Blathers the LeRant:
Human rights commissions are a relatively new creation, formed in the 1960s and 1970s for political reasons, not legal reasons. The main issues that these commissions were created to address -- such as racial discrimination in rental housing and employment -- were already covered by established landlord and tenant law, as well as labour and employment law. The commissions were supposed to be an informal, sympathetic forum for vulnerable people who needed extra help; and commissions were limited to dispensing a few thousand dollars.
No, Ezra, you are completely wrong in that regard. The legislation that substantiates the Human Rights Commissions in Canada are mysteriously called "Human Rights Legislation". Discrimination can take many forms, and some of them can be quite subtle and insidious, others are more blatant.
The most common cases seem to be employees quitting over squabbles with other staff -- a female backhoe operator claimed her rights as a woman were violated for being called "honey" and other locker-room talk on a construction site
That backhoe operator has a name, and her coworkers should be using it out of basic decency. Names like "honey" have their place and purpose, but it's not in the workplace. In the workplace, it is condescending, crude and inappropriate...even if the person uttering it is married to the other. Using a name like that in a workplace of that nature can set the stage for dehumanizing the individual whom it is directed at. Sorry Ezra, that's an amazingly bad example.
Sure enough, Ezra has to wade into the Boissoin issue:
The commission's one-woman panel--a divorce lawyer with no expertise in constitutional rights -- ruled that "the publication's exposure of homosexuals to hatred and contempt trumps the freedom of speech afforded in the Charter." That was it: Freedom of speech, and of the press, and religion, all of which are called "fundamental freedoms" in our Constitution, now come second to the newly discovered right of a thin-skinned bystander not to be offended.
Sorry Ezra, but it's pretty clear that Ms. Andreachuk knows what she was talking about. She grounded her opinion quite nicely in precedent and reasoning. I'm appalled that a man who is supposedly a lawyer himself is so crude as to attempt to challenge her credentials simply because she came to a conclusion that Mr. Levant doesn't like.
The Oakes Test was named after David Oakes, a man charged with trafficking of hash oil, who beat the rap using the Charter. Accused drug dealers get the benefit of the Constitution, but not accused pastors.
Again, like Mr. Hannaford, Levant makes a gross mischaracterization of the situation regarding Boissoin. The AHRC ruling on Boissoin is quite clear why Boissoin's "letter" steps over a reasonable line. (Declarations of war always go so well, don't they?)
Mr. Hannaford I expect more from - Ezra simply keeps demonstrating to us that he's an utter loon. At least the Sun has had the relative smarts to quit publishing his tirades in the weeks since he blamed a tragic accident on someone wearing what he thought was a hijab - apparently the National Post's editors haven't heard why Ezra's tirades don't deserve the time of day in print.