Wednesday December 19, 2007
Calgary Herald writer says the Commissions must be "shut down
By Hilary White
In today's Calgary Herald, Rebecca Walberg writes that the Commissions must be "shut down." Earlier this week the National Post protested that the Steyn case is one of "censorship in the name of 'human rights'". The Chilliwack Times ran an editorial calling the Commissions and their tribunals "a powerful ally" in the efforts of some to "further restrict our right to free speech."
The case that has garnered the attention of
The CIC complained to the Human Rights Commission of "exposing Canadian
The Herald's Walberg writes that "in a country with Sunday shopping, abortion rights and same-sex marriage...[h]uman rights commissions are vestigial organs, a historical correction that no longer serves any useful function."
"The Canadian Human Rights Commission, though, has the power to embroil Steyn and
The HRC's have been used most effectively by organisations on the far left, especially homosexual lobbyists, to impose restrictions on members of religious groups and other conservatives. The defendant in all HRC proceedings must cover his own legal expenses but the state does not charge the complainant. This system, many have said, leaves the HRC's wide open to abuse as a completely taxpayer paid (for the complainant only) weapon in political battles that would be prohibitively expensive in the legitimate court system.
The Chilliwack Times' John
Ezra Levant, formerly the editor of the Western Standard that had stood against HRC cases brought by the CIC, wrote on the Shotgun 'blog that a large part of their usefulness to lobby groups is the lack of cost. "The CIC learned their lesson: there's no point suing in defamation law, where the CIC would have to pay for their own lawyers, and our lawyers if we won, and where silly things like the rule of law apply".
"Better to go to the human rights commissions where the taxpayer pays for the prosecution, traditional rules of evidence and procedure don't apply, and free speech is not protected,"
Others have pointed out that the Human Rights Commissions are so weighted in favour of the complainant that it is wide open to abuse as a means of making money. Richard Warman, a far left human rights lawyer based in
In 2006, in a keynote speech to the violent Anti-Racist Action group in
He added, "Sometimes if I just find people to be particularly annoying this may move them up the list a bit." Publicly available documents show that Warman has been awarded at least Cn. $48,500 in "special compensation" via Human Rights Tribunal complaints since 2003.
Canadian Christians, social conservatives and others have long called for HRC's to be abolished.
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