Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Frank Klees 1, Christine Elliott 0

Today, sadly, MPP Christine Elliott gave me a reason to reconsider my support for her quest for the leadership of the Ontario PC party. Unlike her three rivals, MPP Elliott says that a proposal to scrap the Human Rights Tribunal is controversial  and could hurt the party in the next provincial election.

Freedom of expression is a core value of democracy from which all other rights naturally flow. Without that, our democratic system of government itself is at risk.

– MPP Frank Klees

She is also quoted as saying, “… there is a need to make some changes, but most people can’t afford to take discrimination cases to court.”

Hogwash! Make the justice system accessible and affordable to all; don’t circumvent it with these judicial travesties. It’s a case of garbage in, garbage out. A garbage system will deliver garbage decisions. And a bit of tinkering here and there just won’t cut it.

I’m disappointed that Ms. Elliott chose to take such a wishy-washy stand on this issue. I much prefer Frank Klees’s more substantive and principled position, as stated, in part, below:

… the abuses must stop. Section 13 needs to be repealed. Giving the Commission the right to investigate the views and opinions of the citizens of Ontario threatens the freedom of expression and is counter to the importance of that right in Canadian society. Freedom of expression is a core value of democracy from which all other rights naturally flow. Without that, our democratic system of government itself is at risk.

I agree with MPP Randy Hillier and journalist Ezra Levant that the Human Rights Commission and associated Tribunal should be scrapped altogether. But as a consolation, I’ll take Frank Klees’s proposal and Tim Hudak’s proposal to scrap just the Tribunal. As to Ms. Elliott’s position on this issue, I’m underwhelmed.

© 2009 Russell G. Campbell


  1. I don't normally give advice to Conservative supporters. I would advise you not to support complete abolition of the commission and tribunals. You may use the word, "reorganization." Don't use abolition.

    When I refer to recorganization, you do need to maintain some kind of entity where people can fight discrimination according to their financial means. Someone who is fighting for a job or maintaining one is probably not going have much money to make a case about discrimination.

    Even though I am on the opposite side of the ideological divide against Ezra Levant, I do agree with many of his points on the HRCs. They should not be the prosecution and judge at the same time.

    I would accept maintaining the HRCs if their role to become an advocate/lawyer to represent those who claim discrimiation. The HRCs can decide if the client has provided enough evidence to take the case to a Human Rights Tribunal. If an HRC needs to obtain evidence from the defending side, then it should obtain legal warrants.

    If a case makes it to a Tribunal, the judge(s) should have some kind of legal knowledge about rules of evidence. The judges should also be and appear to be impartial.

    I will agree that sections that deal with opinions or thought should be struck down unless someone advocates violence against a group or individuals representing a group.

    I don't think the human rights issue will become a major issue unless Conservative supporters make stupid remarks. Unlike the private religious/faith-based school funding issue, most people will have never dealt with a human rights commission or tribunal. Most people never will. Most people have been to school at one point in their lives.

    As I mentioned, think "re-organization", not "abolition."

  2. Then do what I'm doing, voting for Randy Hillier, he's the real deal and absolutely wants to put an end to the HRC's.

    Mike Martin

  3. i totally agree that these kangaroo courts should be shut down. i wonder though if she is trying not to scare the undecided electorate with what could only be viewed by them as a "rash" decision. after all, john tory found out that if you dont comunicate a position well, mcfly will be more than happy to do it for them. i personally like hudak though. i think he has the background that this province needs, a good conservative that is articulate and worked well in the harris years.

  4. Frank Klees doesn't support complete abolition of the Human Rights Commission, either.

    But at least he's given us a better idea of what kind of reforms he'd like to implement.