[Ottawa Citizen] The state continues to be on the rampage, not only in tyrannies where it’s on the rampage by definition, but also in “free” countries like Canada or present-day Germany. When I stepped ashore in New Brunswick 52 years ago, I wouldn’t have thought that one day I’d have to put the word “free” in quotation marks with reference to Canada.
Posted in BCHRT, Bureaucrats, CHRC, International, OHRC, Your Money
Tagged AHRC, Canada, CHRC, George Jonas, Human Rights, Media, OHRC, Politics
[CP] Ontario residents filing human rights complaints will have faster service and access to free legal support as a result of changes to the province’s Human Rights Code taking effect Monday.
The legislation also removes a $10,000 cap on awards for “mental anguish” caused by discrimination.
The law also outlines that individuals can now be compensated for injury to dignity, feelings and self-respect.
Other changes to the law include an extension of the window to file a complaint to one year from six months.
Some excerpts from a real winner:
[Calgary Sun, Jose Rodriguez] As Canadians, we don’t need a ticker tape parade to affirm our patriotism — which comes in the quiet confidence of tolerance.
We have our own language with uniquely Canadian words like pogey, poutine and toonie.
But in the end, destiny and a referendum always keep us together.
Three cheers for welfare cheques, cheese gravy, and referendums.
[The Bulletin] City council has appointed Geri Sanson as the city’s new integrity commissioner, effective September 1, 2008. The integrity commissioner provides advice, complaint resolution and education to council members and appointees of most of the city’s agencies, boards and commissions on the application of the city’s code of conduct and other by-laws, policies and legislation governing ethical behavior.
[Christie Blatchford, Globe and Mail] About 10 minutes later, a fellow passenger warned me that she thought the clerk had called security. I couldn’t believe it, and kept reading, and sure enough, within a few minutes, a young woman with a walkie-talkie in her hands (I guess so if I suddenly turned into a human missile she could call for help) asked to speak to me. She’d had a report about “an incident,” she said. So I told her through gritted teeth what had happened, she magnanimously agreed it was “not illegal” to say what I’d said, apologized and went on her way.
When we boarded a little later, I asked for the ninny’s name. He refused and hissed, “If you make a scene, I’ll call the pilot and you won’t be flying tonight.”
[Editor and Publisher] Panelist Bruce MacKinnon of The Chronicle Herald in Nova Scotia, Canada, described receiving lots of flak for a 2008 cartoon showing the wife of a man suspected of terrorism. The cartoon’s burka-clad woman (she’s a devout Muslim in real life) was pictured holding a sign that read “I want millions!” as she said “I can put it towards my husband’s next training camp.”
MacKinnon, who has a history of promoting tolerance and minority rights in his cartoons, was hit with a “hate propaganda” criminal complaint (since dropped) and a human-rights complaint (still pending) from an Islamic group in Halifax.
Note: MacKinnon, the Canadian, is the only cartoonist with a story involving a government body investigating him.
We happen to agree with Joseph on this one. If the CHRC wasn’t in the papers and blogs so much these days, or if Mark Steyn was named Joe Blow, or if Maclean’s was named Macnobody’s, it’s doubtful they wouldn’t have heard the case. As for his assertion of “inappropriate” pressure, well…that’s life, bud.
End result: the commission is worried about their rep and their ass more than they’re worried about their self-styled mandate. And that, too, is nothing new.
[Faisal Joseph] “Based on the Investigator’s findings a hearing was warranted to allow evidence to be presented and arguments to be made,” continued Joseph. “However we are not surprised at the decision in light of the inappropriate political pressure that has been brought to bear on the Commission and that has prompted the Commission to set up an internal review of its procedures under s. 13(1).”
[Commission's finding] (A)n argument could be made that the material in the complaint bears some of the hallmarks of hate as identified in the Kouba decision, that it does portray persons of the Muslim faith in a negative light based upon broad generalizations, and therefore may expose persons of the Muslim faith to hatred or contempt.
Spin the Tribunal wheel until you get your day in court.
Regarding the Mark Steyn article in Maclean’s:
Ontario Human Rights Commission (dismissed, but offers opinion):
While freedom of expression must be recognized as a cornerstone of a functioning democracy, the Commission strongly condemns the Islamophobic portrayal of Muslims, Arabs, South Asians and indeed any racialized community in the media, such as the Maclean’s article and others like them, as being inconsistent with the values enshrined in our human rights codes. Media has a responsibility to engage in fair and unbiased journalism.
Canadian Human Rights Commission (dismissed, with a concern about “minimal impairment” to free speech and/or not quite racist enough):
Overall, however, the views expressed in the Steyn article, when considered as a whole and in context, are not of an extreme nature as defined by the Supreme Court in the Taylor decision. Considering the purpose and scope of section 13 (1), and taking into account that an interpretation of s. 13 (1) must be consistent with the minimal impairment of free speech, there is no reasonable basis in the evidence to warrant the appointment of a Tribunal.
For these reasons, this complaint is dismissed.
Bingo! British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal:
So we are in, and almost ready to go. As trials of the century/year/week go, this one is decidedly down-market: the courtroom would make a good walk-in closet. Maclean’slegal team is out in force, a phalanx of half a dozen suits. The opposing counsel, by contrast, is one suit and two or three badly-dressed juniors.
Posted in BCHRT, Bloggers, Bureaucrats, CHRC, OHRC, Your Money
Tagged BCHRT, CHRC, Heather MacNaughton, Human Rights, Jennifer Lynch QC, Maclean's, OHRC, Politics
[CP] The Supreme Court of Canada has wiped out a $500,000 punitive damages award against Honda of Canada in what had been a landmark wrongful-dismissal suit.
The award had been the biggest ever handed down in Canadian employment law history. But the justices said the award was a mistake.
In a 7-2 decision, justices said lower courts were wrong in awarding punitive damages to Kevin Keays, a chronic fatigue syndrome sufferer who was fired by Honda in 2000.
Justice Michel Bastarache said the original trial judge made “palpable and overriding errors” about the company’s behaviour. He said the judge found that Honda acted “in bad faith” in firing Keays.
“There was, in my opinion, no such breach and no justification for an award of damages for conduct in dismissal.”
He said Honda’s conduct, overall, “was not sufficiently egregious or outrageous to warrant an award of punitive damages.”
Keays also won two years back pay from the company at trial.
The Ontario Court of Appeal agreed he had been wrongfully dismissed, but reduced the punitive damages award to $100,000.
The Supreme Court erased the damage award entirely and reduced the back pay portion to 15 months salary.
[TDN] The long-running debate over if and where the city should help develop a dog park seems to have no end. We thought the issue had been settled a couple of weeks ago, when the Longview City Council voted 4-3 to contribute $15,000 in leftover Neighborhood Park Grant Funds to fence off three acres at Gerhart Gardens Park. Councilman Chuck Wallace thought differently.
The day following that June 12 vote, Wallace contacted the Washington State Human Rights Commission to question whether or not the council’s action squared with the federal Americans with Disabilities Act. Wallace worries the park’s planned location would make it inaccessible to many elderly and disabled dog owners. “We’re expected to keep everyone in mind, not just the loudest squeaky wheel,” he told Daily News reporter Amy M.E. Fischer. “I do believe I’m doing the right thing. … This is definitely opening up an issue.”
[The Province] Did you hear the one about the two lesbians who walked into a comedy club and started heckling the comedian? He turned the tables on them, so they complained to the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal. And now the joke is on the taxpayers forced to pay for this kangaroo court.
Well, it was obviously not so humorous when comic Guy Earle got into an ugly exchange with two women at Zesty’s Restaurant in Vancouver in May of last year.
But you get the point: This kind of petty dispute should never have been accepted as legitimate by any government-funded agency, yet alone one that’s become the poster girl for political correctness.
[Calgary Herald] Hours after a Supreme Court of Canada decision ensured Jim Pankiw, accused of racism, would need to face a human rights commission, the former MP threatened to boycott the tribunal.
The court’s decision Thursday morning meant Pankiw, former MP for Saskatoon-Humboldt, will be investigated by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal over nine allegations of discrimination.
“What we have now is a government bureaucracy who can censor elected officials,” he said.
[CBC] Picture this mental image: Former prime minister Pierre Trudeau stands with his back to the thundering waters of Niagara Falls, clutching a red maple leaf in his hand. On Canada Day.
Can you imagine a more Canadian scene? Only if the robotic space Canadarm somehow snuck into the frame, according to a recent poll.
The Ipsos-Reid survey, on behalf of the Dominion Institute and the federal Department of Citizenship and Immigration, asked Canadians what best defines their country.
After tallying the results, Trudeau was revealed as the person who most defines Canada. Niagara Falls was the defining place, Canada Day the defining event, Canadarm the defining accomplishment and the maple leaf was the defining symbol.
[Wales Online] BOSSES will be encouraged to discriminate in favour of female and ethnic minority candidates under plans announced by Equality Minister Harriet Harman yesterday.
The forthcoming Equality Bill will aim to close the gender pay gap and clamp down on age discrimination – 40 years after Barbara Castle’s landmark Equal Pay Act.
Defending the moves against the charge that white men could miss out on promotions, Ms Harman said: “You don’t get progress if there isn’t a bit of a push forward.”
Note: Kilroy is an ex-con, and her daughter is currently facing a fraud and theft rap.
[The Age] “We need to start talking about prison abolition. The prison system is a failure. Prison generates violence and institutionalisation. We need to stop people going into prison and stop them from returning to prison,” [Debbie Kiroy said].
The first former Australian inmate to become a lawyer, she called for the redirection of resources – including the Victorian government’s recent budget pledge to increase spending on prisons by $591 million – to social policies for “people on the ground” for education, health and housing.
“We pour money down the throats of prisons to prop them up when we should initially be (freeing) all non-violent people and supporting them safely in the community,” she told The Age.
[CNW, Press Release] Maclean’s magazine is pleased that the Canadian Human Rights Commission has dismissed the complaint brought against it by the Canadian Islamic Congress. The decision is in keeping with our long-standing position that the article in question, “The Future Belongs to Islam,” an excerpt from Mark Steyn’s best-selling book America Alone, was a worthy piece of commentary on important geopolitical issues, entirely within the bounds of normal journalistic practice.
Though gratified by the decision, Maclean’s continues to assert that no human rights commission, whether at the federal or provincial level, has the mandate or the expertise to monitor, inquire into, or assess the editorial decisions of the nation’s media.
Posted in Bloggers, Bureaucrats, CHRC, Your Money
Tagged Bureaucrats, CHRC, CIC, Free Speech, Human Rights, Jennifer Lynch QC, Maclean's, Your Money
Not much to do with “human rights,” but the irony was too rich for us to pass up.
[New York Post] Sexy CBS siren Lara Logan spent her days covering the heat of the Iraq war – but that was nothing compared to the heat of her nights.
The “60 Minutes” reporter and former swimsuit model apparently courted two beaus while she was in Baghdad, and has been labeled a homewrecker for allegedly destroying the marriage of a civilian contractor there, sources said.
[Canwest] The Supreme Court of Canada rules Friday on a wrongful dismissal case that has left Canadian employers on edge since 2005 when an Ontario trial judge awarded $500,000 in a punitive damages to a fired Honda Canada employee who suffered from chronic fatigue syndrome.
The rational for the award was upheld by the Ontario Court of Appeal, although the record payout was reduced to a still-record $100,000. Honda opted to pursue the case to the Supreme Court.
[Toronto Star, Letter to the Editor] “Journalism” that promotes and normalizes racism against minority groups poses a far greater threat to liberal democracy than do Canada’s hate laws and human rights commissions. And so while I applaud Milner’s undoubtedly “good intentions” in defending freedom of speech, I fear that protection of speech that breeds hate and indifference to hate constitutes the real paving of “the road to hell.”
[Star Phoenix] The Supreme Court of Canada has dismissed former MP Jim Pankiw’s application to appeal a federal court ruling which refused to exempt him from a human rights investigation earlier this year.
As always, the country’s highest court did not give reasons for dismissing the application.
Pankiw became the subject of nine complaints to the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he used his MP communications budget to send “householder” mailouts to his constituents while he was a sitting MP in 2002 and 2003. He lost his seat in the subsequent election.
[AP] Americans can keep guns at home for self-defense, the Supreme Court ruled Thursday in the justices’ first-ever pronouncement on the meaning of gun rights under the Second Amendment.
The court’s 5-4 ruling struck down the District of Columbia’s ban on handguns. The decision went further than even the Bush administration wanted, but probably leaves most federal firearms restrictions intact.
That sound you hear is comics calling their agents to cancel flights.
Pat yourself on the back yet again for keeping the human rights commissions in business by paying their salaries. Where would they be without you?
The BCHRT is really leading the charge in questioning what people are allowed to say in New Canada. First a magazine, now a stand-up comic. Shakespeare and Twain can’t be far behind.
[Vancouver Sun] A Canadian stand-up comedian will face a human rights tribunal hearing after a woman complained she and her friends faced a “tirade of homophobic and sexist comments” while attending one of his shows.
In a decision released this week, the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal ruled there is enough evidence to hear the case of Vancouver woman Lorna Pardy against Toronto comedian Guy Earle. Zesty’s Restaurant in Vancouver, where the May 22, 2007, show took place, was also named in the complaint. The restaurant has since closed.
You can read the actual decision here, signed by the chair of the BCHRT herself. The short of it:
 I also cannot find that the complaint would not further the purposes of the Code, which are set out in s. 3. They include fostering a society in which there are no impediments to full and free participation in the social and cultural life of British Columbia and promoting a climate of understanding and mutual respect where all are equal in dignity and rights.
Look out comedians: no more jokes to anyone, about anything, ever.
Right of reply: not just a question for Canada anymore?
[Human Events] The speaker of the House made it clear to me and more than forty of my colleagues yesterday that a bill by Rep. Mike Pence (R.-Ind.) to outlaw the “Fairness Doctrine” (which a liberal administration could use to silence Rush Limbaugh, other radio talk show hosts and much of the new alternative media) would not see the light of day in Congress during ’08. In ruling out a vote on Pence’s proposed Broadcaster’s Freedom Act, Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D.-CA.) also signaled her strong support for revival of the “Fairness Doctrine” — which would require radio station owners to provide equal time to radio commentary when it is requested.
[Embassy, Canada's Foreign Policy News Weekly] Who of us is not embarrassed by the childish yet potent rants by Don Cherry, champion of both hockey fighting and a tougher military, on Canada’s ubiquitous TV program, Hockey Night in Canada?
[Don Cherry on Coach's Corner, March 22nd, 2008. Fast forward to 6:25 of the clip]
“This is his third tour. He went over three times. We feel so awful…I just…Allison, his wife, and his beautiful two-year-old daughter…he’ll just never see again. It just tears your heart out.”
[Don Cherry on Coach's Corner, Nov 11, 2006. Remembrance Day Commemoration]
“These are the bravest guys in the world. I know there’s a lot of people out there – we have to support them – I know there’s a lot of people out there don’t believe in the war. That’s your right. You can believe in it. But while they’re over there, we have to support them. We have to take care of the wounded. They should be the number one priority in this country, that they went over there and were wounded. I tell you, they fought the good fight, just like Steven [soldier that sent a letter thanking Cherry] said. And now we have to honour our fellow Canadians, who have gone over there, and have left everything that was near and dear to them, and who never will return. God love them.”
[Kingston Whig-Standard] I was interested to read about Bath Institution inmate Peter Collins’ hard work in support of better health for inmates being honoured by Human Rights Watch and the HIV Aids [sic] Network (“Federal inmate receives award,” June 17).
We have some pretty strong evidence of Collins having done some personal work and working as hard as he can to improve not only his own life but also the lives of many others. Those others include not only the fellow prisoners for whom he advocates but also their families and their eventual neighbours whenever the prisoners are released from the Correctional Service and return to our communities. In other words, you and me.