Thursday, January 13, 2011

Levant v. Leven

Two Jewish lawyers--one very much anti-HRCs, and the target of a cockamamie complaint; the other very much pro-HRC, and a "human rights" Commissar--discuss the pros and cons of the Trudeapuian apparatus:
(ELLIOTT) LEVEN: One [criticism ]is that some human rights complaints are frivolous . That is certainly true. ..But, in a democratic society, there is literally no way to screen out all frivolous litigation in a way that would not also screen out some perfectly valid litigation.

I know from personal experience as a human rights commissioner that it is sometimes impossible to tell whether a complaint has any merit until at least a few key witnesses have been interviewed or a few key documents reviewed. …

The investigation may ultimately reveal that the complainant was less than fully honest and that the complaint is totally without merit. The respondent is angry and jaded about the whole human rights process, particularly if he or she has hired a lawyer and incurred some legal bills. I sympathize with the respondent, but what’s a responsible commission to do?

(EZRA) LEVANT: When someone files a nuisance suit in a civil court, they have to pay the costs of the party they harrass. Leven's…"what can we do?" is pretty obviously answered: they can pay for the abusive costs they put their victims through.

LEVEN: Also, human rights commissions are becoming extremely skilled at mediating mutually agreeable settlements, at no cost to either party. The courts do not provide free mediation for parties to civil lawsuits.
LEVANT: Leven’s] pride in their "mediation" skills is laughable. It's not mediation. It's a Shakedown. The reason HRCs convince 90% of their victims to accept a plea deal is because, after a few months in the kangaroo court process, victims realize they cannot win. Even if they're "acquitted", they will not be made whole for their wasted time and money -- unlike a real court, or even some other commissions and boards. In my case, that "expert mediation" took the form of an extortion demand: I pay the Muslim imam a few thousand dollars and give him a page in the magazine, unedited, and I could go free. Instead, I fought on principle, and spent about $100,000. A rational person would have taken the deal, and suffered the humiliation

The thing about other boards and commissions is that they are actually experts. Take Manitoba's Surface Rights Board. That's all they do: arbitrate between the person who owns land (typically a farmer) and the personal who owns the minerals underneath it (typically a mining company). That's it. And you can bet they're more expert about it than any court.

Not so HRCs. One day they're telling restaurants not to order staff to wash their hands. The next day they're telling school boards what programs to offer. The next day they're telling me how to run my magazine. They're not legal experts or technical experts. They're … political activists, who have an agenda that could never get through an election -- so they'll impose it under the counterfeit name of "human rights".
What's a "responsible human rights commission to do"? For starters, how about acknowledging the quasi-totalitarian nature of this quasi-judicial system? Of course, that would entail placing reason and common sense above the nice fat paycheck you get as a "human rights" Commissar and the dubious honour of serving as one, so perhaps it's being overly optimistic to expect any epiphanies of that sort from the likes of Commissar Leven.

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