Give the Canadian Human Rights Commissions something worthwhile to do, and then they will be hearing fewer insults
And facing fewer inquiries, perhaps?
When I started writing this post, I was looking at a letter from the Canadian Human Rights Commission, delivered by courier, in which an employee announces that the Commission has thirty days, starting July 31 of this year, to respond to my request as to whether I am on the list that Jennifer Lynch, its head, claims to have compiled, of offenders who offer “misinformation, gross distortions, caricaturizations”: She announced, “I have a file. I'm sure I have 1,200, certainly several hundred of these things,” (National Post, June 22, 2009).
I have reported on many abuses perpetrated by human rights commissions across Canada here at The Post-Darwinist. Granted, much better known sources of information are Ezra Levant’s Shakedown and Mark Steyn’s Lights Out. But I might still have one chance in 1200 of being on that list. And so far, it is still my right to know.
Why should it take thirty days to find out? A computer search of 1200 names can be done in milliseconds, and the results could be sent to me by e-mail at no cost.
Having heard Lynch berate and threaten Canadians from the secure perch of her well-paid civil service job, it was with some surprise that I read Janet Keeping, president of the Sheldon Chumir Foundation for Ethics in Leadership, lecture the free speech bloggers (July 30, 2009):
It is nearly always wrong to personally attack those who hold opinions different from yours. When done deliberately, attacking your opponents instead of their views is dishonest because it purports to be about one thing -- the public policy in question -- but is actually about something else, the destruction of your opponents' credibility or integrity. It can also be self-defeating. When seen for what it is -- basically, character assassination -- it can undermine whatever validity there is in your policy position.
That's well-meaning but totally wrong. Jennifer Lynch has the power to destroy peoples’ lives and reputations, with the current collusion of government. I do not.
I wouldn’t want such power and don’t think anyone should have it, but the fact remains, she has it and I don’t.
Having read and listened to much discussion of the Commissions’ abuses, I think that they are not only out of control, they are out of date. Too many of their issues are either not important or not their business. Worse, too many of the issues they ignore are very important and should be their business.
Unimportant: Racist Web sites run by nobodies and visited by few. But permitting CHRC civil servants to run a "sting" operation by impersonating racists (as was admitted under oath, National Post, July 15, 2009) sets a very dangerous precedent. Will it next be used in your industry? Mine?
Not their business: Traditional Christian communions simply do not support the gay lifestyle, and human rights commissions have no business blundering into this area, as they did in the Boissoin case, the Catholic Insight case, or the recent Peterborough case involving a gay altar server. Same goes for the 2008 cases against magazines for supposedly insulting Muslims or Mohammed.
Basically, we have both freedom of religion and freedom of the press in Canada. No one need belong to any religion or read any newspaper. So human rights are not violated simply because one hears something distressing from the pulpit or in the news.
Now, what to do about the out of control Commissions? Some say shut them down. Maybe, but I have a different suggestion: Real human rights violations can just as easily be happening in Canada as anywhere else. For example, the child sex trade or child marriage. Or female genital mutilation.
Think it can't happen here? In Ontario, charges have been laid against at least five people recently, in connection with alleged "honor killings" (where women risk death for failure to comply with the requirements of a religion). There is also a real possibility that illegal immigrants are brutally exploited here because they fear that revealing that fact might result in deportation back to worse conditions.
In other words, there is lots for a human rights commission to do - once it butts out of interfering with freedom of religion, freedom of the press, and many other areas it has just plain blundered into. I bet the commissioners would never be busier in their lives, and their work would be much more rewarding.
Well, what do you know? I just received another letter (August 11, 2009) announcing that "no records exist" on me. That's nice - except for one thing. The Commission's well documented behaviour means that I simply do not know whether to believe them. With luck, some sensible person simply went into the head's files and deleted 1200 items. Don't tell me it couldn't happen. Who would have believed all the other stuff we've learned recently?