Monday, February 7, 2011

How Do You Solve a Problem Like Quasi-Totalitarian 'Human Rights' Bodies?

The editorial in the National Post uses the occasion of the overturning of the Ontario "human rights" court's "curry in a hurry" case to call for change:

...The one-sided nature of the Ontario human-rights bureaucracy is striking. No wonder the province's tribunal has seen more than a 10-fold increase in hearings over the past three years. It's an institutionalized bonanza for anyone who carries a grudge against his or her boss or landlord. (For their part, the HRTO's staff continually complain of being overwhelmed, and cite their increased workload as evidence of pervasive bigotry in Ontario society. If the Saadi-Telfer case is any indication, the bigotry seems to be mostly imaginary.)

The basic problem is that there is no downside for complainants: The whole apparatus resembles a slot machine that requires no coin. Bringing a case costs them nothing, while it can cost defendants tens of thousands in legal bills -- or even their house.

Human rights commissions were created 40 years ago as a convenient, quasi-judicial method for urging compromise on landlord-tenant disputes and allegations of workplace discrimination. They were supposed to offer a way to find common ground between plaintiffs and defendants, so both sides could avoid costly and time-consuming trials.

Instead, they have evolved into modern-day Star Chambers. Commissioners and investigators all too often act as though they have -- or should have -- the same authority as judges. Yet given their biases and the lack of safeguards for defendants' rights, they seldom dispense true justice. It is long past time that politicians found the courage to rein them in.
Reign them in? Hah! You may as well try to "reign in" a tsunami. No, the only thing that'll work is, in the words of someone who's been hit by the "human rights" sledgehammer: FIRE. THEM. ALL.

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