Saturday, June 07, 2008

Canadian Human Rights

There was an extraordinary ruling from Alberta's Human Rights Commission recently, in the case of a complaint brought against a bigoted Christian preacher called Stephen Boission. The case was brought by an "anti-Christian activist" - a description that doesn't make me feel ill-disposed to the man, though his use of the HRC does - named Darren Lund. These lines are excerpted from the ruling:

In this case, there is no specific individual who can be compensated as there is no direct victim who has come forward...
Dr. Lund, although not a direct victim, did expend considerable time and energy and suffered ridicule and harassment as a result of his complaint. The Panel finds therefore that he is entitled to some compensation.
So the tribunal found that nobody was a 'direct victim' of the complained-about speech. Obviously, that should have been the end of the process even with respect to the oppressive and censorial terms of reference the HRCs operate by.

But no, the complainant was made fun of for bringing the action and that warranted compensation from the object of the complaint, rather than from those who did the mocking. The complainant spent some money bringing the complaint and, although his complaint was without merit, the object of his complaint should compensate him for this.

Such grounds for compensation grow greater the more absurd any given complaint might be. By this logic, I could make a baseless and laughable complaint against you. If someone else, unconnected to you, does laugh about it, you have to compensate me. And you have to compensate me anyway, because I spent some money bringing this absurd and laughable complaint.

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