She may not have felt it in the moment—the day she called the Muslim barber a sexist for denying her a haircut due to the rules of his faith, turned on her heel and filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.
But now, after the ensuing media storm about her case two weeks ago, Faith McGregor is frank about how Omar Mahrouk’s right to religious freedom and her right to be free from gender discrimination coexist.
“They are equally important—they definitely are equally important,” the Toronto resident said in an interview this week. “They’re both steeped in history in their own right with regards to freedom of religion and what that means for the owner and the history of religion, [and] freedom of a woman to be able to be treated with respect and not be treated as something that’s subordinate to a man.”
Yet she also sees these rights as “diametrically opposed”—on contrary sides of the rights spectrum, hurtling towards one another in a crash of willful identity, in which each personal right feels too vital to concede. Human rights in gridlock with one another.
It’s the same kind of case Bill Whatcott and gay rights activists in Saskatchewan have been waiting almost 18 months for the Supreme Court of Canada to decide—whether his right to freedom of expression for distributing flyers about his views towards gay people trumps their right not to be discriminated against based on their sexuality. And it’s reminiscent of another case also before Canada’s highest court—whether a Muslim woman should be allowed to wear a niqab during testimony at a sexual assault trial; a matter that pits religious rights against the right of defendants.
When then-Quebec premier Jean Charest argued in 2007 that when women’s rights conflict with other rights, women’s rights should prevail, he highlighted the fact that there are necessarily choices to be made when it comes to balancing human rights in a Canada that is more diverse than ever—welcoming more new immigrants, feeling the social effects of same-sex marriage, and seeing women’s continued ascent in the workplace. Inevitably that results in drawing lines between which rights Canadians consider to be legitimate rights, and therefore, inviolable, and things we have come to call “rights,” but may be something less.
And in a far more diverse Canada, we’ll continue to see more and more clashes between the two. A new policy from the Ontario Human Rights Commission released this year suggests that stand-offs between rights are only going to proliferate. The OHRC is the first Canadian human rights body to release a framework for how to consider cases that arise when unexpected tensions fuelled by social changes collide. It followed up on that policy this week with the release of Balancing Competing Human Rights Claims in a Diverse Society—a wonkish book of articles on how tribunals, judges, lawyers and regular citizens can better broach the near impossible task of ironing these struggles out.
But as the Ontario Human Rights Commission fashions itself as a leader on this issue—having intervened on both the Whatcott and niqab Supreme Court cases with its “framework” on competing rights—critics are skeptical of whether these rights can actually be balanced; whether rights like freedom of religion, freedom of expression and freedom of contract carry a different kind of weight than rights under the Human Rights Code, like freedom from discrimination.
“The problem is that you’ve got an irreconcilable contradiction between the classical liberal rights which impose virtually no obligations on others, versus the new ‘human rights’ which do impose obligations on others,” said John Carpay, the president of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedoms in Calgary. “There’s no way to bridge that difference. Those two sets of rights are inherently contradictory… It’s like asking for cool sunshine or dry water.”
Karen Selick has a stronger word for human rights granted under the code: “phony.”
“When we in Canada talk about human rights in foreign countries, we’re talking about rights like the right you have for the government not to kill you—that is a genuine right,” said the litigation director of the Calgary-based Canadian Constitution Foundation. “When we talk about rights in Canada we talk about rights [that require] someone to do things for you. I don’t see that as a right at all.”
It’s misguided to try to balance these competing rights—which, she says, should have been anticipated when human rights codes were created in the 1960s—because “genuine rights don’t conflict,” she said.
“It undermines the meaning of the word ‘right’ because if they say this woman has the right to force the barber to cut her hair, essentially they’re saying he doesn’t have the right to practice his religion.”
Market pressures should prove enough of a deterrent from discrimination, she said. Ms. McGregor has a right to express her disgust with being turned away, she can boycott the barber, which may drive male business away. But to ask Mr. Mahrouk to hire another person who is not Muslim and will be able to cut a female client’s hair (he and his colleagues follow the Muslim teaching that a man should not touch a woman who is outside his family) would be an unreasonable burden.
Societal changes—some more noticeable than others—tend to spark these competing rights clashes, said Bruce Ryder, a professor at York University’s Osgoode Hall Law School who studies equality rights and freedom of expression. For example, the legalization of same-sex marriage highlighted the expectation that people not be discriminated against because of their sexuality—a religious-rights-versus-sexuality-rights issue faced by Ontario Catholic Schools as they meet requirements laid out in the province’s new anti-bullying legislation.
“They seem new as values and social realities shift over time, giving rise to new forms of conflict or new understandings of rights, and accordingly, the legal balance drawn between different rights shifts too,” Mr. Ryder wrote in an email to the Post. For example, he said, property rights and contract rights used to prevail over equality rights until the civil rights movement drastically shifted public opinion.
“Many of the current clashes involve religious rights competing with rights to sexual and gender equality. I don’t think it is helpful to think of them as clashes between new and old human rights, at least not in the Canadian context where they are all of the same vintage. We have some difficulty around the margins, but I think we generally have a clear understanding of which rights prevail in which context.”
If judges, tribunals and the people involved in these claims pay more attention to context, how much the competing rights interfere with one another and make sure the core of the right is more protected than “its periphery,” this will help balance these competing claims, said Barbara Hall, the chief commissioner of the Ontario Human Rights Commission.
“You can see how courts have come up with different solutions depending on the context,” she said. “If you’re a priest or an imam, you are not required, can’t be required to marry people contrary to your faith. But the courts have found that if your job is as a civic marriage commissioner and you’re hired to do that, that your religious rights are different in that situation and the difference is context.”
While critics argue these rights can’t be balanced, “the law is not good at compromise” and will be forced to pick a winner or loser should mediation not be pursued or fails, said Lindsay Lyster, a former member of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal, and current president of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association.
People can and should try to work out these problems without someone else deciding for them, and 80% of cases that come to the B.C. tribunal are resolved in early mediation, she said.
“I think you clearly can [balance rights]. That’s what tribunals applying human rights codes do, that’s what judges applying the Charter of Rights do because it’s inevitable that there will be rights that come into competition and will have to have a means of managing that clash,” she said. “Sometimes one’s going to win out. In that sense it may be impossible to balance in a given case—it may be that one is going to win out.”
But rights can’t be balanced if people regard their own as absolute, Ms. Hall says—and because people are very passionate about their rights, that does tend to be the mindset when people file human rights complaints and are forced to respond to them, fuelled by stubborn emotion and the strident belief they shouldn’t have to bend to the demands of others.
“If people want to only think of their [right] and for it to be absolute, then they misunderstand rights in Canada and how courts and the law have responded to them going back generations,” she said, adding she believes there is no hierarchy of rights in Canada either.
Bill Whatcott believes his rights are indeed absolute. Back in 2005, the social conservative activist was ordered to pay $17,500 by the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal for distributing literature the human rights body deemed hateful—a ruling the Saskatoon Court of Appeal overturned five years later.
“Freedom of religion, freedom of speech, freedom to own property, the right to life with due process. These are fundamental rights and that’s what they’ve been historically called,” he said, adding that these rights have been “trampled” in cases where they clash with “equality rights.” He can tell the Supreme Court is struggling with his case, he says—while a typical case takes around six to nine months to sort out, his has taken twice as long.
Trying to balance competing human rights gets tricky when individual rights clash, like in the barbershop case, since the system is set up to deal with claims of institutional discrimination—such as in the workplace, said Shauna Van Praagh, a professor of law at McGill University, who points out that Quebec’s human rights laws recognize that a person cannot “harm” another person while trying to uphold their own right—that their freedom is limited in that regard.
In the rest of Canada, however, human rights tribunals are often weighing the unique rights of individuals against each other.
“The state can’t discriminate against its citizens—the state has to be impartial,”said Ms. Selick of the Canadian Constitution Foundation. “But I don’t see why an individual has to have the same obligations. There’s an interesting lack of parallelism.”
Mr. Mahrouk, the barber, and his lawyer David Kolinsky declined comment as they await mediation before the Ontario tribunal in February. And at that meeting, Ms. McGregor hopes they can come to a mutually agreeable decision.
“I think in this particular situation, we have to be accommodating,” she said. “I believe that he’s going to have to accommodate in some capacity in order to meet requirements as a business-owner and provider of a service within this province and in this country, or he runs the risk of running into this time and again.”
Four days after Professor J. Philippe Rushton’s death on October 2,Salon regurgitated uncritically the $PLC’s postmortem smear(Leading race ‘scientist’ dies in Canada, by Don Terry, originally posted on the Southern Poverty Law Center website October 5.). This quoted Ferris State University professor and Marxist ideologue Barry Mehler [Email him]: “He’s the end of an era of academic racists of his style and notoriety”.
The $PLC’s recycled smear was the usual abuse: “Rushton’s infamous theory about race and intelligence,” “prominent elder [of] academic racism,” Rushton’s “monstrous” ideas, “Rushton’s ‘highly suspect’ research,” “author of a handful of academic tomes,” “Rushton was pushing old-fashioned racism,” and (best of all!) Rushton “often published on racist websites, including the anti-immigrant hate site VDARE.com”. [VDARE.com note: link proudly added].
The $PLC’s Terry concluded his tirade of hate with a swipe at Rushton’s ratings based on student comments posted at RateMyProfessors.com. He noted that, although a few students posted favorable ratings, a “majority of the reviewers rated him ‘poor quality’”.
But the comments quoted (here and here) reflected ideological disagreement rather than poor instruction. And, typically, the $PLC failed to disclose Barry Mehler’s own mediocre ratings also posted at RateMyProfessor.com:
“This guy is so incredibly hard to follow, it’s ridiculous…. He made us buy two books, one of which we NEVER used and the other which was more of a novel spreading propaganda about how America is an evil empire”; “I dropped this class after the first day! He did not say a word about History and rambled on about how our country was thriving when everyone smoked Camel cigarettes”; “horribly boring”; “Dr. Mehler is one of the worst teachers I’ve ever had! He re-wrote the text book online so everything is his opinion, and if you don’t agree you fail”.
As Rushton often said, racial egalitarian academics are held to different standards.
There have been notably few MSM comments on Rushton’s death outside of Canada. The New York Times, which in 1994 published a joint notice of his masterwork Race, Evolution, and Behavior along with The Bell Curve on the front page of its Book Review, [What Is Intelligence, and Who Has It?, By Malcolm W. Browne, October 16, 1994] has said nothing. National Review, which under John O’Sullivan’s editorship published Rushton’s devastating critique of Stephen Jay Gould (The Mismeasures of Gould, September 15, 1997), has not even mentioned him since 2007.
Unquestionably this is due to cowardice—to the chilling effect of the relentless Cultural Marxist assault on Rushton. He well described the “moralistic aggression” of his adversaries in a paper published back in 1990 in Psychologische Beiträge:
I can personally attest to the extreme egalitarianism that dominates and censures this area. On January 19, 1989, I presented the r/K theory of racial group differences at a Symposium on Evolution at the American Association for the Advancement of Science in San Francisco. The news media picked this up making a short report of it in the United States. In Canada, however, the story created a firestorm. An enterprising reporter took a version of my views to a local activist group, the Urban Alliance on Race Relations,and asked them for their opinion. Predictably enough, they said I should be fired for promoting hatred. This madeheadlines and I became a target for moralistic aggression.
The University President gave a press conference to argue that academic freedom protected me and that I was a serious scholar. Students and activist groups were not satisfied and daily demanded a public forum to air my iniquities. Newspapers ran cartoons of me with a Ku Klux Klan hood on and having a telephone conversation with a delighted Adolf Hitler. The Premier of the Province, while acknowledging that he did not have the power to do so said that he would fire me if he could. David Suzuki, a well-known Canadian geneticist and media person challenged me to a two hour TV debate which was held at my university in front of 2,300 people, in which he emotionally called for me to be fired. Radical professors from nearby universities came to denounce me and social activist groups organized sit-ins and demonstrations, once even bringing in a spokesperson from the African National Congress to berate the university for supporting me and apartheid in South Africa. Campaigns were mounted for me to be investigated—my ethical clearance for previous studies, my grant applications, my completion of bureaucratic forms on previous projects, etc. It bordered on becoming a witch-hunt and I was the centre of media and political attention for many weeks.
[Why we should study race differences, J. Philippe Rushton, Psychologische Beiträge, (pay archive) Band 32, 1990: 135]
One particularly egregious example of the difficulties that Rushton encountered: the nine-month hold-up of a shipment of Race, Evolution, and Behavior by Canadian customs officials. The book was “widely available in university bookstores in Canada,” according to The Globe and Mail. Mary Curtis, executive vice president and publisher of Rushton’s U.S. publisher Transaction, said, “It’s unbelievable. I can’t remember another incident when anything of this nature has ever occurred”. Eventually Canada Customs conceded that it was not “hate literature”. [See The New Enemies of Evolutionary Science, by J. Philippe Rushton, Liberty, March 1998;Customs officials delayed Rushton book for 9 months, By Rudy Platiel, Toronto Globe and Mail, January 3, 1996 (not online)];Contemptible Canadian Customs Laws, American Renaissance, March 1996.
I well remember Phil Rushton as the featured banquet speaker at the second bi-annual American Renaissance conference in Louisville, Kentucky (back in the days when AR was allowed to have conferences). His address captivated the AR attendees. He began with slides of slanderous cartoons published in the Canadian press, receiving thunderous applause when he revealed that the threat of a lawsuit halted additional depictions of him in Klan garb. (Order on video from Amren.com).
Afterwards, a number of us had the opportunity to meet Rushton informally. He answered the questions of well-informed admirers, who covered a full range of related academic topics involving race differences, the validity of Carleton Coon’s multiregional theory of evolutionary racial origins, his own relationship with other notable researchers, and a range of mutually interesting topics. He was always gracious and polite—a true gentleman and scholar. Even enemies acknowledged this—including Mehler, who admitted in theSalon piece quoted above, “he never got flustered”.
Similarly, in the highly-publicized 1989 debate with geneticist David Suzuki, Rushton delivered the case for genetic-based race differences in a calm, rational way, in dramatic contrast to the disheveled, emotion-driven Suzuki.
A number of prominent academics defended him in the 1989 crisis: C. Davis Ankney, University of Western Ontario; Jack Block, University of California at Berkeley; Arthur R. Jensen, University of California at Berkeley; Richard Lynn, University of Ulster; Hiram P. Caton, Griffith University, Australia; Irenaus Eibl-Eibesfeldt, Max Planck Institute for Human Ethology, Germany; James R. Flynn, University of Otago, New Zealand; Barry R. Gross, CUNY; Richard J. Herrnstein, Harvard University; Henry L. Roediger, Rice University; Ronald C. Johnson, University of Hawaii; David K. B. Nias, City of London Polytechnic; Gerald M. Phillips, Pennsylvania State University; Edward O. Wilson, Harvard University; James Q. Wilson,UCLA; David C. Rowe, University of Arizona; Lee Sechrest, University of Arizona; Pierre L. van den Berghe; University of Washington, etc.
One frequent charge echo-chambered by Rushton’s critics was that his thesis on race differences is uncorroborated by other scientific studies. But the distinguished psychologist Arthur R. Jensen, answered this definitively in a May 11, 1989 letter to the Ontario Press Council:
I wish to register my strongest possible condemnation ofThe Toronto Star’s grossly vicious and malicious defamation of Professor J. Philippe Rushton. I refer especially to The Star’s editorials of March 9 and March 26, 1989. I doubt that I have ever before seen such a patently libelous attack on a scientist or scholar, with its charges of “charlatan”, “discredited”, “academic fraud”, and “racism”. This seems especially reprehensible when it is so unwarranted and is combined with flagrant misrepresentation of Professor Rushton’s position. The Star’s articles, editorial, and cartoon on Rushton were obviously calculated to discredit him and to inflame its readers, rather than to accurately inform them.
For over twenty years I have been doing research on several of the topics that enter into Professor Rushton’s research on the nature and explanation of racial differences in a variety of traits. My own studies of individual and group differences in human mental abilities have been published in five books and nearly 300 articles in reputable scientific and scholarly journals, and there are two books by other authors concerning my work.
I have read virtually everything that Professor Rushton has written on the issues in question. Rushton’s research papers have appeared in reputable, refereed psychological journals, have been exposed to published critiques by other scholars, and is itself based on an impressive quantity and quality of scholarship, generally of greater thoroughness and accuracy than that of its critics. Having read all of the published critiques of Rushton’s theory and its supporting evidence, I can say that The Toronto Star’s claim that it has been “discredited” is simply false. Although not everyone accepts every point of Rushton’s work, and Rushton himself openly recognizes the gaps and anomalies in the evidence related to certain points in his theory, it is a fact that informed psychologists, geneticists, and sociobiologists consider Rushton’s work worthy of serious consideration. It has been, and is still being, discussed and debated at scientific meetings here and abroad, just as other controversial topics on the frontiers of science are being debated. Professor Rushton operates within this well-established scientific tradition.
Anyone who is at all familiar with this venerable scientific tradition and with Rushton’s scientific work would, I’m sure, agree that the use of such terms as those used by The Starin reference to Professor Rushton or his research publications as “charlatan” and “fraud” is absolutely outrageous and wholly uncalled for…
Phil Rushton’s problems were not limited to the MSM. He had to contend with Politically Correct elements within the scientific community.
In February 1989, three past presidents, the treasurer, and secretary of the Behavior Genetics Association (J. C. DeFries, D. W. Fulker, S. G. Vandenberg, G. Carey, and J. R. Wilson) expressed “concern about recent articles on human race differences published by BGA member J. Philippe Rushton”. They asserted:
The study of individual differences deepens our understanding and respect for human individuality. Compared to the range of human variation observed within groups, group differences are relatively small. Rushton’s compilations of group differences and his attribution of them to heredity fuel the fires of prejudice. We find this to be both insensitive and repugnant. Thus, we disavow unequivocally any support for the theory espoused in these [referenced] articles or in his more recent public pronouncements.
Rushton responded to this critique with a detailed reply to the BGA on April 27 1989:
It goes without saying but it is necessary to say that I believe that the average differences that I am observing provide no grounds for social discrimination among races, and that people must be judged on their merits. I have taken great pains to emphasize, although this is often ignored by my opponents, that there are wide differences within races and individual should not be judged on the basis of racial averages or indeed any of my findings. Nor have I suggested any policy that should flow from my research.
In seeking an understanding of the genetic and evolutionary basis of individual and group behavior I have found it useful to study race differences. Ultimately the study of racial differences may help us to appreciate more fully the nature of human diversity as well as the binding commonalities we share with other species. That, too, would be one of the legacies of the Darwinian perspective.
With respect to differences in sexuality, Weinberg and Williams (1988) have confirmed many of my observations with respect to black-white differences in attitudes and behavior, and Harvey and May (1989) have verified Oriental-white differences in genital morphology. It will not do to cast anger or ridicule on these statements, not to turn away in embarrassment, for there are sobering consequences. Both inter- and intra-national comparisons show that the world-wide prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, gonorrhea, hepatitis B and herpes is Oriental < white < black. Since this is also the pattern for the deadly HIV-1 pandemic, the implications of the group differences in correlated traits should not be underestimated (Rushton & Bogaert, 1989).
New ideas that have the capacity to disturb the established orthodoxy almost necessarily provoke concern and spirited resistance. That across populations brain size negatively correlates with gamete production (indexed, for example, by dizygotic twinning rate), and that both covary with a suite of life history attributes, the whole being predicted on the basis of evolutionary theory backed by empirical studies of animals and plants, is unlikely to be credibly dismissed by appeals to authority and morality.
Many have noted that nothing can be more chilling to science than moralistic judgment. As Fermi remarked, “Whatever nature has in store for mankind, unpleasant as it may be, men must accept, for ignorance is never better than knowledge”. The danger comes when we violate Fermi’s adjuration (often with humanitarian arguments), not when honest scholars discuss ideas freely and openly.
Phil Rushton stood firm in his conviction that ultimately what mattered was scientific truth. In “The Equalitarian Dogma Revisited”, he outlined four core principles, attributing them to fellow IQ researcher Linda Gottfredson:
1. Seek the truth and speak it as you know it, directly and not in code.
2. Do not speculate about motives unless you have very good grounds for doing so. Integrity is the only character trait that is of concern when evaluating ideas and their impact.
3. Do not apologize for or act embarrassed about racially-sensitive research or its results. To do so lends credence to the belief that you think you are doing something wrong.
4. Zealously protect freedom of scientific inquiry.
This credo is Phil Rushton’s legacy in what, it is increasingly apparent, is a new Dark Age.
This “assimilation” or blending is nothing more than an attempt to wipe out my race, the White race. It IS geNOcide.
Those pushing this call themselves “anti-racist” What they are is anti-white.
Anti-racist is a code word for anti-White.
Immigration officials from the UK, Australia and Canadacame together in Chandigarh last Tuesday to warn would-be immigrants of “the dangers of being misled by unscrupulous immigration agents”. This comes in the backdrop of a growing number of illegal immigrants being deported from these countries.
A report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), released in 2010, hit the panic button. Titled “Smuggling of Migrants from India to Europe and in Particular to UK: A Study on Punjab and Haryana“, the report has found that every year more than 20,000 young men from Punjab attempt irregular immigration.
What is even more alarming is that the pattern of irregular immigration from India is spreading to other states such as Haryana, Himachal Pradesh and Jammu and Kashmir. The UNODC study found that of 47% cases of irregular immigration related to Europe, a fourth were related to the UK.
One of the main reasons for fraud is that some potential migrants do not have the option of legal migration due to lack of opportunities for skilled immigration. Further, there is a proliferation of agents and sub-agents in rural and semi-urban regions of Punjab, who facilitate irregular immigration.
The UK has now joined forces with Canada and Australia to educate and warn prospective immigrants of the dangers of irregular and illegal immigration. One of the most important messages that comes out of this joint initiative is: stay away from unscrupulous immigration agents.
“We have been working together with the UK Border Agency, Australian Department of Immigration as well as the United States Citizenship & Immigration Services and Immigration New Zealand for some time now. It helps us share information and also work together with the Indian authorities to combat immigration fraud in India.
Our message to the applicants from sensitive regions such as Punjab, Andhra Pradesh and Gujarat is to avoid getting duped by unscrupulous agents. There is a lot of information available on our websites and Canada has a system of registered and authorised immigration consultants for those who need help,” says Sidney Frank, Canada’s area director for immigration in South Asia.
Fraud Does not Pay
More and more people are immigrating to countries such as Australia and Canada every year. Fraud is a serious offence and can lead to severe penalties in India and travel bans to various countries. “There is an increase in the number of visa applicants from India both for skilled categories and students. Our effort at co-operating with other countries is mainly aimed at cracking down on illegal and unscrupulous agents here,” says Jose Alvarez, regional director of South Asia of the Australian Department of Immigration and Citizenship.
Work permits for skilled immigrants require a lot of documentation and frauds through these routes are difficult. “Student visas and family immigrations are commonly misused categories. Sham marriages and adoptions are also common misuses. Some countries have found that education and corporate documents provided to obtain employment visas too are sometimes fake,” says Mumbai-based immigration lawyer Poorvi Chothani.
While the foreign missions in India are concerned over irregular immigration, a larger solution lies in steps taken by the Indian government to curb illegal immigration at the source. Under the Emigration Act, there are provisions of a Protector General of Emigrants (PGE) at the centre and Protector of Emigrants (POE) at the state level to grant emigration clearances and help intending emigrants.
“They are bound to ensure that no person functions as a recruiting agent without a registration certificate and that no employer conducts recruitments for foreign employment without a valid permit issued by the POE. The POE must protect and aid all intending emigrants with advice and support,” says Chandigarh-based immigration lawyer Ranjit Malhotra.
However, the Act is flouted with impunity and there’s no redressal or remedy, he adds. Agents and sub-agents lure their victims with advertisements in newspapers, gaudy display signboards and promises of a good life in foreign countries. “There is no regulation, rule, policy or law to check unethical and misleading advertisements. The innocent victims are only too gullible,” Malhotra concludes.
A Conservative private members’ bill that repeals part of Canada’s hate speech laws has passed the House of Commons with scant media attention, and even less commentary. But it’s being cheered by many Canadian conservatives as a victory for freedom of speech. And it’s being cheered most vocally by another group: White supremacists.
Bill C-304, introduced by Conservative backbencher Brian Storseth, repeals Section 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act, which bans hate speech transmitted over the Internet or by telephone. It passed third reading in the House of Commons on Thursday and is now headed to the Senate.
“This is a huge victory for freedom in Canada,” a poster calling him or herself “CanadaFirst” posted on the website of StormFront, a notorious white supremacist group. “However, we still have other unjust Zionist ‘hate’ laws that need to go.”
“Way to go, Harper. I know we can’t get everything we want, but I stand a little taller today as a Canuck,” wrote “OneMan.”
The new law doesn’t make hate speech legal on the web or by phone — hate speech remains illegal under the Criminal Code. But by removing it from the Canadian Human Rights Act, it takes away the authority of the country’s human rights commissions to investigate online hate speech and request that violating websites be taken down.
“The debate surrounding the expediency of section 13 has become the proxy for an open assault on the very existence of an administrative framework to protect human rights in this country,” the CBA stated.
“Over the years, human rights commissions have remained at the vanguard of eliminating discrimination based on race, religion, gender, disability, sexual orientation, and other grounds, and advancing equality,” the CBA added.
Other supporters of the commissions say taking away their authority over hate speech will embolden racists and lead to more racial violence.
But human rights commissions have become bogeymen to many Canadian conservatives, and some others, who have campaigned for years to eliminate them altogether, painting them as bureaucratic tools of censorship.
In one famous case, conservative media icon Ezra Levant was hauled in front of an Alberta tribunal to explain his decision to run controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohamed in the magazine he ran at the time, the Western Standard.
Levant became a cause celebre for opponents of the commissions, and his decision to republish the cartoons online on the day of his human rights hearing was hailed as heroic by many conservatives.
But all the opposition parties voted against the private members’ bill in Parliament Thursday, with NDP public safety critic Randall Garrison arguing that it would now be much harder to prevent hate speech online.
“We do have a serious problem,” Garrison told the National Post. “If you take away the power to take (websites) down, it’s not clear they have any mandate to even to talk to people about it and educate them about it.”
Garrison argued that the Tories are being dishonest by having these laws be introduced as private members’ bills, rather than government bills, noting that the Conservative Party of Canada made repealing human rights commissions’ ability to regulate hate speech a part of their platform.
Public Safety Minister Vic Toews defended the bill, tweeting on Thursday that the new law will “end arbitrary censorship powers of human rights commissions.”
Public opinion on human rights commissions is split. An unscientific poll on the CBC website shows a bare majority of people supporting the Tories’ move.
Three more men, including two Canadians, have been charged with human smuggling, accused of organizing the ship that brought hundreds of Tamil asylum seekers to B.C. in 2010.
Nadarajah Mahendran and Thampeernayagam Rajaratnam, both of Ontario, were indicted Monday of organizing illegal entry into Canada in violation of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act. They are expected to be brought to B.C. in the coming weeks to face charges.
A third man, Sathyapavan Aseervatham, faces the same charge, which carries a maximum $1 million fine and/or life imprisonment.
The three new accused bring to six the total of people charged with allegedly organizing the voyage of the MV Sun Sea and the 492 Tamil passengers on-board between August 2009 in Sri Lanka, Malaysia and Thailand until it docked on August 13, 2010 in Esquimalt.
Two men — alleged ship owner Kunarobinson Christhurajah, 32, and Lesly Jana Emmanuel, who were aboard the vessel when it was intercepted by the Canadian navy — were charged in May.
They appeared in Vancouver provincial court Tuesday for a bail hearing.
Wearing red prison-issue uniforms, the two men stood in front of a judge, hands clasped, as a Tamil interpreter translated the proceedings.
Details about the alleged roles of the six men in the operation were heard in court, but are under a publication ban.
Christhurajah’s case was adjourned to a later date; he was taken back into custody. Emmanuel was denied bail.
Christhurajah’s wife, Mary Patrishiya, sat in the gallery with her brother and 13-month-old baby girl.
Having her husband arrested has been “very hard,” said a teary-eyed Patrishiya outside the courtroom.
“He’s crying all the time,” she said. “We don’t have anybody here.”
She said she and Christhurajah would like to stay in Canada because “there are a lot of problems” back home.
A sixth man — Sri Lankan national Thayakaran Markandu — is being extradited to Canada from France.
Both Markandu and Christhurajah appeared on the radar of Thai police when they were arrested — along with Mahendran and Rajaratnam, two of the new accused — in a Bangkok apartment raid in June 2010, a month before the Sun Sea set sail from Thailand with its human cargo.
Authorities found engine parts, sacks of food and other provisions they believed were going to be used for the sea voyage to Canada.
The men were released after paying a 10,000 baht fine.
According to the Immigration and Refugee Board, as of April 30, six out of the 492 passengers have been accepted as refugees, 19 have been issued deportation orders, and a family of five has abandoned its refugee claims.
The Ukrainian Canadian Research & Documentation Centre (UCRDC) is a source of information about Ukrainian Canadians, one of the most vibrant communities within the Canadian mosaic.
UCRDC concentrates on the collection of data and facts about recent and historical events that focus on the present and the heritage of Ukrainian Canadians. It disseminates its findings about these events by producing documentary films, organizing exhibits, conferences, and lectures and sponsoring publications.
UCRDC is celebrating its 15th anniversary in 1997 by intiating a major capital campaign to establish an Endowment Fund. The annual interest income generated by the fund will ensure the operation of the Centre in perpetuity. We, the members of the UCRDC Board, hope that there will be many individuals and corporations that will respond generously to our call.
An early achievement of the UCRDC was the award-winning documentary film Harvest of Despair. We have also created a major traveling exhibit titled The Barbed Wire Solution: Ukrainians and Canada’s First Internment Operations 1914-1920 which is now traveling throughout Ontario. A documentary film about Ukrainian Canadians and Ukraine in World War II is now in the process of completion.
The Centre’s archives are available to any researcher interested in studying Ukrainian and Ukrainian Canadian topics.
The UCRDC is indebted to dedicated volunteers who have made the Centre’s activities possible. To date many supporters have sustained the operation of the UCRDC. We call upon you to ensure the Centre’s continued success through your patronage and help in creating for the Centre a permanent Endowment Fund. The Ukrainian Canadian Research & Documentation Centre will acknowledge your assistance in a special way.
An Ottawa man who was living in a shelter with his wife and two children took the City of Ottawa to a human-rights tribunal last month, alleging that immigrants are given priority over “white Canadians” for public housing.
Kirk Munroe and his family lived at the Carling Family Shelter for months last year while waiting for a public housing unit to call their own. Munroe grew frustrated with the wait after immigrant families at the shelter were offered public housing in only a “matter of weeks.”
In his application to Ontario’s human-rights tribunal, Munroe quoted an Ottawa public housing manager as saying “whites have less chance of getting a home and they have to stay in shelters longer than immigrants new to Canada.”
The tribunal heard that the quick turnaround time for immigrants was in “distinct contrast to the experience of white Canadian families” at the shelter, including his own, who had to wait months for housing.
A lawyer for the public housing agency denied it gives priority to immigrants, and a lawyer for the City of Ottawa told the hearing that the immigrants in question may have been victims of domestic violence, which, he said, would account for why they were offered social housing so quickly. The tribunal also heard that the public housing manager denied saying that immigrants have a better shot at getting public housing.
Eric Whist, vice-chair of the tribunal, questioned Munroe’s account of what the public housing manager told him.
“This statement, characterized as an exact quote, appears to be more of a paraphrase and one from a longer conversation. It is also not evident that this quote, even if accepted as generally accurate, indicates that Ms. Jean Louis (a tenant service manager) was communicating that the reason why whites stay in shelters longer than immigrants was because of the policy of (Ottawa public housing) or others was to give priority to immigrants over Canadian citizens,” Whist said in an interim decision dated March 12.
Munroe’s challenge against the City of Ottawa claimed he was discriminated on the basis of race, colour, disability and reprisal.
The adjudicator of the tribunal dismissed all but one of the grounds in the Munroe application. Ottawa public housing gives priority to victims of violence, the terminally ill and the homeless. The adjudicator considered the disability grounds but while Munroe was diagnosed with an undisclosed “chronic medical condition,” he was not dying and in turn did not qualify for priority housing.
But Munroe’s claims of reprisal—notably that he was subjected to “poorer treatment” in the shelter after filing an application with the tribunal—were not dismissed. In the reprisal section of his application, Munroe also says his family was transferred into the shelter’s smallest room as a punishment for complaining about being kicked out for five days because of his aggressive behaviour.
“The applicant alleged that the decision to expel him from the shelter was discriminatory in that the decision did not appropriately consider that the applicant had mental issues that contributed to the behaviours that led to his being asked to leave,” Whist said.
The lawyer for the City of Ottawa said the adequacy of rooms is an issue for almost everyone and noted that shelters are for emergency housing, not long term.
The adjudicator said Munroe has a “reasonable prospect” of proving alleged discrimination under the reprisal section of his application. The adjudicator directed Munroe to amend his application to include more details about the alleged discrimination.
Munroe could not be reached for comment and the City of Ottawa said that they have yet to receive his amended application.
There are about 15,000 people on a waiting list for public housing in Ottawa.