Let me be abundantly clear about one thing: I am not speaking to the merits of the complaint against Levant - I have my own opinions about that topic, and my own suspicions about Mr. Levant's intention and motives in publishing those cartoons. I have commented on that before on the blog, you can dig it up in the archives. Levant had every right to publish those cartoons, but in doing so, he also stands to bear the consequences of doing so.
When I speak of due process being carried out, the criticism has been raised that Ezra hasn't been allowed to call witnesses, etc. There is in fact a reason for this. Then AHRC processes are specifically designed with a significant weighting towards conciliation as opposed to courtroom-like adversarial proceedings (which are about the last option used)
Based on this flowchart, I would suspect strongly that the complaint in question is currently in the "Investigation" stage, not the formal hearing process as took place this past summer with regards to the Boissoin case.
On that basis, the criticism that Ezra hasn't been able to call witnesses, or engage in cross-examination activities is hardly surprising - in general practice, during the course of an investigation, someone being questioned by the investigator has a right to counsel, but not necessarily to call forth witnesses etc. - that happens in the courtroom - later. (Granted, since I am not directly party to the case, it is possible that the inquiry has been styled a "hearing", but I think procedurally it is in fact an Investigation - if you have clarity to the contrary (from a source other than Mr. Levant), let me know)
With respect to the more formal hearings process, I draw your attention to the following from the Commission Bylaws:
Submissions to Panel
11(1) The party with carriage of a matter shall provide the Commission with any documents or evidentiary matters upon which they intend to rely at the hearing for distribution to the party opposite at least 21 days prior to the hearing. The respondent shall provide responding documentation to the Commission for distribution to the party opposite at least 14 days prior to the hearing.
11(2) The admission of the evidence shall be determined by the panel at the hearing.
11(3) A submission shall state the nature of the order which is sought from the panel and may in addition, include:
1. an acknowledgment of any agreed upon facts,
2. written arguments covering legal points and authorities,
3. affidavit evidence,
4. any documents or exhibits,
5. the names of the witnesses the party intends to call,
6. the estimated time that the party needs before the panel, and
7. any preliminary matters that the party intends to raise, including any questions of jurisdiction.
Now, that sounds a great deal more like the kind of "courtroom hearing" that Ezra claims is being denied to him. More rationally, I suspect it's a matter of the Conciliation process having been tabled and failed for whatever reason.
(I should point out that last summer's hearings in the Boissoin case included witnesses and third party intervenors) Those interested in the boundaries of the AHRC's authority are referred to the legislation: Human Rights, Citizenship
and Multiculturalism Act.
There is a process here. It is fairly well defined, and available to the public. Further, the process at play is "quasi-judicial" - not entirely anchored in the rigors of the legal system in some respects, but certainly subject to appeal in the court system. See S. 37 of the act, which reads:
37(1) A party to a proceeding before a human rights panel may appeal an order of the panel to the Court of Queen’s Bench by originating notice filed with the clerk of the Court of the judicial district in which the proceeding was held.
(2) The originating notice under subsection (1) shall be filed with the clerk and served on the Commission and the other parties within 30 days after the date the appellant receives a copy of the order of the human rights panel.
(3) Forthwith after being served with an originating notice under subsection (2), the Commission shall file the following with the clerk of the Court:
(a) the order of the human rights panel, together with reasons;
(b) the complaint;
(c) the evidence taken at the hearing and all exhibits filed.
(4) The Court may
(a) confirm, reverse or vary the order of the human rights panel and make any order that the panel may make under section 32, or
(b) remit the matter back to the panel with directions.
(5) Commencement of an appeal under this section does not operate as a stay of proceedings under the order of the human rights panel unless the Court so orders.
In short, even if hearings in this matter do not go in Ezra's favour, he has the right to appeal the decision into the Court of Queen's Bench in Alberta.
At this stage, following the AHRC investigator's report, there are several possibilities - only one of which results in a Panel Hearing taking place.