Wednesday » December 19 » 2007
Shut down the human rights commissions
The Canadian Islamic Congress has just persuaded the human rights commissions of
Proceedings have also been initiated in
One of their representatives claims a loftier goal for the complaints, nothing less than to "protect Canadian multiculturalism and tolerance."
This is a type of protection Canadian virtues can do without. If the human rights commissions pursue this matter, the decision will confirm that such commissions are obsolete and should be abolished.
Provincial commissions were created in the 1970s with the best of intentions. In a society still marred by real bigotry, their mandate to advocate on behalf of victims without the means to seek justice made sense. In true Canadian fashion, these commissions sought to redress discrimination without the acrimony that marked the civil rights movement in the
Human rights commissions are vestigial organs, a historical correction that no longer serves any useful function.
Unfortunately, governments have difficulty admitting the obsolescence of existing programs. On the contrary, with so very few instances of actual discrimination, and the option of civil suits for those that may occur, these commissions have taken on a new role. No longer do they seek just to defend legal rights, but to protect people's feelings. This is not an appropriate extension of state power.
Had Steyn or Maclean's advocated violence against Muslims or their property, they would quite rightly be facing criminal charges. They did nothing of the sort. Had they slandered any actual Canadian Muslims, or Muslim communities more broadly, they would be ripe targets for a civil suit. They did not. Because they committed no crimes and published no libelous material, they are rightly beyond the reach of the Canadian judicial system. The Canadian Human Rights Commission, though, has the power to embroil Steyn and Maclean's in paperwork, to force them to pay for legal representation in this process, and even the power to fine them and force them to agree to terms satisfactory to the CIC. The CIC's real goal seems to be not justice or the pursuit of truth, but the abolition of public discourse that is critical of Islam.
The organization has as much right as anyone else to promote absurd goals using democratic means, just as the Marijuana party has the right to promote its offbeat agenda through accepted channels.
Where this particular interest group parts company with other Canadians with bizarre ideas is in its attempt to force a new speech code into de facto law by using a human rights commission.
Legislatures accountable to Canadians would never sanction such flagrant suppression of free speech. The judiciary, constrained by law and precedents, will not help the CIC achieve its goal. Human rights commissions, extra-judiciary groups unaccountable to voters, just might.
Our Criminal Code protects all Canadians from hate-mongering; the civil courts provide ample remedy for Canadians who find their reputations harmed by published or broadcast untruths.
Human rights commissions are obsolete bodies whose moment has passed. That they can be exploited by a narrow lobby seeking to impose its doctrine upon other Canadians is a serious problem. That the CIC can do so at the expense of Canadian taxpayers, while Maclean's and Steyn must spend their own money to defend themselves, is a travesty of justice.
Rebecca Walberg is the social policy analyst at the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, www.fcpp.org
The Canadian Human Rights Commission is drunk with power and wants to limit the freedom of many Canadians. Since the inception of the law, over 100 complaints have been accepted against Canadians. Every single person who has ever been before the Tribunal has lost.
Recently the Rights Enforcers at the Canadian Human Rights Commission have attacked:
- Maclean Magazine (Rogers Publishing Ltd)
- Christian Heritage Party and it’s leader Ron Gray (Federally registered Political Party)
- Freedominion (Conservative website)
- Prometheus Institute (runs the Peace Earth and Justice News website) (Complaint over commentary on Isreal)
- Bruce Allen (Mr. Allen is music talent manager who represents a number of popular Canadian musicians including Bryan Adams and Michael Buble)
- Petition against the CHRC (Close to 700 signatures as of December 17/07)
Stephen Harper (Prime Minister of
"Human Rights Commissions, as they are evolving, are an attack on our fundamental freedoms and the basic existence of a democratic society…It is in fact totalitarianism. I find this is very scary stuff."
(BC Report Newsmagazine,
January 11, 1999)
Whom the CHRC attacks?
Active and Past cases: 46
Cases the tribunal ruled on: 37
Total complaints received by CHRC: 100
* NOT A SINGLE respondent have ever won a section 13 case before the tribunal.
* 100% of cases have Whites as respondents
* 98% of cases have poor or working class respondents
* 90.7% of respondents are not represented by lawyers
* So far, $93,500 has been awarded in fines and special compensation since May 9, 2003.
* 35 respondents have lifetime speech bans (Cease and Desist) orders and if not followed the victims could face up to 5 years in prison.
Biased and Unfair | TRUTH is NO Defence | 100% Convictions | Lifetime Speech bans