Saskatchewan may abolish Human Rights Tribunal

“The Saskatchewan government may scrap its Human Rights Tribunal in favour of having rights cases heard by the courts, the province’s justice minister said yesterday.”

Read more at the National Post

Good on you Saskatchewan! Glad to see my home province at least has some sense. As LifeSiteNews points out, 2 major rulings have been overturned on appeal (both of them were related to speech about homosexuals). Human Rights Tribunals have become a running joke in this country for extreme PCness. You can tell how bad things have gotten when the Canadian Civil Liberties Association intervenes a lot on the side of defendants. We’d all be glad to see them disappear.

How likely is this proposal to pass? And will the government pay the cost of legal representation, for those who file complaints, in the courts?

It seems to be a political issue:

This would be a return to the way things were done previously. Human Rights tribunals were originally set up to become almost the “small claims court” for human rights. The idea being that lots of discrimination was being accepted because of the time and cost of going to court.

One area in which the tribunals erred was in providing legal representation for the complainant, but nothing for the defendant-the opposite of the normal justice system. There was also no mechanism by which the defendant could recoup their expenses if the claim was dismissed.

In this environment a whole tribunal industry grew up of lawyers and special interests groups filing complaints and the lawyers and specialists and in many cases the plaintiffs receiving compensation for participating in the process.

In light of this many defendents simply pled guilty and accepted whatever the decision of the tribunal was, creating “precedents” that worked against the next round of defendents.

Finally the human rights tribunals in some provinces accepted cases against well-monied defendents who appealed the tribunals’ decisions to the court system and exposed the whole “industry” that had grown up (one of the defendents was a news magazine). This has led to reduced public support for the tribunals and calls for elimination or significant reform of their mandate and process.

Note that the second story posted suggests that the practice of funding complainants without funding defendents could continue in this new model. Scary. :eek:

No doubt it is. The NDP aren’t in power though (and are fairly “liberal friendly”, so maybe they don’t like that the courts are acknowledging our free speech rights. They also don’t like that the government is asking the Court of Appeals for an opinion that would provide conscience protection for marriage commissioners). Next election estimated to be next year.

That was Mark Steyn and Macleans (funny enough, Macleans is Canada’s only national newsmagazine). They got taken to the Ontario HRC, Canadian HRC, and the BC HRC. The Ontario one was “dismissed” (meaning there was no penalty, except for the head of the HRC denouncing them and lamenting the fact that they couldn’t take the case. Pretty much convicted them without a hearing), the Canadian one refused, and the BC one went to a full hearing. Steyn and Macleans were both exonerated, but obviously not before spending a pile of cash (which the complainant, the Canadian Islamic Congress, spent not a dime).

There’s also the case of Ezra Levant. Funny enough, after that case got dismissed, the complainant became a supporter of free speech and an opponent of the HRC (he was new to the country from the Middle East and thought this was how it worked, and changed his mind after he saw the gong show it was).

Hopefully we won’t completely loose the right to free speech in Canada.
The worst case, for me, has been the experience of a pastor in Alberta who didn’t have the resources of a magazine or of Ezra Levant. He was ordered:

to refrain in the future from making “disparaging” comments about homosexualist activism and the homosexual lifestyle, whether it be “publishing in newspapers, by e-mail, on the radio, in public speeches or on the internet.”

The term “disparaging” was not defined in the judgement, creating a low threshold for potential violation.

Between the 'Human Rights Kangaroo Courts" and same-sex “marriage” I’m becoming :blush:'ed to call myself Canadian. :frowning:

I agree that the case was a worrisome infringement on freedom of expression. However, the verdict against Mr. Boissoin was overturned in December 2009, and he was being assisted by at least three different organizations concerned with Christian speech or free speech.

Thanks for that Dale. (My memory is shrinking I think.)

Surprise, surprise. Another one got overturned by a real court. Just shows you how bad these kangaroo courts are.

That is precisely the reason why they are talking about abolishing them. Now that people are fighting back when the tribunals try to force social engineering on them, people are realizing that the tribunals abuse their human rights far more than any ordinary peron or business.

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