Calgary Herald – Society must tread cautiously when ruling on free speech, especially when a human rights panel operates like a kangaroo court. We hope the outcome of Lund’s appeal will reflect that.
Tag Archives: AHRC
CBC – The minister responsible for the Alberta Human Rights Commission says a complaint about an anti-gay letter to a Red Deer newspaper should never have gone before the commission.
“It’s not there to mediate hurt feelings caused by some words or not,” said Culture Minister Lindsay Blackett. “If it’s hateful, then that’s a hate crime. And that’s something for the Crown attorneys and the police services to investigate.”
Calgary Herald – Almost eight years after a controversial letter to the editor appeared in a central Alberta newspaper, the legal battle over whether a former pastor’s comments against homosexuals violate Alberta’s hate laws continues.
In December , the Court of Queen’s Bench ruled that Stephen Boissoin’s letter to editor  against the manner homosexuality is being taught in school was “jarring, offensive, bewildering, puerile, nonsensical and insulting,” but not hateful…
University of Calgary professor Darren Lund launched the original complaint against Boissoin.
On March 26 , Lund filed an appeal based on what he views as Justice Wilson’s “problematic” ruling, which factors in the intention of an individual writing hateful comments while human rights law focuses on the effect of such a publication.
Calgary Herald – In its search for tribunal members to judge acceptable speech, the Alberta Human Rights Commission recently posted an ad listing desirable attributes in applicants. “A solid knowledge of human rights principles” and “superior analytical” skills were at the top of the list.
Paula Simons, Edmonton Journal – Our criminal code already contains criminal sanctions to deal with true hate speech, speech so provocative and vicious and unjustified that it encourages or incites hatred and violence. Other speech — even speech that’s rude, malicious, or blasphemous, even speech that hurts our feelings, infuriates us or challenges our core moral beliefs — should be protected by our constitution.
More international bad press for Canadian human rights commissions.
[The Australian] All this is frighteningly reminiscent of the situation in Canada, where official agencies of the state prosecute citizens for the thought-crime of political incorrectness. Canada’s federal and provincial human rights commissions were established to fight discrimination in housing and employment. But these quasi-judicial bodies have metastasised into partisan star-chamber tribunals that selectively file charges against those who espouse conservative political or religious beliefs.
[National Post] Brainy little kangaroos, our homegrown marsupials. The Bathurst Island kind have nothing on them. Our joeys leaped out of the way with Olympic alacrity, once they heard the thunder rolling down the track.
Here pussy, pussy, have some milk. See what a nice little kitten thought police types can be, once they’re de-clawed.
Whoa, just a sec! Hatred? Excuse me, but what is hatred? The Muslim complainants thought that what Levant and Steyn published or wrote was hatr …
Oh, complainants, what do they know? Entre nous, they’re just a bunch of Jews, Muslims, homosexuals … We’re officials. We know. Anyone above the rank of obergruppenführer at the Federal or Provincial Human Rights Commissions knows. We’re trained to tell the good cholesterol “offensiveness” from the bad cholesterol “hate.” It’s a skill you acquire in human-rights school … You sit for an exam and get a framed diploma for the wall.
Funny. All this time we thought elected officials wrote the law. Oops.
From the Daddy, I Took The Car Without Permission, Please Ground Me file:
[Globe and Mail] In the end, though, human-rights commissions should advise their respective legislatures to repeal these dangerously vague sections, so that those who exercise the freedom of speech and press are no longer harassed by such complaints.
CHRC punted on Steyn. OHRC punted on Steyn. AHRC now punts on Levant. BCHRT…you’re up! Come on, chickenshits. You nailed McDonald’s for handwashing, surely you can bust Steyn for a hate crime. Or will you punt, too?
[CBC] The Alberta Human Rights Commission has dismissed a complaint against publisher Ezra Levant for reprinting the provocative Danish Muhammad cartoons in his magazine in 2006.
The complaint was filed by the Edmonton Council of Muslim Communities.
Levant, who has characterized the controversy as a free speech issue, said he was pleased with the outcome and pledged to continue fighting against censorship.
[Calgary Herald] Today, we celebrate the many gifts this country has given us, and remember what an ultimate privilege it is to be called Canadian. But eternal vigilance is the price we pay for those gifts, and standing on guard must be more than a line in our national anthem. The danger signs are all around — record levels of apathy among Alberta voters, and human rights commissions handing down rulings which, far from protecting rights, trample on the most basic ones such as free speech.
[Calgary Herald] A former pastor is appealing an Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission decision ordering him to stop publishing disparaging comments about homosexuals.
Stephen Boissoin filed an appeal with the Court of Queen’s Bench last week after the provincial commission ruled he violated human rights laws by writing a letter in a newspaper that attacked gays and gay activists.
[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.
[Edmonton Sun] MEDICINE HAT — Citing problems with violence and vandalism, some businesses in this southern Alberta city are banning British soldiers.
One local pub recently placed a sign on the door warning that the soldiers are not welcome. Other businesspeople have reported they have had to close shop for sanitation after soldiers urinated on the carpet or vomited on a pool table.
There have also been reports of soldiers damaging facilities, stealing tips from waitresses and exposing themselves to other patrons.
“You can’t paint all people of a certain colour or a certain race, you can’t stereotype every single one of them and say ‘Every single one of them is going to cause harm,’ ” said Marie Riddle, director of the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission.
However, there is a clause in the Human Rights Act that says if a business can demonstrate they have reasonable and justifiable causes, they can discriminate against a customer.
“There is no real reason for us to discriminate against older drivers,” say Sandra Hentzen, Coast Mountain’s vice president for human resources. “Nothing special happens at age 65 to make you a worse driver. If we forced drivers to resign, we’d be violating the human rights code.”
An Alberta precedent?
But the school boards that have decided to block over-65 drivers from their fleets are relying on a 1999 ruling by an Alberta human rights panel for their precedent in believing that the new anti-discrimination law should not apply to bus drivers.
[Canwest] Five years after launching a human-rights complaint against oilsands giant Syncrude Canada, a devout Sikh man who refused to shave his beard for work has won the right to have his full case heard.
At the outset, Syncrude lawyers argued the company was not Wadhwa’s “employer” under the meaning of Alberta’s human-rights legislation. Instead, lawyers for the oilsands company said he was employed by a subcontractor, Casca Electric, and that Syncrude should not have to deal with his complaint.
In December 2005, the commission dismissed Syncrude’s claim, noting that Wadhwa travelled from Calgary to Fort McMurray on a Syncrude bus.
A trifecta. Free speech vs Religious Rights vs Gay Rights.
A Canadian human rights tribunal ordered a Christian pastor to renounce his faith and never again express moral opposition to homosexuality, according to a new report.
[Calgary Herald] All of which leads to this simple question. If the section of the Canadian Human Rights Act that enables all this anti-democratic nonsense is such a dog, why doesn’t the liberty loving Conservative government do something about it? Introduce a bill that simply removes Section 13, end of story.
There’s lots of support. It’s an open secret this comes up every week in caucus, (so the part of the Tory base that thinks their people aren’t trying needs to know that and give them due credit.) The more the story gets out about people like Steyn, or Calgary’s Ezra Levant, or Bishop Fred Henry getting hounded for a pastoral letter to his congregation, the more the general public will be on side.
Now we get it. All basic human rights are equal, but some are more equal than others.
[Chronicle Herald] Freedom of expression has long been regarded as a core democratic value, if not the core democratic value; but free speech is not an absolute right, and even the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms allows for laws to override basic rights if, as Section 1 states, they can be “demonstrably justified in a free and democratic society.”
More from the Human Rights/Fast Food file:
The British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal has ruled that Beena Datt is exempt from the rules of hygiene because she has a skin condition which is irritated by soap and water. In order to protect her rights, the commission ruled that even though hand washing is the law in B.C., McDonald’s Restaurants can’t require Datt to wash her hands when she starts a shift, after going to the toilet, or whenever an alarm sounds reminding employees to wash up.
As the grand finale to this three-ring circus, McDonalds was ordered to pay Datt $50,000. In case you think this is an isolated incident, the Alberta Human Rights Commission has declared it a human right to work in a restaurant while infected with hepatitis. Everyone feel better now?
Celebrating the anniversary of a Canadian custom. When religion and sex clash, sex wins hands down.
This month marks the 10 year anniversary of the historic Supreme Court decisionVriend v. Alberta,  1.S.C.R. 493; a defining moment in the rights of gays and lesbians in Canada. It was also a proud occasion in the history of the Women’s Legal Education and Action Fund (LEAF), an intervener in the case.
One such case involved Delvin Vriend, an openly gay man, who, in 1991, was fired from his position as a laboratory coordinator at Kings College, a private catholic university. The college defended the dismissal, claiming that Vriend’s homosexuality was in conflict with their board of governors’ newly adopted position statement on religious practices.
What is the Human Rights Commission (HRC)? What are its boundaries? Has it gone past its time of usefulness? Is it and has it been fair to all people?
Alan Boronoy, one of the architects of the HRC in the ‘60s and ‘70s, is highly appalled at the way these commissions are ultimately used against freedom of speech.