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Gay rights organization, conservative pastor agree on AHRC

Mark Milke with Frontier Centre for Public Policy reports on the growing coalition against Canada's human rights laws in his review of Ezra Levant's powerful new book Shakedown.

Mark Milke - June 29, 2009

Shakedown details many such stories. It also questions how radical ilk have managed to garner the sympathy of such commissions and even police forces. Levant gives the example of the Halifax police who called up the local Chronicle-Herald newspaper to forward a complaint from a Muslim cleric; the preacher objected to that newspaper's cartoon about a local convert to Islam.

Levant asks readers to imagine how far a local Catholic priest would get if he called up the cops and asked them to lecture a local Blockbuster manager about the presence of the Da Vinci Code video. It would, of course, never happen, as the police would remind the priest about the separation of church and state.

Then there are the bogus employment claims. One example: in British Columbia, the almost $50,000 award for an ex-McDonald's employee, finally let go after she refused to wash her hands even though she worked in the kitchen. That's bad enough, and Levant argues that even in cases where someone's feelings might be hurt, or think themselves slighted at work, "not every one of life's little setbacks is something we should be running to the state to settle."

It's good advice, especially for those over the age of 18 who consider themselves mature adults, i.e., most Canadians. This is especially relevant because many of those at human rights commissions and their tribunals are unqualified to adjudicate on the law. "None are judges, and some aren't even lawyers," writes Levant.

For instance, in Manitoba, Levant notes the example of one commissioner who only has a high school diploma, considered enough training, deadpans Levant, "to determine what's legal and what's not, and who has to pay fines and who doesn't."

Worse, he points out how, at the federal level, the Canadian Human Rights Commission hired Sandy Kozak -- a former cop fired from an Ottawa-area police force for corruption. The CHRC hired Kozak nonetheless -- to be their hate speech investigator.

At the end of it all - be it the relentless attacks on speech (even when one "wins," "the process becomes the penalty," writes Levant), or the occasionally ridiculous complaint about workplace discrimination (see McDonald's above) - the remedy is to rewrite legislation to end penalties that accrue to controversial speech. Also, let's scrap the commissions which are sunk deep into complex matters that are way over their intellectual, philosophical and legal heads.

Instead, let the real courts deal with claims of discrimination, and not the fake/pretend bodies with their wide-ranging and too-often abused and unchecked powers.

More articles by Mark Milke