Trial by... divorce lawyer? Nurse? Alderman?
As I mentioned the other day, regular commenter Mordechai has challenged my repeated statement that human rights tribunal panellists are not real judges, and many are not even lawyers.
I started to learn who these men and women were after reading the first dozen or so HRC rulings here. I wanted to know who wrote these inconsistent, arbitrary and biased "rulings". They were often mutually contradictory; they were sometimes rife with spelling and grammatical errors, and some of their logic could only be called pretzelian. I started to dig deeper when I read this abomination of a case, where the right not to be offended officially trumped such trivia as freedom of speech and religion (see paragraph 357).
That case, Lund v. Boissoin, was heard by Lori Andreachuk. (It took five years to go from complaint to ruling in that matter, by the way -- five years of grinding away at Rev. Boissoin, five years of stigma, five years of taxpayers' money. That extreme delay is standard fare at HRCs. It's illegal in real courts, by the way -- almost twenty years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada threw out literally thousands of criminal cases that were dragging on like that. But then accused criminals have a lot of rights at trial that accused pastors like Rev. Boissoin, and accused publishers like myself, don't.)
Ms. Andreachuk isn't a judge of course, but she is a lawyer -- a divorce lawyer in Lethbridge. I don't know much about her c.v. other than she was a small-time provincial Tory organizer before she received her patronage appointment. But I don't need to know her bio; I know everything I need to know about her from her abusive, Orwellian, rights-destroying ruling in the Boissoin case.
Divorce lawyers know about divorce law. They don't know a lot about freedom of speech, freedom of religion and other constitutional matters. If I went to traffic court to fight a speeding ticket and I appeared in front of a divorce lawyer sitting in as the magistrate, I'd be concerned -- what would she know about traffic laws, or the minutiae of radar detectors and police lasers and road conditions? I'd be upset, and all I'd have at risk would be some demerit points and a hundred dollars. To think that a divorce lawyer is making monumental decisions about the freedom of Albertans to practise their religion is terrifying.
Here is the list of the other human rights commissioners in Alberta. (In that province the "judges" in the kangaroo court are called commissioners. In some other Canadian HRCs, the "judges" are called tribunal panellists.)
There are a range of commissioners from various backgrounds, but they all have one thing in common: I wouldn't trust any of them with my constitutional rights. Diane Colley-Urquhart, for example, is a pleasant enough woman I've met in the Calgary Tory circuit. She also happens to be a sitting alderman, and a nurse by profession. That's great; and if I had a problem with the city's cat bylaw or garbage pick-up, she'd be the first one I'd run to. But Ms. Colley-Urquhart plays judge in these kangaroo courts. That's scary enough; the fact that she's also a turbo-partisan, seeking votes -- and accepting political contributions -- shows that basic judicial concepts like impartiality, non-partisanship and legal expertise are non-existent in HRCs.
I don't know the other Alberta commissioners personally. I'm sure Delano Winston Tolley was an excellent servant in the Royal Canadian Air Force -- anyone named after both FDR and Churchill and who lists "blaster" as one of his former careers is probably a helluva guy to have a beer with. I just don't want him judging my constitutional rights. Or anything else for that matter.
To be sure, there are some lawyers who sit on HRC tribunals. I have yet to come across one whose area of expertise is what is called, somewhat sentimentally in Canada, "civil rights" -- by that, I mean those dusty old cliches that happen to pack our Bill of Rights and Charter of Rights, and what unfashionable old men like Alan Borovoy keep muttering about. No, there aren't a lot of civil libertarians on human rights commissions. But there are a lot of professional "human rights activists" on them, which is a completely different thing.
(Question: Do you think that Lori Andreachuk, squelcher of religious expression, harasser of the clergy, censor of the press, knows that the first words in our Charter of Rights are "Whereas Canada is founded upon principles that recognize the supremacy of God and the rule of law"?)
I concede to Mordechai what I have never denied: that there are indeed some lawyers on various HRCs in Canada. Too many of those lawyers, I regret, are like Pearl Eliadis, the former Ontario HRC director who has made her career living off the government and GONGO (that's government-organized Non-Governmental Organization) human rights industry. She's like Dean Steacy, the "human rights investigator" who is actually a capricious violator of the human right to natural justice. Eliadis can be summed up best by a single line in her Montreal Gazette defence of HRC's:
"Are Levant and Steyn hatemongerers? Maybe not. But no one has decided that."
Putting aside the detail that there is no such word as "hatemongererer", just gaze in wonderment at the sentiment here: Steyn and I aren't innocent until proven guilty. We're guilty until proven guilty, in an HRC with a 100% conviction rate. Perhaps I'd be better off with an alderman as an HRC tribunalist than with a "human rights lawyer" who doesn't even accept the "Golden Thread" of common law: that a man is innocent until proven guilty.
It's all just another way that human rights commissions violate our Canadian standards of justice.