I've been gone a week during the sleepiest days of summer, but I remain impressed with the amount of news that human rights commissions continue to generate because of their bad behaviour.
Here's a story from Australia -- it uses Canada's human rights commissions as a case study of how HRCs can actually become abusers of rights. It should be embarrassing to Canadians that we are held up of an international example of how not to do civil rights.
Here's an excellent American summary of my own case, on the popular FrontPage Magazine website.
Stories like those, in media like those, are incredibly important. I haven't blogged a word in a week, but links from those sites have kept my blog traffic at about 3,000 visitors a day. I mention that as evidence that freedom loving people are just plain interested in our awful laboratory experiment with censorship in Canada.
Here's a surprising story in the Canadian Jewish News, typically a mouthpiece for the pro-censorship Canadian Jewish Congress. It's surprising, because it's uncharacteristically even-handed on the subject of HRC censorship, and gives me almost as much ink as it gives the Official Jews who typically support censorship. I'd say that's a small sign of progress.
By far my favourite story, of course, was this one by Joseph Brean in the National Post the other day. Not just because hard news reports about HRCs are very valuable -- I'd trade one news story about HRCs for five opinion columns, in terms of their effectiveness at denormalizing these abusive commissions -- but because this news story is one of the first signs of the anti-HRC backlash spreading.
In this case, Ontario Conservative MPP Lisa MacLeod, pushed for committee hearings to examine the provincial government's nominees for the $160,000/year job of human rights tribunal members. Those are the kangaroo judges that preside over these lawless courts. Needless to say, the combination of such a payday and the nearly unlimited political power that comes with them has attracted quite a field of would-be commissars.
The Post tells the story of one of them: Alan Whyte, a labour lawyer who now wants to stretch his legs in the field of government censorship of news reports. That's right: under questioning from MacLeod, he admits he wants to take on news reports -- news, not opinion; the mere reportage of what goes on in the world -- and to censor stories that don't fit his ideological perspective. (Perhaps Whyte would have liked to have censored the very story that broke that news.) Here are some excerpts from the Post's report:
A candidate for one of the top jobs at the new Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario told a government committee yesterday he thinks print journalism should be subject to racial discrimination complaints.
Alan Whyte, a veteran employer-side labour lawyer, told an all-party panel vetting the two dozen government nominees that he supports the media's broad freedom to report stories "as they see fit."
"Having said that, if there is some sort of discrimination that comes out in the reporting that is arguably contrary to the code, then I would also feel that it would be open to a complainant to challenge the reporting as being discriminatory on the grounds of race," said the candidate for vice-chair.
...Lisa MacLeod, who led the Tory questioning, said in an interview she has been inspired by the recent failed human rights case against Ezra Levant and the Western Standard for publishing the Danish Muhammad cartoons.
"I'm of the opinion that even if I don't like what you have to say, I have to accept it. There's lots of times I don't like what I read, but I'm not the judge of that," she said. "I'm having a real philosophical problem with Barbara Hall recognizing freedom of expression and at the same time telling the media what their responsibility is."
"I wanted to call every single one of [the nominees] in, because if we're going to have a human rights system in Ontario, I think we deserve as Ontarians to know what the individual philosophies are of these tribunal members," she said. Procedural restrictions dictated she could not.
Dear reader, why don't you take just a quick moment to send a word of encouragement to MacLeod. I understand that getting these hearings at all -- the first ever for HRC appointees, anywhere -- were a result of her own work. And her questions generated this excellent news story. Click here to send her an e-mail.
I'll do some more catch-up blogging over the next few days. Before I left, I promised to tell you about two federal cabinet ministers who have come out against the HRCs; and about a stunning development -- another human rights complaint filed against me