Friday, June 19, 2009

Context not Content

Why the HRCs get it Wrong so Often

I don't think that the people that work in our HRCs are bad people. I don't think they get it either. I have read too many bad or near bad decisions, or decisions that I thought could have been good to think that they get it. Bottom line is I think they are all too human, and focused on the wrong things.

I think I wrote in another Post that I believe that they are too interested in being right to seek the truth, which I now realise is a bit esoteric, though it sounded good to me. But last night I had an epiphany moment, not because of my own intelligence, but because of Pete Vere's. I was reading Kathy Shaidle's 5 feet of fury, and she referenced Northern Tequila, where Pete, her co-author on Tyranny of Nice drops pearls of wisdom from time to time, and there it was, and here it is. Please read it.

CONTEXT. You really must read what Pete wrote. It ... well puts things into context Cudos to the Canadian HRCs own Commisar in Chief Jennifer Lynch who gets credit for bringing it into the light with the Pearl Eliadis "hate mongerers", Mark Steyn "pedophile" out of context comments in her report to parliament the other day.

Let me put a couple of cases I have looked at into context.

Stephen Boissoin

A pastor, father of young children, who spent time on the streets as a young person himself, and dragged himself up by his bootstraps, due to finding an abiding faith in Jesus Christ. He ministers to and gives all of his personal financial resources to street kids, including without exception gay kids, including a home for them.

As a member of the local Red Deer pastor's association, he sees a high school teacher inviting an openly gay minister to speak about the homosexual lifestyle as an alternative with no balanced presentation of the heterosexual lifestyle. As a parent and also as a pastor himself, he believes the unbalanced nature of this to be wrong, leaving impressionable children with only one side of the story.

He writes a letter to the editor of the Red Deer Advocate telling parents to wake up, and that he is not going to take this lying down. By the way, he wrote a letter to the editor. He did not publish anything. The newspaper chose to publish the letter, which forms part of his defence to the Court of Appeal this September. I hope to write more on his appeal later on as I understand it better, becasue there are several meaningful points where the Alberta HRC broke with the law of the land in their decision.

One more bit of context. EGALE a rights group for gays and lesbians would have nothing to do with slamming Stephen's rights to free speech here because they believed if he did not have the right to speak his mind, then it would only be a matter of time before they lost their right to speak theirs.

That's context for you. The Alberta HRC was not interested in context.

My Principal Friend in Ontario

A mother, a wife, a special education teacher who later became a primary principal in the Catholic school system made a good background for this woman of faith and high moral character, but did not prepare her for the battle she had to wage with one dark skinned parent over claims of racial discrimination and her own health.

The mother of the child made life at the school a living hell for the teacher of the child, with daily unnanounced interruptions to the classroom, until the principal stepped in. After salvos from the parent in language one would hope not to hear from a parent in a Catholic school setting, the Superintendent, with ears burning, required the principal to get an order of trespass to keep the mother off school property. This did not keep her from burning up the phone and fax lines. Contextually, we would say that this woman is overbearing, and controlling, if we were kind. If not, we would say she was nuts.

So, the woman's son stole money off the principal's desk when she was out of her office on one occasion, to which he alone confessed in writing, even though there was another white boy in the room at the time. The principal spoke to both children, accepted their stories and punished the black child with one day of detention in her office with work to be supplied by the home room teacher.

The mother wanted the school also to have a nebulizer for asthma in the school for the boy, to which request the principal provided her with the appropriate forms for signature by a medical practitioner. This would allow the school to meet their standards for administrative and insurance purposes. The mother never complied with this request.

Finally, to top it off, the mother claimed that the principal was allowing the son to be bullied. In context, the boy was part of a group of 4 boys, the white boy from the principal's office, 2 filipino boys, and himself, who as the principal says all gave as good as they got, and tested each other's boundaries from time to time. 10 year old testosterone. My comment - Big Deal.

The mother called the failure to allow the nebulizer on site, failure to punish the white child who had not stolen the money from the principal's desk, and the school yard non bullying all examples of racial discrimination, and the Ontario HRC took on her case. She is going to win this, and the reality of it is she will win because the Ontario HRC does not understand CONTEXT. That and the fact that they do not understand the school system, and the professionalism of those in positions of authority, and are meddling where they have no expertise.

But that's context for you. The Ontario HRC was not interested in context.

Ezra Levant and Western Standard

The Muslim cartoons were a news item. Ezra Levant chose to publish them in the midst of a news story to say this is what the kafuffle is all about, folks. Some Imam got his knickers in a twist, and filed a complaint with the Alberta HRC.

Of course, as anyone reading this blog would know unless you are too busy with your own "Shakedown" to lift your head up, Ezra did not take this lying down. He even wrote a book about it, though the title escapes me at the moment.

With Ezra and the HRCs, it has gotten personal. He has his own personal litigation team at the Canadian HRC, I understand, slobbering over themselves to get at him. But, even if he were alone, he would have them out numbered. He is one determined guy, and my money is on him in the end. Support him. Buy his book. Put your money on him too. Read his blog.

In this particular case (or should I say now ream of cases) context has been lost, but the exception proves the rule as well.

I could go on, but it would get to be more of the same, and too much of a muchness, I fear.

I am reminded of an old saying I heard in years gone by that seems applicable to our HRCs as they now operate. "If the only tool in your toolbox is a hammer, then the whole world is a nail."

There is good in the intention of our HRCs, for which I laud them. There is a weakness in execution that is putting Human Rights for us all at risk, and making the claim of Jennifer Lynch that Human Rights is a matrix, a false claim. It has become a floating hierarchy in its operation, though context might help bring it back to being a matrix, methinks.

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