[Toronto Star] “A good number of human rights disputes are about education programs,” says [New Brunswick HR Commish] Porter. “If we do more to work rationally together, there should be more clarity.”
“This is not about whether inclusion is a good idea or not. The UN convention commits us to providing access. The question is: How are we doing? Are we fulfilling our obligations?”
Says [Inclusion International President] Richler: “We need to interpret what the UN convention means in making decisions, to find a way to let everyone know how to approach things.”
Posted in Bureaucrats, NBHRC, OHRC, United Nations, Your Money
Tagged Bureaucrats, Canada, Education, Gordon Porter, Human Rights, Inclusion International, NBHRC, OHRC, Politics, UN, United Nations, Your Money
Sure China violates human rights, but if they’re beating the Americans, who cares?
[Globe and Mail] For the most part, The Post-American World tells a refreshingly cheerful story of China’s and India’s rise to global prominence. Zakaria treats both, different as they are, as success stories rather than harbingers of a new and dangerous era. Based in large measure on his Newsweek cover stories, Zakaria’s narrative is more about China and India than it is about the decline in U.S. fortunes.
[Sudbury Star] It is tempting to dismiss criticism of Canada’s human rights record by Amnesty International in the group’s annual report, given more pressing problems elsewhere, but we must not be so complacent.
Simply saying we’re not in the same league as those notorious regimes – Myanmar and Zimbabwe, for example – is not the way to ensure human rights are preserved, and not lost incrementally.
Yet more from the Sex/Religion file. Noticing a trend yet?
[Star Phoenix] A Saskatchewan human rights tribunal has fined a Regina marriage commissioner $2,500 after finding he discriminated against a gay couple when he declined to perform their same-sex ceremony.
“I’m very disappointed in the decision,” Orville Nichols, who has performed nearly 2,000 marriages since 1983, said in an interview Friday. He had referred the couple to another marriage commissioner because his religious beliefs kept him from performing the ceremony.
Posted in Bureaucrats, Cash, SHRC, When Human Rights Collide, Your Money
Tagged Bureaucrats, Canada, Cash, Gay Rights, Human Rights, Marilou McPhedran, Politics, Religious Rights, Same Sex Marriage, SHRC, Your Money
Another trend we’re watching: lawyers that swear allegiance to their own country’s legal systems, yet continue to propose the idea of worldwide law under their tutelage.
“It is a great honor to be elected President of this growing and dynamic organization,” said Pinto. “As law schools educate the next generation of lawyers about their countries law, we must also educate our students about different legal systems in this increasingly interconnected world.”
Pinto is a Professor of International Law and International Human Rights Law and the Director of the Human Rights Program, at the University of Buenos Aires Law School. She has held two mandates on behalf of the United Nations Commission on Human Rights and is the author of several books and articles on the topic of Human Rights Law.
More from the Sex/Religion file.
OTTAWA – The Federal Court of Appeal has rejected the legal challenge of a longtime public servant who wanted her $800 annual union dues diverted to her church to protest the union’s support for gay marriage and its zero tolerance against “homophobia” and “heterosexism.”
Susan Comstock, a devout Catholic who worked for the federal government for 35 years until her retirement last September, unsuccessfully argued that forcing her to pay dues to the Public Service Alliance of Canada violated her Charter of Rights guarantee to freedom of religion and freedom of conscience.
The Canadian Association of Journalists has formally applied for standing as an intervenor at the upcoming British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal hearings on a complaint of religious and racial discrimination against Maclean’s magazine.
This writer’s first-hand experience as Deputy Minister of Labour, drafting the first Human Rights Code for B.C. in 1974, fully supports the view from Mr. Levant’s testimony: “The commission was meant as a low-level, quasi-judicial body to arbitrate squabbles about housing, employment and other matters, where a complainant felt that their race or sex was the reason they were discriminated against. The commission was meant to deal with deeds, not words or ideas.”
Posted in BCHRT, Bloggers, Bureaucrats, CHRC, OHRC, Your Money
Tagged BCHRT, Canada, CHRC, Ezra Levant, Free Speech, Human Rights, Maclean's, Mark Steyn, OHRC
[ABC, Australia] “Women will pursue termination regardless of the law. All the law does is determine whether the high cost, whether they will pay a high cost or a low cost for doing that,” she said.
“So we need to just acknowledge that terminations happen and we need to ensure that for the majority of reproductive people, they’re able to make that decision for themselves.”
“The residential schools apology sounds pretty similar: on paper, yeah, great news that the government is apologizing and acknowledging something horrible and disgusting. But when you actually look at the numbers, the apology is pretty … hollow. For example, Harper compensated head tax survivors or widows with $20,000 between 400 people. The children of head tax survivors were not eligible for payments, and since head tax ended in 1923 you can imagine that few of the people who actually paid head tax are still alive, though their children (and grandchildren) who were deeply affected by it are. They don’t get anything though.”
Canadian criminal court doesn’t provide the answer you want? No problem. Here comes the commission to give you justice (read, cash).
Question: how long do you think it is before prosecutors say, “We’re overworked, and there’s not much evidence on this case. Send them to the human rights commission.”
A Canadian human rights tribunal in Quebec has ordered a father and son to pay $15,000 in damages to a Montreal-area gay couple they admitted harassing.
The youth was arrested but never charged, as prosecutors suggested an apology would suffice, along with psychiatric counseling.
An apology was made, but the gay couple went to the tribunal seeking $37,000 in damages with claims the apology was only a ruse to avoid prosecution, the report said.
The judge awarded the couple $5,000 each in moral damages and $2,500 each in punitive damages, the report said.
[CTV] “I’m surprised he’s upset [about my memoir],” said Blair, a human rights lawyer. “His job wasn’t to look out for me or the family, his job was to ensure the government’s business was put over.”
[Canadian Press] The government originally wanted the legislation to take effect in six months.
Native leaders from across Canada said the bill in its original form gave cash-strapped First Nations too little time to prepare for potentially costly complaints.
More from the Abortion/Free Speech file, and another example of why we’re called DWE. The human rights answer to everything? “Ban them all.”
In response to a series of controversies over abortion debates on Canadian campuses, the student government of York University in Toronto has tabled an outright ban on student clubs that are opposed to abortion.
Gilary Massa, vice-president external of the York Federation of Students, said student clubs will be free to discuss abortion in student space, as long as they do it “within a pro-choice realm,” and that all clubs will be investigated to ensure compliance.
“You have to recognize that a woman has a choice over her own body,” Ms. Massa said. “We think that these pro-life, these anti-choice groups, they’re sexist in nature … The way that they speak about women who decide to have abortions is demoralizing. They call them murderers, all of them do … Is this an issue of free speech? No, this is an issue of women’s rights.“
[Edmonton Journal] “I am absolutely thrilled and deeply honoured to be awarded this fellowship. It is something I have dreamed about as a journalist for years,” said Thomson, who was awarded the Kahanoff Journalism Fellowship at a gala event Wednesday night.
Thomson, a graduate of the University of Waterloo’s English co-op program, has worked in radio, television and print as a reporter, producer and political writer. His career has taken him across Canada as well as to Mexico, Russia and, most recently, Afghanistan. He appears as a regular commentator on television and radio. He has won a National Newspaper Award and a B’nai Brith Award for human rights reporting.
Governor David Paterson’s legal counsel has written to state agencies informing them that after a court ruling, failure to recognise gay marriages violates the state’s human rights law.