Tuesday, November 23, 2010

LYNCH MOB: If only the rest in the Liberal Party were so articulate

Good blog posting today from the Lynch Mob.
http://missnixon.wordpress.com/2010/11/22/if-only-the-rest-in-the-liberal-party-were-so-articulate/
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If only the rest in the Liberal Party were so articulate

Interestingly enough, during the push-back against Human Rights Commissions in Canada, it has been members of the Liberal Party of Canada that has been at the fore.

Some might expect this position to be held by the Conservative Party of Canada – what with its libertarian and social conservative base members. However, while many in the Conservative Party of Canada base have internally expressed their desire for HRC reform, the party brass has, time and again, been too afraid to touch that particular file.

Indeed, even when it would have been fairly easy and fairly painless, the PMO has dropped the issue of the CHRC’s infamous Section 13(1): in the senate, after the last prorogue; through back-door routes by actually increasing the CHRC’s funding. Rod Bruinooge aside, the CPC just doesn’t seem to have the guts to take on the human rights industry in Canada.
The Liberal Party of Canada, officially, has not done much better. But it was a Liberal MP, Keith Martin ( who is, incidentally, resigning ) who introduced a private member’s motion calling for Section 13(1) to be scrapped.
And – with many thanks to Russ Campbell for finding this clip – a couple of months back, another Liberal member and supporter gave a very spirited defense of freedom of expression in the face of the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
Akaash Maharaj has served as the LPC National Policy Chair, was one of the authors of the party’s Red Book platform, and served on the party’s National Executive. And early in October, on The Agenda with Steve Paikin, he gave the following monologue:








Thursday, November 18, 2010

CALEDONIA: "Arrested for making the police look bad"

Arrested for making the police look bad

National Post  November 17, 2010


The following is the second of four excerpts the National Post is running from Christie Blatchford’s new book on the Caledonia crisis, Helpless.

The government and the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) had one thing in common: an enemy, Gary McHale, who was coming to town with his “March for Freedom” rally.

He had a standard message: “We’re having a rally. There’s no swearing, no racial slurs, no violence allowed, no criminal behaviour.” Yet, in short order, McHale had managed to offend just about everyone — every level of government, natives and their supporters, the OPP and the Ontario Provincial Police Association (OPPA).

McHale and his wife Christine had just come off Highway 403 and turned onto Highway 6 south, heading for Caledonia, when they were approached by an OPP cruiser with lights flashing. It was about ten thirty in the morning.

One of the officers got out of the cruiser, walked up to McHale’s open window, and said the purpose of the stop was to advise him that if he attempted to raise a Canadian flag at the rally, he would be arrested.

The officer, Detective Sergeant Bernie Cowan, and his partner, Detective Sergeant Doug Cousens, had attended a “special briefing” about the planned McHale stop earlier that morning, where they were directed by Detective Sergeant Greg Walton to tell McHale that “raising flags in a certain location would be considered a breach of the peace because of the situation.”

In any case, Cowan introduced himself and said, “We’ve been sitting there pretty much most of the morning looking for ya, just because we wanted to have a couple words with ya.” He added that police had “some concerns today for you and the safety of the community,” and “it’s our belief that if you or anybody else attempts to erect flags or ribbons directly across from Douglas Creek Estates, that it may cause a confrontation, and we can’t let that happen, and we won’t let that happen.

“We will allow you to raise flags and ribbons, just not across from the Douglas Creek Estates. Okay, and anybody that — anybody that attempts to do that, to raise those flags and ribbons in that restricted area, will be arrested for breach of the peace.”

McHale, of course, asked, “So have the natives been arrested for putting up their flags?”
“They have not,” Cowan replied.

“Why?” McHale asked. “You said ‘anyone.’ Your words were ‘Anyone who tries to put up flags will be arrested for breach of the peace.’”

“That’s today I’m talking about,” Cowan replied.

Around and around they went, with McHale pressing his point and Cowan’s only answer for it that, when natives put up their flags, it was “a long time ago.”

“And I’m not here to comment on that,” Cowan said. “I’m just telling you what our plan is today, and that’s what my purpose is.”

“Well,” McHale said, “you know what my plan is.”

“What is your plan?” Cowan asked.

“My plan is to make you guys look like a bunch of assholes,” McHale said, “and you’ve done a great job [of helping achieve that]. The media will be here, and it will be quite clear to all Canadians across this country, because they will see the native flag. The cameras will show the native flag. And you’ll be there, and your officers will be there, saying, ‘If you put up a Canadian flag, we will arrest you.’”

He continued: “You guys are looking more ridiculous as time goes by. You did nothing when the power station was destroyed, you did nothing when the bridge was burned down, and now we’re talking about a simple flag, and the natives have their flags up and there was no violence.”
“Well,” Cowan said, “we just believe that today, if you guys attempt to do that in that area, there’s a confrontation. We just don’t want a confrontation today, and that’s what I’m talking about.”

The conversation lasted a little over four minutes, and as McHale continued on his way to town for the rally, the OPP prepared a transcript of the chat, sent it up the chain of command for approval and worked on a press release.

As promised, McHale was arrested that day and charged with breach of the peace, though in fact, at the time of his arrest, he was standing on Argyle Street, a flag in his hand, waiting to hear from the OPP if, as he had requested, someone senior would come and speak to him. “You show me him coming here,” McHale had told them, “and I will speak to him and will tell everyone to leave.” Instead, he was handcuffed, put in a paddy wagon and taken to Cayuga.
Fully expecting he might be arrested, McHale had given Christine his keys and wallet, so he had no identification on him. Officers kept coming in, he says, and asking, “Are you Gary McHale?” To which he replied, “I was the guy holding the Canadian flag.” Every ten minutes, someone would come and ask the same question, and he’d reply the same way.

“So I had made a decision,” McHale says, “and I said to the officers, ‘This is all mind games. You’re trying to intimidate me, so here’s going to be my response.’

“And I had purposely worn boxer shorts,” he says, “so they throw me in jail, first thing I did, within seconds, was strip down to my boxer shorts. This is December 16. It is cold. It’s a steel bed — you probably haven’t been in jail — there’s no blankets, there’s no pillow. So you’re on a steel bed, cement walls: it was cold, cold, cold, cold.”

They brought in dinner; he wouldn’t touch it. He refused to sleep. They began asking if he wanted a blanket, or his clothes back. Now, worried he’d get sick, the police began cranking up the heat in the cells; they were now responding to McHale. “Within about an hour and a half,” he says, “I’m really toasty.”

One of his friends, fellow protester Mark Vandermaas, had also been arrested and was in the next cell. He hadn’t stripped down, so he was cooking. Vandermaas is a former Canadian peacekeeper and real estate agent who co-founded CANACE, Canadian Advocates for Charter Equality, with McHale. He was released after several hours, but McHale was held overnight.

December 17, 2006, was a Sunday, and there was no court in Cayuga, so McHale was taken to Hamilton, where assistant Crown attorney Andrew Goodman stood up and said he had no information on McHale, no paperwork.

Only later, in one of his various court actions, did McHale receive a statement from Goodman, in which he confirmed that he had been under some pressure to impose a peace bond with conditions upon McHale before releasing him. Goodman refused, pointing out that under Section 31 of the Criminal Code, once the purported “danger” has passed, “there is an obligation to release” an accused charged with breach of the peace.


CALEDONIA: "If the suspect wasn't white, the police learned to walk away"

Great series in this weeks National Post by author Christie Blatchford.

 

 

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If the suspect wasn’t white, the police learned to walk away

 

National Post  November 16, 2010

 

The following is the first of four excerpts the National Post is running from Christie Blatchford’s new book on the Caledonia crisis, Helpless.

By March 2006, the Ontario Provincial Police (OPP) had adopted the protesters’ language and officers were formally referring to the Caledonia occupation in notebooks as a “land reclamation,” the Aboriginal Relations Team (ART) was delivering mini-lectures to other officers on the various groups at play on Six Nations (the elected council, the Confederacy, clan mothers, etc.) and everyone was made acutely aware of the “sensitivity of the situation.”

Almost overnight, officers stopping cars without licence plates or with invalid tags, or making other arrests, found themselves being asked, when they first called in the information over the radio, a single shocking question: “Are the occupants white or non-white?” If the answer was “non-white,” meaning native, the reply from the command post would be, “Get their names, disengage and if there are any charges to be laid, you can lay them later.”

This rule of non-engagement also affected officers from the Six Nations Police, the first stand-alone Aboriginal police force in Canada and a proud, tough and professional unit. Before the occupation, the two forces had an agreeable working arrangement: If the local OPP was short, Six Nations would lend a hand, and vice versa. But now, Six Nations officers who came into town to back up the OPP also learned when to walk away.

An infamous incident happened early one night behind the Kentucky Fried Chicken on Argyle Street, where there was a bit of a dustup involving both Six Nations and Caledonia kids. A Six Nations Police officer arrived to find a Six Nations youth “all but spitting in the face of this OPP officer,” who was, in the first officer’s view, “standing there and doing nothing.” The Six Nations officer later told a colleague about it, saying, “He’s not on [Douglas Creek Estates (DCE)], he’s not on the reserve, he’s a fucking asshole, arrest him!” But, like his OPP colleague and against every instinct in his body, the Six Nations officer also left without making an arrest.

On the police grapevine, word was spreading: If natives were involved, the OPP was to back off, and if officers didn’t like it, they were well advised to keep their concerns to themselves.

By the end of March, Mary Ann Burns, the OPP Association president for the No. 3 branch, which takes in Caledonia, was formally told for the first time that her members were concerned: They had no clear instructions, they had been flat-out told not to drive past the site unless it was necessary, and at least one officer had been banned outright, not just from DCE but from the town. This dated back to the first day of the occupation, when the officer in question had been stationed by the main gate where the protesters had set up the barricade. One of the occupiers approached him and demanded that he remove a contractor who was just sitting in his car.

The officer said politely that he couldn’t order the man to leave, as he was on a public roadway.

“We’ll see about that,” the woman snapped and got on a cell phone. Two hours later, the officer was called back to the OPP’s suboffice in town and told he was not to go near the site, not even to drive past it, unless there was an emergency of some sort. Why, he was told, his very appearance — he is a huge man, with a shaved head, who is known to his colleagues as a gentle giant — was upsetting to the occupiers, an affront.

“And that,” says another veteran officer, “was where the natives on the DCE started to wag the dog, just to see how far they could push it. And you know what, they pushed it and got zero pushback.”

On March 31, in an incident that became widely known inside the OPP, the same officer who’d been banned from the site heard a call on the air about an impaired driver. Not two minutes later came a reply from two ART officers who had just stopped the car on the Sixth Line. By the time he arrived, only one of the ART officers was still there. They had been ordered to leave because, as reclamation officers, they couldn’t be seen in confrontations with natives; they were supposed to be building trust. Apologizing as he went, the second ART officer left.

But now, occupiers were showing up in force, at least a dozen of them converging on the lone OPP officer, who had already determined that the driver had no licence, no permit and no insurance — oh, and that the car had no plates. He called for backup, a plea that, in the normal course of events in the policing world, usually brings an enormous, instantaneous, gut-level response: Every cop who can get there does.

No one arrived.

In what was probably the single most important early indicator of how the OPP was disintegrating from within, its officers were no longer answering a call for help from one of their own. The constable had been left to fend for himself.



Read more: http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/11/16/christie-blatchford-if-the-suspect-wasnt-white-the-police-learned-to-just-walk-away/

 

 

 

The death of free expression - Human rights commissions deter ordinary Canadians from expressing unpopular opinions

“In this season of remembrance, it would be good for us to pause and think about how we can ensure that future generations of Canadians inherit a country with meaningful guarantees of fundamental human rights”

 

The death of free expression

Human rights commissions deter ordinary Canadians from expressing unpopular opinions

 

·  Derek James From

·  Sun Nov 14 2010

 

This time of year we are called to remember the great sacrifices made by generations of young Canadian men and women. Our act of remembering, however, is not intended to glorify the wars fought. Instead, remembering the lives spent should remind us that our freedoms have been purchased at a great price. It is easy for those of us who have never fought or sacrificed for the basic freedoms we enjoy to overlook, to neglect, and to lapse into forgetfulness.

The same is true for our basic human rights. I am not referring to the high-minded and academic human rights that are commonly discussed in our modern dialogue. I am referring to a much more basic, fundamental, and significant cluster of human rights: the freedoms to be self-determining, make your own way in the world, and hold beliefs and opinions without fear of reprisal. These are basic human rights, and where these are lacking, there can be no true freedom. This is easy to forget.

On July 10, 2002, Stephen Boissoin wrote an inflammatory letter to the editor of his local paper. The content of this letter was offensive, but it caused no harm, physical or otherwise.

Boissoin’s letter talked about his perception that there was a “homosexual agenda” at work in society. But his perception was just that: a perception. Since Boissoin’s letter did not produce any physical harm to any identifiable person, it would be easy to assume that Canada’s Charter would prohibit the provincial or federal governments from silencing him. This seems a clear example of what the guarantee of freedom of expression was crafted to protect – the expression of unpopular ethical ideas in a public forum.

Similarly, in 2001 and 2002, William Whatcott distributed flyers to mailboxes in Regina and Saskatoon. The content of these flyers was offensive, but it caused no harm – physical or otherwise. Whatcott’s flyers talked about policy decisions by the Saskatoon Public School Board that he believed promoted homosexuality. But Whatcott was merely expressing an opinion. His flyers harmed no one. It would be easy to think that the Canadian Charter protected Whatcott’s expression.

In both Boissoin’s and Whatcott’s cases, the answer as to whether the Charter protects their free expression is not yet clear. When dragged before their respective provincial human rights commissions, each was ordered to pay damages for expressing their ideas. Both men successfully appealed and got favourable decision in court. But these favourable decisions are now being appealed. Boissoin will soon appear in the Alberta Court of Appeal, and Whatcott will appear in the Supreme Court of Canada in the near future.

 

Derek James From is a student-at-law at the Canadian Constitution Foundation, which supports the constitutional right of Canadians to freely and publicly express their opinions.

[see rest of article at: http://www.thespec.com/opinion/editorial/article/275738--the-death-of-free-expression

 

Saturday, November 13, 2010

QMI: CHRC paid big bucks for spin doctors: Docs

 

Good article in today’s London Free Press and on CANOE website.

 

 

 

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http://www.lfpress.com/news/canada/2010/11/13/16126131.html

 

 

Top bureaucrat paid big bucks for spin doctors: Docs

OTTAWA — Canada’s top bureaucrat in charge of human rights sought some high-priced PR help over the last few years as human rights commissions and tribunals across the country came under fire, documents show.

The Canadian Human Rights Commission contracted the Ottawa office of Hill & Knowlton to provide strategic advice on how to combat a wave of negative publicity and calls from MPs to strip away some of their powers.

During the tense period for the commission, chief commissioner Jennifer Lynch sought advice from Hill & Knowlton on how to communicate with the minister of justice and whether another government minister could quote her in a news release. The company also drew a map of a Parliamentary committee room including instructions on where Lynch should sit during an appearance and where water glasses could be found.

The documents obtained by QMI through access to information requests show the CHRC paid Hill & Knowlton $167,000 over an 18 month period. The work began shortly after a controversy erupted surrounding the Mark Steyn case.

In December 2007 the Canadian Islamic Congress filed a human rights complaint with the CHRC over the online posting of a Steyn article on the Macleans website. The CIC claimed Macleans and Steyn were guilty of violating section 13.1 of the Canadian Human Rights Act.

Section 13.1 makes it an offence to publish material online “that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt.” While the CHRC chose not to proceed with a case against Steyn, the fact that they reviewed the complaint and the work of a major magazine set off a debate over freedom of expression in Canada.

The contract saw Hill & Knowlton provide advice that included a reworking of the internal communications of the commission, the writing of speeches and preparation for chief commissioner Jennifer Lynch’s appearance before a committee of MPs.

While MPs debated removing section 13.1 of the act, Lynch argued before MPs, using notes provided by Hill & Knowlton, that one of the key challenges to equality in Canada is hate on the internet.

 

… See the rest at: http://www.lfpress.com/news/canada/2010/11/13/16126131.html

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Campaign Challenges the Assault on Freedom by Canada's Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals

 

An interesting new website has just been released.  It is well worth the time to look it over.

 

The links below were added after the fact.

 

 

 

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http://www.humanrightscommissions.ca/

 

 

Stand Up for Freedom Canada – November 9, 2010

For Immediate Release

New Campaign Challenges the Assault on Freedom by Canada’s Human Rights Commissions and Tribunals

(Vancouver) November 9, 2010: As Canada prepares to remember those who paid the supreme sacrifice for our freedom, a grassroots campaign has been launched today to protect this freedom from an unlikely source; our country’s human rights commission and tribunals.

“As strange as it might sound, it’s in the very name of human rights that our fundamental freedoms are being challenged” explained Neil Dykstra, the campaign’s spokesperson. “These quasi-judicial bodies have wandered far from their original mandate. They hold up fabricated “rights” and use these to undermine the freedoms that we easily take for granted, including freedom of speech and expression, freedom of religion and conscience, freedom of the press, and freedom of assembly and association.”

The campaign was kicked off with seven events in BC and Ontario in the past few weeks and is now reaching all Canadians through an action-oriented website http://www.humanrightscommissions.ca/. The site features brand new technology through which readers can send customized letters straight to their MP about the issue in a matter of seconds. It also provides petitions, sample letters, and talking points for meeting with elected officials. The site even includes a video interview with one MP who sits on the Standing Committee on Justice and Human Rights, calling on Canadians to contact their MP’s about the commissions.

“We know that there is broad-based support among politicians to reform or even remove these commissions and tribunals” explained Dykstra. “Just last week Saskatchewan announced its plans to reform their human rights code and dissolve their human rights tribunal. BC is also considering disbanding its Tribunal and sending complaints to a dedicated employment tribunal. These are positive developments that must continue across the country. It will take grassroots action to achieve this and our hope is that this campaign will be a catalyst for spurring every-day Canadians to stand up for our fundamental freedoms.”

The commissions and tribunals attracted significant attention in the past few years because of several high-profile complaints, including one against Maclean’s newsmagazine about an article on Islam that was an excerpt from a Mark Steyn book, and another complaint against Ezra Levant and the Western Standard for republishing the infamous Danish cartoons of the prophet Mohammad. Not quite as well known, the commissions and tribunals have been taking on dozens of other complaints in which pastors, business persons, charities, and corporations have been found guilty of offending people and sentenced to forced apologies, re-education, fines, speech bans, and huge legal bills.

Parliament began an investigation into the conduct of the Canadian Human Rights Commission last year. Numerous political leaders and media outlets have come out criticizing the commissions and tribunals but as of yet few reforms or changes have been made. Even a commission-initiated investigation concluded that significant reforms were necessary, only to be ignored by the commission that paid for the review.

Some of the problems highlighted on the campaign website include:

  1. The Tribunals do not have to abide by the long-standing rules of justice that are the norm in our court system. The due process of law is ignored, evidence can be based on hear-say, and hurt feelings are enough to find someone guilty of inciting hatred. Regular legal defences of truth, fair comment, and lack of intent to harm don’t apply in the HRT’s.
  2. With this kind of criteria, it isn’t too much of a surprise that for 32 years the Canadian Human Rights Commission had a 100% conviction rate for all Section 13 cases it brought before the Tribunal. That finally ended when Section 13 was declared unconstitutional by the federal Tribunal in 2009 [In LEMIRE case].
  3. The HRC complaint process has itself become a favourite tool of activists to silence and bankrupt their political enemies. If a case is accepted, complainants do not have to pay any costs, even if they lose the case. On the other hand, defendants must cover all of their own legal expenses, even if they win. Simply being brought before a HRC is a significant penalty.
  4. Human Rights Commissions have actively sought complaints of borderline legitimacy in order to increase its workload. CHRC staff have also stated that they post their own online comments on anti-Semitic and racist forums to find and entrap others.
  5. The Commissions actively lobby parliament to create more civil rights that further restrict our fundamental rights. Some have even gone so far as to use their policy-making powers to “read in” new rights into the provincial human rights codes.
  6. The Commissions have more investigative powers than the police. The Commissions have no procedures or safeguards to ensure that their investigations are carried out in a proper and ethical manner.
  7. There is no complaint mechanism by which the Commission and its staff can be held to account. In the face of widespread public criticism, the Canadian HRC hand-picked their own expert and paid him $50,000 to review their practices. This back-fired when the investigator himself concluded that the censorship powers of the CHRC had to be removed. The CHRC has ignored this report and now continues its censorship unabated.

“We urge Canadians to check out the website, use the simple email program on it, and share it with their families, friends, and co-workers” stated Dykstra. “When enough people stand up for freedom it will be a political liability not to act.”

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http://www.humanrightscommissions.ca/