Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The Secret World of the HRCs

Not So Secret Anymore

Each of us operates in two worlds, the one where we are in the public eye, and the one in private. Typically, we are on our best behaviour when we are in the public eye, because that is where our reputation with man is made or lost. Not always, of course, and not everybody, but usually. But, in private where nobody is watching, that's something a little bit different isn't it? When nobody is watching over my shoulder, the real me steps out of the shadows, and the real me is a sinful blighter, not about to burn buildings or rape and pillage, but it is in secret where my worst thoughts and vilest plans are hatched, and fortunately it is where they generally stay. Whew!!!

But, I know God. Personally, I have a relationship with him. I know He sees me in my secret places. In other words, there are no secret places from Him. Does that keep me from thinking evil thoughts? No sirree, Bob. I may be redeemed by the Blood of the Lamb, but I am still a sinaholic, and daily I have to work to walk that path He sets before me. Some days I manage to stay on it longer, if I sleep in.

But, what happens if what you do in public is actually able to be kept a secret, at least in your own mind, and your own mind is the only mind you really care about? And what happens if the heady aroma of that power seduces you into thinking that You are your own God, you, the one in the mirror?

What would that look like? Well, until recently it looked like your local HRC. It has puzzled me these last few months why the Barbara Hall's and Jennifer Lynch's of this world, in particular these two apparently intelligent women, who are well educated, have striven to be where they are, and why they are seemingly prepared to do whatever it takes to remain there, particularly when whatever it takes is being unmasked as fictitious, to put it gently. Ezra Levant has called Ms. Lynch a damned liar in the blogosphere, and worse as well. He used some pretty cool words. Tsk, tsk, Ezra. You are a little intemperate with your words, dear fellow. Let's just say she appears to be creative with the truth. But in her defence, we have heard in HRC case testimony that the truth is not an appropriate defence, so maybe she thinks she is testifying in her own star chamber and the truth is just another option.

But things keep keep getting uglier. Just the other day, it made a bit more sense for me when I was reading about a key weapon in their arsenal, SILENCE, here at No Apologies. Neil Dykstra wrote:

Imagine the following scenario. You are accused of a petty crime of which you are innocent. Without any more than a cursory investigation, you are compelled to meet with your accuser and a mediator. There, they tell you that you can either give them five thousand dollars in a settlement, or they will haul you into court and prosecute you for the crime. Even though you would most likely be proved innocent in a court of law, you are not eligible for legal aid and would be on the hook for over twenty thousand dollars in legal fees.

Trapped, you accept their demands. As they push the settlement document forward for your signature, there is a condition on the bottom stating that you are forbidden to talk about any aspect of this agreement. Nobody would ever know about the wrongs you have suffered. It’s the cherry on the top of a sundae of injustice.

Say it ain't so, Joe. Fiction? Maybe in that it is not a real incident. However, the methods are real. As Mr. Dykstra goes on to state, every HRC in Canada has a mediation procedure like the one described here. This mediation procedure doesn't come after there has been some investigation of the complaint. In fact, the only thing that has happened to date is that the complaint has been screened to see if the HRC thinks it is within its purview to deal with it. By the way, that does not mean it is within its jurisdiction legally, just that they think that they can get away with dealing with it. If they deal with it, and you pay up and sign the little keep your yap shut clause, we'll never know, will we?

The existing Ontario HRC case of Bishop De Angelis and the "12" St. Michael's Cobourg parishioners is a case in point. To date, Jim Corcoran has only filed his complaint. The HRC has vetted it to conclude that they can deal with it, and the "12" and the Bishop have responded, mainly to say that the Ontario HRC has no jurisdiction, as well, of course that the complaint is baseless.

So now, the case comes before a mediator. As Mr. Dykstra goes on to say, that's when the fish or cut bait decisions come in. Here, the real victim, and it's not the Complainant, has to decide whether to settle, or let it go forward, whatever that means. Sort of, but I will come back to that later.

Well, whatever that means is this. If the complaint goes forward, the Complainant doesn't pay a nickel, just stands back and lets the investigators for the HRC do their thing. These investigators are not interested in using criminal investigative processes, like digging for all the evidence, or even testing the veracity of testimony from witnesses. Heresay works just fine for them, the more the better. Truth, who cares really? Truer words were never spoken. No, true words might not even get spoken.

The legal fees of the Complainant are paid for, since the lawyers are HRC lawyers. In the event that the case gets to the kangaroo court, it goes to an independent court though, the Human Rights Tribunal. Sure, they're independent. I am able to leap over tall buildings too. It's a sausage machine, folks.

But, the real victims, in the Corcoran case, Bishop De Angelis and the "12" have to hire their own lawyers, 2 sets by the way, since their interests are somewhat different, and the dollars mount up.

So, given a chance, most Respondents (Defendants really) choose to settle if they possibly can, even if they have done nothing wrong. To choose between paying $5,000 in settlement of a bogus claim, or spend 3 years fighting a losing battle where the cards are stacked against you, and the truth is not a valid defence, mainly because nobody is looking for it, listening to it, or would get it if it bit them on the nose, seems like a no brainer, particularly when you factor in the cash cost of legal fees, and the personal humiliation of being there, unless your skin is made of teflon or stainless steel.

But, then you could have the worst of all situations that my friend the school principal found herself in, where the parent who filed the bogus claim is so determined to make a noise that she refused to settle, even when encouraged by the HRC staff member, and so off you go into the sausage machine. My friend would have gladly paid off this woman just to shut her up, and to stop this hateful noise going on all around her over nothing. But the woman was under no compulsion to accept mediation.

Of course, the Corcoran case won't settle in mediation since Corcoran has asked for the sun, moon and the stars, $265,000 and a bunch of grovelling by the Bishop. He's so far off the planet, that he will have to take a space shuttle just to get to the mediation hearing.

But, when it gets down to an actual mediated settlement if you are lucky enough, there are standard forms of documents that are used as a template and this clause is (no surprise here) part of the Ontario template:
The parties agree that these Minutes of Settlement and Release are confidential as between them and will not be disclosed to any third party save as may be required by law or in order to implement the terms of settlement contained herein. It is understood by the parties that the Commission is not so bound. It is understood that the complainant may disclose the terms herein to her/his immediate family members, legal and/or financial advisers.
So, the fact that the funds extorted, are actually called special damages or general damages in the documentation, as opposed to blood money, where in all probability it has never been proven that anyone was damaged is not lost on me. I don't know about you, but this puts noxious fumes up against my BS filter.

And now I get it. I see why people I would take under normal circumstances (of which these of course are not good examples) to be probably sane people are doing what appear to be insane things, why well educated people are behaving like, well children who have been caught with their hands in the proverbial cookie jar.

"Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely". Thus said Lord Action in 1887 in a letter to Mandell Creighton when he was Editor of the English Historical Review. Rev. Creighton later became Bishop of Peterborough, and then Bishop of London England, and hopefully used these words wisely for counsel. But long before him, Lord William Pitt, British Prime Minister back in 1770, in a speech to the United Kingdom House of Lords said: "Unlimited power is apt to corrupt the minds of those who possess it."

Truer words were never spoken, and they give pause to the situation of our HRCs and the mood we find ourselves in, with barbarians at the gate, like Ezra Levant, clamoring for accountability and more ("Fire. Them. All."), and the inmates manning the bulwarks and shouting down the opposition as mere drivel from malcontents, naysayers and meanies. How dare we question their methods, intentions, and their . . . well right to do what they do.

But, as more troops join the siege, I wonder how long the battlements will stand the onslaught before something is done, before parliamentarians finally say "Enough is enough" or mount a charge of their own to secure their own power bases. Tim Hudak made reform of the Ontario HRC part of his platform to become head of the Ontario Conservative Party. That got my attention, as well as the attention of many others. What will he have to say when session re-opens in Toronto in the Fall? I hope it will be a lot.

And when Ottawa comes back into session, will anyone be on the bandwagon that Ezra Levant and others have started in motion?

How many more people will have their Human Rights trampled by the Human Rights Commissions czars and czarinas with their unlimited powers before this is all over?

And another question. Will anyone find the way to instigate class action suits on behalf of all those who have had their rights taken away by these frivolous settlements, and promises to be silent?

Oh, and one more question. Will Walker Morrow be able to figure out how to get Ontario Freedom of Information access so we can find out what the real story was on these cases that the Ontario HRC is trying to hide from us?

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