Monday, February 22, 2010

Shakedown in St. Catharines

Remember the case of the women's health club owner who got in hot water with Ontario's "human rights" officials for barring a pre-op transexual from bringing her meat-and-two-veg to his table (so to speak)? Karen Selick writes in the National Post that "(w)ithin a week, two more 'transitioning' men tried to join the women's gym, even though there's a co-ed gym right next door"--which Selick describes as an obvious attempt at a "shakedown". Which put gym owner John Fulton in a bit of a quandary. Should he allow "transitionals" in the locker, and risk alienating that portion of his clientele that prefered a dickless environment, or should he fight the shakedown, and end up having to pay mucho dinero in legal bills? Sort of a lose-lose proposition, you might say. And, indeed, that's how it turned out. Fulton, writes Selick, is thousands of dollars in the hole, even though the transitional ended up dropping her complaint (and is not out of pocket by so much as a cent, since like all complainants, she gets a free ride courtesy the taxpayer), and even though Fulton is the antithesis of a bigot and has even been recognized "for community service for his long-standing support of AIDS Niagara." Can he recoup his losses? The 'roos say no, but Selick, a litigator, says not so fast:
...Fulton applied to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario for an award of costs to help pay his legal fees. He was turned down flat. The tribunal lacks the legal authority to award costs, it ruled.

True enough -- but things are not quite so simple. The tribunal lacks the authority only because it has never taken the trouble to avail itself of the power which the law grants to it of adopting rules relating to costs. The opportunity is there, under sections 17.1 and 25 of Ontario's Statutory Powers Procedures Act, but the tribunal has never bothered to set up a process for enabling it.

And indeed, why bother? The number of cases that end like Mr. Fulton's, with the accused walking away free from conviction or having to pay out a sizable amount of money, are very few indeed. Many cases settle at the mediation stage, when the nature of the shakedown process is first revealed. Targets are told, in essence, "You can settle for $25,000 now or pay $200,000 in legal fees later. Take your pick." Most pick settlement...
I don't know that's it's a question of "why bother?" I think, rather, that the tribunal's "not bothering" actually serves the shakedown process: if you know you can never recover your legal fees, you're more apt to submit to the shakedown at the outset.

6 comments:

Kai said...

I would like to propose an idea, and see if anyone else thinks it has merit.

I would like to propose a "membership" scheme to help raise some money to help cushion Mr. Fulton's loss. The membership can cost as little as 5$. It does not avail you of the privilege to use his facilities, but stands as a testimonial to your support for the rights of ALL business owners to serve whom they see fit to serve.

Who cares if the transitioning transsexual felt if she had been discriminated against. It is supposed to be the business's right to refuse service. The rush to an "equal" society has gotten out of hand, and places rights of groups of "victims" above those of the individual.

I am thinking of moving overseas somewhere to rid myself of this bizarre, kafkaesque landscape I see unfolding before me.

Jim R said...

"I am thinking of moving overseas somewhere to rid myself of this bizarre, kafkaesque landscape"

Don't waste an airfare.

There is no where to escape from Nana. Now, open up and eat your spinach....and stop spitting up.

Xanthippa said...

There should not even be such a thing as a 'Women's club' - sports or anything else.

It is a constitutional right to not be discriminated against on the basis of gender. All clubs that ban members of one sex are breaking the laws of the land - and must be prepared to face the consequences of their actions.

A person's a person - no matter how male!

Xanthippa said...

I don't know why anyone would stand up for this owner of a clearly illegal club!

It is clearly against the constitution to discriminate against a person on the basis of gender. Therefore, opening a club - sport or whatever - which bans people from joining because they happen to be one sex - or the other, or somewhere in-between - is an illegal act.

It is clearly against Canadian laws to have a place of business that only serves people of one gender!

And, laws must apply to everyone equally!

Therefore, giving any support to a person/business which is clearly operating in breech of our laws is immoral, to say the least.

This does not mean that I agree with the 'remedy sought'. Wrong solution to the problem, and all that - but, that does not mitigate the fault of the initial problem!

There are many solutions: from changing the law to give private property rights back to businesses (so people like this guy would have the right to choose his customer base, regardless of whether he chooses to discriminate based on sex, race, religion, or whatever else) to having the 'real' courts prosecute ALL people who deny access to their services to segments of the population, discriminating on 'protected grounds'....and so on.

But - there are ways to address this without breaking the law. And, this club owner has clearly broken the law....so, he ought to feel the full consequences of his actions!

Revnant Dream said...

s Ezra Levant says. The process is the Punishment.
Its why he called his book shake down only instead of the mob you have the CHRC.
Its about forcing their politics on you using the organs of government for persecution.
It helps that some in the HRC's are seedy in reputation as it is.
This is how the nuts work today. A marathon of self mutilators, bums, drug addicts, conman of a darker hue with the Islamics forcing Sharia law on none Muslims.
It has become ythe Radical lefts own Inquisition against none Marxists.
Don't forget the members of the roo court must have to have funds for travel while sprinkling their own brand of intolerance World wide.
I mean Lunch & her type, have to learn human rights from people like the Saudis or perhaps Korea. The North portion!

Grannie-Lu said...

CRAP! I'm hoping some of the previous posts are tongue-in-cheek, because as a member of the ONLY women-only gym in my tiny community (which boasts 4 other co-ed facilities), I'D QUIT if they started letting in hairy gawkers who want to share shower space.