I have a couple of friends who are convinced Canada should do away with the Canadian Human Rights Commisison (which only really deals with discrimination in situations concering federally regulated institutions). Or the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission. Or both. I don’t think my friends are against human rights. I don’t think they believe that discrimination based on race, culture, religion, or sexuality is a *good* thing. I think that some of my friends are feeling that the actions of bodies like the Human Rights Commissions are a detriment to everyone who *isn’t* a minority or special interest group.
The Human Rights Commission does important work. Unfortunately, you can put spin on anything to make it sound ridiculous. Two examples: In Saskatchewan, a civil servant marriage commissioner was taken to task for refusing to perform a same-sex marriage, which is legal in the province. In BC, a comedian was taken to task over some comments he made during a performance.
I think what bothers some people about the HRC is that the party who lodges a complaint does not have to pay for the investigation/resulting commission costs, but the party charged does have to pay for their own defense. I don’t know much about the *legal* system in Canada, so I can’t tell you how common that kind of thing is. Some people think the HRC goes too far, and infringes on the rights of the respondents; they feel the HRC is trying to tell us what to think.
It’s clear to me…abundantly clear to me that we need the Human Rights Commission. My friend should be able to go to work and not have to listen to someone accusing her of being a ‘pinko communist tree-hugger idiot’ just because the people she works with don’t agree with socialist, left-leaning politics…sure, there ought to be (and there are) provisions for when things are said in jest, and clearly, my friend isn’t taking her co-workers (who’ve said much worse than that) to the HRC. Or when a different friend is in the waiting room at the doctor’s office and hears one of the intake receptionist/nurses say that she just tells most of the Indians in her office to go home and sleep it off before their appointments…why is it okay for a civil employee to refuse to marry a gay couple? Anyway. My point is that the HRC (at both levels) is still needed, and if a straight, employed, white, Christian male has his rights infringed upon…if he is denied a job because of he is straight, white, Christian, and/or male, or if he is denied services, then he can also launch a complaint.
But that’s not my point. My point is this:
If you’re talking about getting rid of something or making something work better, then why the hell not do something about the bloody Parole board? Bad enough that they agreed to let convicted murderer Colin Thatcher leave his two-star federal resort, but now they grand a FULL EFFING PARDON to convicted CHILD MOLESTER and SERIAL SEXUAL ABUSER Graham James?
You don’t remember who Graham James is?
Graham James was the Junior Hockey coach who routinely sexually abused and molested the children he was coaching. In Saskatchewan, Graham James terrorised and abused young boys who played for the Swift Current Broncos and the Moose Jaw Warriors. Sheldon Kennedy was one of the first hockey players to go public with the news of what his coach had done to him.
What’s worse, James was pardoned THREE YEARS AGO, and the only reason this is hitting the news now is that one of his former victims contacted the Winnipeg Police. In most cases where a convicted criminal is pardoned, the victims and those with a vested interest in the case are informed. For some reason, in James’ case, nobody seems to have known about it, or no one chose to go public with the information. I must admit, I am utterly confused how a convicted child molester and sexual predator can be PARDONED by the Parole Board.
A pardon is not parole. A pardon is basically wiping clean the slate. Now, when the crime involves a sex crime, that information is still available…for people doing a certain kind of criminal records check. I can’t imagine what James’ lawyer is being paid, but it must be an impressive amount. Because I think that what the National Parole Board has done is horrific. At the *very* most, James should qualify for supervised parole. But a pardon? Sorry guys. You got this one totally wrong.