Human rights commissions seem to believe that Canadians have some surprising rights
By MARK STEYN
What does Maclean's have in common with a labiaplasty and blood-drinking space lizards from the star system Alpha Draconis? Well, they're all part of the wacky world of Canadian "human rights."
First things first: what is a labiaplasty? Well, it's a cosmetic procedure performed on the female genitalia for those who are dissatisfied with them. I think I speak for many sad male losers living on ever more distant memories when I say that I find it hard to imagine being dissatisfied with female genita . . .
What's that? Oh, it's the women who are dissatisfied are they? Ah, right. Well, there's the rub. The Ontario Human Rights Commission is currently weighing whether or not to become the (at last count) third "human rights" commission in Canada to prosecute Maclean's for the crime of running an excerpt from my book.
The Globe And Mail's Margaret Wente was interested to know what Canada's vast "human rights" machinery does when it isn't sticking it to privately owned magazines, so she swung by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal to check out the action. And it seems the reason they haven't yet dragged Maclean's into court is because they're tied up hearing the case of two women who claim they were denied their human right to a labiaplasty by a Toronto plastic surgeon who specializes in that particular area.
The women proved to be post-operative transsexuals who were unhappy with some of the aesthetic results of their transformation, and Dr. Stubbs declined to perform the procedure on the grounds that he usually operates on biological females and is generally up to speed on what goes where and, when it comes to transsexuals, he had no idea what he was, so to speak, getting into.
Had he done it and it had all gone horribly wrong, the plaintiffs would have sued his pants off. So, as a private practitioner, he chose to decline the business, and as a result now finds himself in Human Rights Commission hell.
As Ms. Wente pointed out, you can see what got the "human rights" commissars' juices going: here was an opportunity to lay down a lot of landmark "jurisprudence" on the issue of "transsexuals' access to medical care," and if, in the end, it destroys Dr. Stubbs and his business, hey, that's a price worth paying: the human right to a labiaplasty is too important to a free society. So the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal is solemnly deliberating on whether the party of the first part is obliged to take apart the party of the second part's parts. Dr. Stubbs is a big-shot plastic surgeon, so, like Maclean's, he can probably withstand a few years of "human rights" heat. The system is risk-free for the plaintiff: the Crown picks up the tab for the "complainant," while the "respondent" - i.e. defendant - has to pay his own legal bills no matter what the eventual verdict is.
Ted Kindos of Burlington, Ont., has already spent $20,000 of his own dough defending himself against a "human rights" complaint and estimates he'll add another six figures to that before it's all done. Mr. Kindos owns a modest restaurant, Gator Ted's Tap and Grill. So what outrageous "human right" did he breach? Well, he asked a guy smoking "medical marijuana" in the doorway of his restaurant if he wouldn't mind not doing it. Mr. Kindos felt that his customers - including young children - shouldn't have to pass through a haze of pot smoke to enter his establishment. But apparently in Canada there's a human right to light up a spliff in some other fellow's doorway. The other man's grass is always greener, and in this case the plaintiff's grass will cost Mr. Kindos an awful lot of green. He faces financial ruin, while there's no cost to the complainant.
The "human rights" racket is a disgrace. Canadians are not notably "hateful" people. To be sure, deep in the human heart lurk dark prejudices that may occasionally be furtively expressed to like-minded persons over a drink or two. But discrimination in housing and employment on the grounds of gender and race - the original justification for creating the "human rights" pseudo-courts - is all but extinct, so a self-perpetuating nomenklatura has moved on to invent new rights - like the human right to a labiaplasty or a joint on someone else's property.
You'll recall the Osgoode Hall law students who objected to my book excerpt in Maclean's demanded a five-page cover story in response, unedited, with the students determining the artwork and the cover art, along with a financial contribution to their "cause." As any self-respecting publisher would, Kenneth Whyte told them he would rather go bankrupt - much as Mr. Kindos seems likely to. The Osgoode students have since explained that they went to the "human rights" enforcers because they were only trying to "start a debate," and mean old Maclean's was preventing their voices from being heard. They have repeated this mournful plea in lengthy editorials they've written for, at last count, the Globe And Mail, the National Post, the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun, the Ottawa Citizen, the Calgary Herald, the Montreal Gazette, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, the London Free Press, and no doubt a few other publications.
That's the reality of Canada's "Islamophobic" media: they've been given acres of op-ed real estate to yell that their voices are being silenced and all they want to do is start a debate - even though, in none of their many columns, do they actually start it.
Incidentally, although they characterize themselves as the "complainants" in these suits, they're not. In the two "human rights" complaints against Maclean's that are going forward, the complainants in British Columbia are Dr. Mohamed Elmasry, president of the Canadian Islamic Congress, and Naiyer Habib, and, in the federal case, Dr. Elmasry alone. Mohamed Elmasry is the man who announced on Canadian TV that he approved of the murder of any and all Israeli civilians over the age of 18.
One can understand why such an unlikely poster boy for the cause of "anti-hate" campaigns would prefer to hide behind his fresh-faced Osgoode sock puppets. But the fact that every major newspaper in Canada has opened its pages to turgid recitations of imagined victimhood by three students who have no standing in these cases tells you everything about how "excluded" and "marginalized" they are. That's the "racist" Canadian media of 2008: all you have to do is claim to represent some community with a grievance and, even though there's no evidence you represent anything other than your own peculiar obsessions and you have nothing substantive to say, nine out of 10 editors will open their pages to you - no matter what your interminable victimological prose does to their circulation.
Sarcastic review of "The Dispensational Conspiracy"
In "The Dispensational Conspiracy", a Church of England clergyman attacks Christians who accept what the Bible says about Israel being beloved of God. The theology and Biblical knowledge is so weak that it merits only the sort of review that we read below:
In this rollicking roller coaster of a rapturous read Sizer reveals and dissects the ancient conspiracy that menaces the whole world. By employing the text-analytical technique of legendary linguist and orthodox rabbi Noam Chomsky, he forces the Old Testament to give up the goods and it is quite unlike the stuff we've been brainwashed with!
Basically there is an ancient cult that has always aspired to world domination. It is called Dispensationalism from its stated aims to "dispense" with the world's rich variety of cultures. Sizer convincingly demonstrates the modus operandi of the cult in the past and how dangerously close it has come to achieving its goals in our day.
His exegesis of the books of Ruth, Kings & Chronicles makes for chilling reading. How liberating it is to learn that King David was tall and muscular, whilst poor Goliath was a nerdish weakling. Under David, Israelite imperialism and colonialism had reached its apogee. The oppressed Philistines rose up in a desperate attempt at national survival.
Meanwhile, the ruthless businesswoman known as Ruth the Moabitess was head of a weapons research, design and manufacturing facility called Armageddon. The word is a corruption of an ancient Semitic acronym for Effective Weapons of Mass Destruction. She gave David the short range missile with which he murdered poor Goliath. Her spiritual spawn is active today, arming Israel against the helpless Arabs and Iranians.
Sizer's scholarship is impressive as he carefully puts together the pieces of the puzzle from a wide array of eye-opening sources like Future Israel by Barry Horner and The Irrevocable Calling by Dan Juster. Other brave scholars that are exposing the peril we face include Colin Chapman, Gary Burge and O Palmer Robertson, all pious men of orthodoxy.
According to Sizer, the only way of stopping the forces of darkness and saving the world is through Sooper Dooper Cessionism, also known as Fulfillment Theology. The true hero is His Holiness Father Naim Ateek, the self-negating evangelist who at great personal risk travels the land of the infidel, preaching the gospel in places like Sudan and Saudi Arabia.
It is time for people to wake up! The invincible Israeli Wehrmacht is poised for a blitzkrieg that will stop only at the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific. All the gentile cultures and religions of peace of the Eurasian landmass face extinction! Imagine the mortal blow that will deliver to multiculturalism and how poor the future will be without the great and noble elites of the Old World.
Folks, Jimmy Carter has tried to warn you and you ignored him, Wart & Smearsheimer have raised the alarm, and you closed your ears. Verily you are a stiff-necked people. Will you heed the urgent warning of Sizer? I shall not abandon hope, especially since the book's blend of profound spirituality and nail-biting tension guarantees a Da Vinci Code popularity.
Heed ye the words of Lord Omar from The Epistle to the Paranoids in the Principia Discordia, lest ye be caught unawares:
"3. All Chaos was once yer kingdom; verily, held ye dominion over the entire Pentaverse, but today ye was sore afraid in dark corners, nooks, and sink holes.
4. O how the darknesses do crowd up, one against the other, in ye hearts! What fear ye more that what ye have wroughten?"
(From the Codex Moabiticus manuscript).
The Five Dumbest Product Bans
Even as the array of consumer products available to the average American expands each day, a bewildering variety of government regulations serve to limit consumer choice. From the aircraft on which Americans fly to the food they buy in the grocery store, government regulation limits product choice at every turn.
There are different types of product bans. Some limits on product choice-bans on child pornography and personal possession of atomic weapons-have widespread popular support and appear wise by any standard. A great many more product bans are likely to remain subject to ongoing debate. For example, there are strong arguments for allowing the sale of meat that has not been government inspected and drugs not yet approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Even if the costs of these regulations exceeds their benefits-and they well may-many still bring some benefits to society. But there is another type of ban-the kind that limits consumer choice but have no social benefit.
This paper focuses on five clearly absurd product bans that seem to serve no social good. While the selection obviously involves some degree of subjective judgment-no means exist to review every product ban in existence-the bans selected meet four criteria:
* No one can present a strong case for marginal social harm from the product or service banned. This does not necessarily mean that the product is harmless by all accounts, simply that the act of banning it without banning a much broader category of products has no social utility. For example, banning all alcohol would have some positive social effects-outweighed by the negative ones. Banning sangria simply restricts the availability of a type of beverage without doing anything to restrict the sale of alcohol or the negative consequences of drunk driving and alcoholism.
* The product should have utility to the general public. In other words, it should be something that almost anybody might have a theoretical interest in using. Some pig farmers complain of limitations placed on the drugs they can use on livestock, but these limitations have little relevance for those who do not raise pigs, so would not qualify.
* A government must have actually enforced the ban within the recent past. Many amusingly archaic laws remain on the books that are not enforced and are today a source of public amusement. Arizona, for example, bans the sale of imitation illegal drugs but no record exists of an attempt to enforce this law.
* The ban should, at least, exist at the state level. This paper does not deal with local laws, which allow for easier exit from their reach.
By necessities of space and brevity, many delightfully absurd product bans remain unexplored here. The five bans selected are:
Sangria (Virginia) . The Commonwealth of Virginia bans most preparations of the popular fortified wine drink (typically red wine with brandy and fruit) even though the state not only allows drinking of substances with the same alcoholic composition as Sangria and actually operates stores that sell all of the alcoholic ingredients needed to make Sangria.
Playing Online Poker in a Legal Casino (U. S.). Although 48 states have legal gambling in some form (and several run casinos), the federal government has made it illegal to place bets online-even in jurisdictions that allow almost all other types of gambling.
The Cardio-Pump (U. S.). No one has ever contended that anybody could do harm using this American-designed device intended to help resuscitate heart attack victims, which may actually help save lives. Although it has found wide use in other countries, the Food and Drug Administration bans its use in the United States.
Wildflower Bouquets (Louisiana). Louisiana's unique-in-the nation florist licensing statute makes it illegal for anybody to arrange two or more types of flowers without passing a largely subjective state licensing exam. In theory, a child could face a fine for picking a bouquet of flowers and selling it at a roadside stand.
Feathers in provocative packaging (Texas, Louisiana, and Georgia). Ridiculously broad laws banning sexual toys in these states could serve to ban the sale of simple feathers if packaged with suggestions that they might be used for sexual purposes.
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Australia: Far-Left journalists trying to cover up abuses in black communities
Award-winning journalist Paul Toohey has handed back his prestigious Walkley Award to protest against a push by the journalists' union to make media representatives outline their intentions to authorities before being granted access to Aboriginal communities. The Media Entertainment and Arts Alliance, led by federal secretary Christopher Warren, last week released an additional "code of conduct" for journalists entering and reporting on Aboriginal communities. It calls for reporters to contact "police and council at the first opportunity and inform them what they intend doing in the community".
Toohey, who was named Australian Journalist of the Year in 2000 for his reporting from northern Australia and won a Walkley Award in 2002 for a magazine article on petrol sniffing in Aboriginal communities, said yesterday that the MEAA "was now actively working against media freedom in favour of what it mistakenly believes are the interests of Aborigines". "It shows, surprisingly, a profound ignorance of how journalists work. And of how Aboriginal communities work," said Toohey, The Australian's chief Darwin correspondent. "Would the MEAA suggest to correspondents in China that they should first consult authorities before seeking out Tibetan dissidents? What if the journalist wants to do a story about the local police, or corruption in the local council? Since when does the independent media announce its intentions to the state?"
Central Australian Aboriginal Labor politician Alison Anderson yesterday described the MEAA's proposed "code of conduct" as a sham. Ms Anderson, who favours the removal of the permit system for Aboriginal communities because she believes it works towards shielding predators and exposes women and children to abuse, said the code was "absurd". "Communities have to be opened up like every other town. And we have to be treated like equals. Journalists don't ask police in country Victoria for permission to speak to someone in that town," Ms Anderson said.
The MEAA, which runs the Walkley Awards, developed this revised code of conduct for journalists following the Rudd Government's decision to wind back the previous government's changes to the Northern Territory Land Rights Act, which would have seen Northern Territory communities open to all comers.
The Rudd Government has reinstated the permit system so communities will remain closed. The only exception to the new rule is that government workers and journalists would not need permits.
"The Government thinks the media should be grateful for this, but anyone who takes a broader view must have genuine concerns that communities will remain secretive, steel-trap worlds," Toohey said. "Instead of taking the sensible course and replying that it would suffice for journalists to adhere to its existing 12-point code of ethics - which outlines how journalists should act with honesty, fairness, independence and show respect for the rights of others - the MEAA's response was to come up with new ways to restrict journalists going about their business."
But Mr Warren said the proposed code was meant to be "situational, and attempts to take into account the particular cultural sensitivities presented when operating on Aboriginal land". In a letter to The Australian, Mr Warren writes: "In our experience - and that of our colleagues on the ground in the Northern Territory - to consult with local authorities before entering indigenous communities is an expedient which can usually help, rather than hinder, the reporter in the performance of his or her duties."
The permit system has caused difficulties for Toohey in the past. In October 2002, he travelled to Wadeye, about 400km south of Darwin, after a young Aboriginal man had been shot dead by a policeman. Toohey was the first journalist to report on the killing and the gangs of Wadeye, and went to the community after becoming aware of a planned heavy police presence on the day of the victim's funeral.
Toohey applied for a permit to enter the community. He was unable to secure one but made the long journey anyway. Police at the community arrested and detained Toohey and fingerprinted him, and he was charged and prosecuted for infringing the laws governing access to Aboriginal land. In the Darwin courts, magistrate David Loadman found Toohey guilty but did not convict or fine him. The DPP appealed, and a conviction was recorded. Ultimately, the Territory's Court of Criminal Appeal reinstated the magistrate's ruling.
Ms Anderson opposed any restrictions on journalists' access to communities. "There has to be no scrutiny on journalists. They have to be able to drive in, do their job and get out. This is just another hindering factor which is closing the communities up to abuse and lack of transparency," she said. Toohey said last night he had sent his 2002 Walkley Award to Mr Warren's office in Sydney in protest at the MEAA's proposal.
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, GUN WATCH, SOCIALIZED MEDICINE, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS, DISSECTING LEFTISM, IMMIGRATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL and EYE ON BRITAIN. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here. For times when blogger.com is playing up, there are mirrors of this site here and here.