Should we even have a Human Rights Tribunal?
The recent human rights litigation by transgender woman Jessica Yaniv has sparked outrage across British Columbia, Canada, and even internationally.
Quite rightly, moderate people of every political leaning find it distasteful that a law and a tribunal could be used to force a woman to do a very intimate act.
Although most people find the scenario outrageous, it is most often right-leaning folks who will use this predatory litigation as an argument that the human rights tribunal should be abolished.
They often argue that it is unjust to create rights that force people to do things for other people, that discrimination will be dealt with by the free market, or that constitutional rights are sufficient to have a fair and free society.
I would argue that the BC Human Rights Tribunal has an important mandate that can lead to a net gain for society. Although I disagree with the conclusion that the tribunal should be abolished, the people who advocate for that position have valid critiques that can be used to improve the Tribunal.
I will attempt to layout those critiques in order to make a path to getting the BC Human Rights Tribunal back on track.
What the BC Human Rights Code does
The BC Human Rights Code protects individuals on the basis of several unchangeable characteristics from discrimination by other individuals. The protection from discrimination is limited to several different areas of life, which include:
- Purchase of property
- Provision of services
Human rights are different than constitutional rights. Constitutional rights apply only to the government, meaning that other individuals are not bound to protect your freedom of speech.
Furthermore, constitutional rights generally just restrict the government from doing something (like establishing an official religion, or limiting your speech), rather than forcing the government to take positive action.
We call this a negative right. Constitutional rights exist in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms, which is part of the constitution.
Human rights codes are fundamentally different. First, they are not part of the constitution. They are just a regular provincial law passed by the majority of your provincial representatives. Furthermore, they don’t create rights that people enforce against the government, but rather rights that individuals enforce against each other.
Lastly, human rights aren’t just negative rights. They create positive obligations that may require an individual to take a specific action. We call these positive rights.
For example, under the BC Human Rights Code, tenants have a right to be free from discrimination on the basis of their ethnicity when seeking a room to rent. Therefore, a landlord may have a positive obligation to rent a room to a tenant to whom they might otherwise not want to rent their property.
The conservative argument on human rights
Many conservatives would suggest that a person’s rights should focus on constitutional rights. This is because they take issue with how human rights create rights against other individuals, instead of the government, and because they create positive rights against those individuals.
The issue with rights against individuals, as opposed to rights against the government, is that they are a greater invasion of freedom than a negative right.
If another person enforces their right against the government, it typically will not affect my desire to live my life as I choose. It is only the government that is restrained from doing something.
Positive rights similarly have a much larger effect on freedom, particularly when you assert a positive right against another individual. A negative right merely restrains another person from doing a certain thing.
That individual will generally still have a plethora of actions to choose from. On the other hand, positive rights are more invasive because the hand of government forces a person to do something they may not want to do.
Such a situation is highly invasive and antithetical to liberal societies, which generally believe that the government should allow individuals to live their lives as they see fit to the greatest extent possible.
Therefore, for liberty’s sake conservatives often believe that someone should be able to choose how they act, even if their choices are unfairly discriminatory.
Doing otherwise is highly invasive of individual freedom. Conservatives also see discrimination as solvable discrimination. They might say that the person choosing to rent should simply seek another place to rent and that a non-discriminatory landlord will then have the benefit of more demand for their suite.
In short, the argument is that the free market will sort out unjust discrimination because it’s inefficient to be discriminatory.
Balancing significant effects of discrimination with the importance of freedom
One weakness of this argument is that it can unfairly saddle individuals with the burden of unjust discrimination while the free market sorts itself out.
This can be particularly harmful when considering the provision of essential services like employment and tenancy. A person unfortunate enough to live in a certain area or time where their identity group is being widely discriminated against could suffer life-altering consequences as a result of discrimination in which the government does not intervene. In situations like this, it is little comfort to know that the free market will eventually sort itself out.
For this reason, I see a legitimate role for a human rights code that intervenes in cases of discrimination that would have significant adverse effects on the individuals who suffer that discrimination.
This would certainly be the case for essential things such as employment and tenancy. In my opinion, the significant adverse effect avoided for these individuals outweighs the infringement of individual freedom that occurs when we force individuals to provide these services against their will.
However, if we choose to make this sacrifice, it must be done so carefully, understanding the significance of the individual freedom that we are infringing.
The solution: restricting the scope of human rights protections to essential services
I would argue that not all types of discrimination will have an equally significant effect, and so should be treated differently. Some, such as discrimination through speech or the provision of general services, will have a much lesser effect than denying someone tenancy or employment based on a protected characteristic.
For example, Yaniv is free to seek waxing services at any other service provider. The refusal of one person to provide an inessential service like waxing will have no practical effect on Yaniv’s life.
Hurt feelings due to discrimination should not be sufficient to invade a person’s liberty and coerce them into doing something they do not want to do.
Therefore, keeping in mind the significance of curtailing individual rights and forcing individuals to take actions they do not want to take, I would suggest restricting human rights protection to the areas of discrimination that would have a significant effect on the discriminated person.
The two most obvious categories are tenancy and employment, because
This is not to minimize the effect that such discrimination has on the discriminated person. Being turned away from a store or service is not a trifling matter. But it recognizes that the insult to that person is not the only factor at play. The fundamental importance of allowing individuals to act as they wish must only be degraded with the greatest of caution.
Similarly, the expansion of state power to coerce the actions of individuals is something that should not be done unnecessarily. State power often increases but is very rarely rolled back.
One day, after years of steadily expanding the power of the state to force the hand of those with whom you disagree, a government will be elected to which you are fundamentally opposed. On that day, the weapon you helped develop will be swiftly turned upon you.
These concerns can and should be balanced with maintaining a fair society for those who may be discriminated against. The BC Human Rights Code has lost that balance, and that is causing British Columbians to question the existence of the Tribunal. For the sake of both our freedom and the plight of marginalized people, we must act to make our Human Rights Code better.
Monday’s march for the 2nd Amendment in Richmond, Virginia went off without a hitch. Contrary to early reports that “swarms” of “white nationalists” would be descending upon the Virginia state capitol to protest gun control laws enacted by the commonwealth’s General Assembly, most—if not all—of the gun rights activists remained orderly and self-composed.
Gun rights marchers expelled speakers who called for violence. In one instance, an antifa member “Goad Gatsby” called out a neo-Nazi named Jovi Val, who allegedly wore a swastika to the event.
Despite the peaceful protest, NBC reporters portrayed the event in negative terms, and even lied about it. MSNBC’s Chris Hayes claimed in a broadcast that the rally sent an “explicit and implicit message” of “don’t you dare enact our policies, if you do, we will use these guns against you.” If anything, the Framers would be proud of seeing Americans generations ahead of them stand up for their God-given rights to defend themselves against the tyranny of an overbearing government.
The media’s message is that standing up for your rights is a violent action in and of itself—it’s a narrative that continues to be propped up. Writing for the men’s publication, disgraced New Yorker fact-checker Talia Lavin says that “the threat of violence in Richmond,” and the few arrests of alleged neo-Nazis planning violence that were made prior to the event “sent other groups into hiding.”
A Canadian neo-Nazi is currently being prosecuted for his alleged intention to commit violence in Richmond. He recorded a video calling for “violent revolution” ahead of his failed attempt to participate in the gun rights rally.
According to Lavin’s spin, the thousands of protesters attending the rally (which includes activists from the Black Panthers movement, pro-gay rights libertarians, 2nd wave feminists, and many others who support the right to bear arms) only “grumblingly abided” Governor Ralph Northam’s state of emergency declaration. The description she uses to describe the marchers is biased, to say the least:
“But just outside the legions of police barricades, twice that number of people roamed the streets of Richmond bearing a bristling mass of rifles, from AR-15s to massive Barrett sniper rifles. Some wore skull masks; others waved Confederate flags. Members of hate groups like the League of the South and the American Guard, as well as the Proud Boys, mingled openly; some of the latter were wearing patches that said “RWDS”—an acronym for “Right-Wing Death Squad.” Conspiracy theorist Alex Jones gave a speech from a Terradyne battle tank.”
A Terradyne “battle tank”? Really?
Firstly, the Terradyne is a glorified SUV. And second, even APCs aren’t tanks. Those BearCats the police use? Yeah, those aren’t tanks either. Come on, journalists—you can’t keep confusing Remington 870s for AR-15s.
Digression aside, the mention of “skull masks,” “massive Barrett sniper rifles,” and “Confederate flags” paints a less-than-friendly picture of the march. But as video footage of the march itself exists, it’s a false depiction of a peaceful event that’s very easily dispelled. We can watch the footage too, you know.
One can see now why Lavin was forced to resign from her position as fact-checker at the New Yorker after falsely accusing an Immigration and Customs Enforcement agent of having a Nazi tattoo. The tattoo in question was a Maltese Cross, often seen in paramedic and firefighter insignias. One wonders if she will issue a correction properly describing the event from an unbiased, fact-based perspective.
Lavin then concedes, or more accurately laments, the fact that no one was shot at the event, describing it as “a frankly extraordinary turn of events given the sheer amount of weaponry, the density of the crowd, and the weapons stuffed casually into backpacks or held loosely in the crooks of pale arms.”
“Pale arms.” The subtext is clear: white people who stand up for their right to self-determination are prone to acts of violence.
There’s an old saying made popular by gun rights activists that holds true, especially following the media’s inability to reconcile the abundance of firearms with the lack of violence: an armed society is a polite society.
Diverging, or at least pretending to diverge from the mainstream view that “man with guns = bad,” Lavin opines that both “fringe-right publications” as well as the mainstream media declared the event a “peaceful protest.” Why, it seems that reality may indeed have a conservative bias. None of this matters to Lavin, of course, who argues that violence was only “narrowly averted” because some wingnuts from a neo-Nazi organization called The Base were arrested prior to the event.
This is, of course, a poor read on the event. While neo-Nazis may have in fact been planning to enact violence at the Virginia state capitol, the fact remains that the estimated 22,000 people who walked for their right to bear arms had nothing but peaceful intentions. Also worth noting is the fact that the 22,000 figure, provided by Richmond authorities, is whittled down to a mere 6,000 by Lavin in her piece. Surely giving readers the impression that more than a few thousand people care about their 2nd Amendment rights is a fact that would fly in the face of her narrative that it’s an issue only dangerous neo-Nazi skull masks care about.
The piece is full of “what ifs” and “could haves”—what if The Base members weren’t arrested? They could’ve killed thousands of people, surely. Wouldn’t that feed ratings for an entire news cycle?
“There was, it was true, an absence of immediate bloodshed,” continues Lavin. “But what abounded, in that armed and insurrectionist sea of humanity, was the promise that bloodshed might happen at any time, should the will of the mob be thwarted.”
The promise of bloodshed isn’t a promise being made by those defending the 2nd Amendment. As the events in Waco and Ruby Ridge tell us, the only real bloodshed would be caused by a government overreaching and tyrannical in its nature. The right to bear arms is what prevents such violence from being enacted unto the citizenry. Thus always to Tyrants.
Jessica Yaniv was arrested for the assault of a Canadian journalist on over the weekend. According to Keean Bexte, the journalist who was assaulted by Yaniv on camera outside of the B.C. courts on January 14, 2020, Yaniv spent time behind bars on the charge of assault. She may face up to five years for the assault.
There was widespread speculation that Yaniv was arrested over the weekend, but The Post Millennial and other outlets were unable to verify the claims at the time. Bexte, being the alleged victim in this particular case, was able to confirm the arrest Wednesday afternoon.
When reached for comment, Bexte said, “Yaniv has been ordered to cease all contact with me, both directly and indirectly. I can’t wait for the day when Yaniv is put away for the long haul. He is dangerous and unpredictable.”
Even if Yaniv is behind bars, the civil litigations brought by Bexte and Hamm against Yaniv for assault and defamation respectively can proceed. According to Bexte, Yaniv would be court-ordered to appear for the civil litigations as planned.
Yaniv was released back into the community after the arrest and will appear in court in February. She will also appear in court in February for two prohibited weapons charges.
Note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly identified the JCCF as representing Amy Eileen Hamm in litigation. Hamm is being represented by Carey Linde and lawyer Jay Cameron. The Post Millennial regrets the error.
The Philadelphia Flyers’ beloved mascot Gritty is being investigated by police after a father claimed that the big orange furry monster punched his 13-year-old son in the back.
Chris Greenwell took his son Brandon to the Wells Fargo Center for a November meet and greet photoshoot with the beloved, google-eyed mascot.
According to the Philadelphia Inquirer, Greenwell claims that “Brandon playfully patted the mascot on the head after the photo was taken. As Brandon walked away, Gritty got out of his chair, ‘took a running start,’ and ‘punched my son as hard as he could,’ Greenwell said Wednesday.”
“We took Mr. Greenwell’s allegations seriously and conducted a thorough investigation that found nothing to support this claim,” said a spokesperson for the Philidelphia Flyers.
A police spokesperson has described the alleged incident as a possible “physical assault” that occurred “during a photoshoot with 13-year-old white male and Flyers mascot Gritty. The investigation is active and on-going.”
The hashtag #FreeGritty is now trending on Twitter.
The Ontario teachers’ strikes are proving to be more acrimonious than anyone expected. Elementary teachers have now opted out of writing report cards and have already begun to engage in rotating strikes.
The Ontario government, on the other hand, have offered up to $60 per day for parents who are feeling the fiscal consequences of the strike, and rumours of back to work legislation is being floated around the corridors of Queen’s Park.
The teachers’ strikes are deeply consequential and have affected the day-to-day lives of 13 million Ontarians who live in the most populace province in Canada. Due to the vast impact this strike, and the mainstream media’s lack of balance in the coverage (often siding with the unions and tecahers), The Post Millennial has compiled a list of things you need to know about the Ontario teachers’ strikes.
1. Ontario’s teachers are among the highest paid in the country
Ontario’s teachers are among the best paid in the country. In the Greater Toronto Area, for instance, top teachers can expect to get paid up to $96,000 a year. The average salary for a teachers in Ontario is $89,300 for elementary teachers and $92,900 for high school teachers. In contrast, the average Ontarian earns $55,000 per year.
2. Ontario teachers are taking more and more sick days
A 2017 study found that teachers have been taking more and more sick days over the past five years. On average, sick days have increased by over 30 percent. In 2020, another report revealed even starker results with teachers taking 70 percent more sick days than over a decade ago.
3. Teachers get a whole lot of time off
Ontario’s teacher’s have a pretty great job. Not only do they get paid a wage that is far higher than the average Ontarian, they also get a lot of time off. Due to breaks in the school year, teachers are allowed three whole months off, on top of the aforementioned sick days.
4. Teachers’ Unions are spending big bucks to win the PR war
So far, the OSSTF has spent $336,389 on Facebook ads alone. These ads usually attack the Ford government and have been running since June. In one week alone, they spent over $40,000. They’re also waging a war of words against Ontario Education Minister Stephen Lecce through the mainstream press.
5. The Ontario government has already made concessions, but unions won’t meet in the middle
Premier Doug Ford has offered numerous concessions to the teachers’ unions from the government’s initial demands. Ford, for example, offered to meet the teachers half-way on classroom size. This, however, was not good enough for the teachers, and they walked away from the negotiation table. They’re also refusing to do report cards and help out in after school activities, despite claiming the strikes are primarily for the students, not their pay cheques.
6. Ontario’s students are flunking math tests
If you’re going to teach mathematics to a new generation of students, you should probably have to prove that you have some basic ability to do so. This hardly unreasonable request, however, created some tension with the teachers’ unions. Despite EQAO tests showing all-time lows, the unions were upset that teachers had to score at least 70 percent in a math test.
7. Ontario’s debt is astronomically high
After a decade of Liberal government, Ontario’s debt stands at over $350,000,000,000. This figure constitutes one of the highest sub-national debts in the world. Due to this, the Ford government is trying to cut back public sector salaries, which means slowing down the rate at which teachers are paid. Teachers in Ontario also have what many experts consider to be a great pension package.