Friday, February 12, 2010

No Dispute Too Small for the "Human Rights" Commissars to Butt Into

Lorne Gunter makes a crucial point about "human rights" commissions--that because they can poke around in and "settle" the most picayune of personal disputes, they have the power (a totally totalitarian power) to "micromanage" our lives. Gunter cites the case of an immensely fat chick who got the Quebec "human rights" outfit to micromanage a fight she was having with fellow condo residents:
...Marise Myrand weighs nearly 400 pounds. She has diabetes and heart and respiratory conditions. She needs oxygen to breathe and rides a handicap scooter.
In the summer of 2005, she asked her condo association to give her a parking space closer to the building's door. The association's board, quite sensibly, said it wasn't their job to take stalls from one owner and give them to another, but Ms. Myrand was welcome to ask the woman who had the spot to switch.
Jocelyne Nolet turned Ms. Myrand down. Ms. Nolet, who is herself in her 60s and suffers from an injured shoulder, said she needed to be close to the door, too, since she is a shift cook who often comes home late and cannot carry more than a few kilos because of her bad shoulder.

I would hope that were I in a similar position, even if I had a bad shoulder, I would have said to Ms. Myrand, "sure, you take the stall; I'll walk a few extra metres." It would be the neighbourly thing to do.

But the stall is Ms. Nolet's to give up or not. It is not the condo association's to rearrange willy-nilly. And it is certainly not the business of the Quebec government.
Still, on Wednesday, the Quebec Human Rights Commission (Are there any three words more paradoxically creepy these days then "human rights commission?") ruled that the Ste.-Marie-de-Beauce condo association must order Ms. Nolet to give her parking space to Ms. Myrand as of March 1. On top of that, all 35 of Ms. Myrand's co-owners must contribute to a $10,000 award to compensate her for their failure to accommodate her handicap.

The Quebec tribunal claims Ms. Myrand was discriminated against because her neighbours used "insulting and degrading language" toward her and "violated the inclusive values promoted by our society." The condo association is also alleged at one point to have suggested Ms. Myrand might be using her obesity for personal benefit.

Oh my God, call in the Dignity Squad, ready the Diversity Brigade, gear up the Re-education Detention Facility...
Shame on the condo residents for being so mean. Good thing the QHRC descended like a Deus Ex Machina from the "human rights" heavens to restore earthly equilibrium. Gunter concludes:
It's largely (though not entirely) immaterial whether Ms. Myrand's condition is medically caused or self-inflicted. The main point here is that this is a dispute over parking among 36 people in a housing development. If a government believes it has the authority to interfere and choose sides, then there is no dispute too trifling to escape the state's reach.
Like I said, totally totalitarian.

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