October 11, 2012
The name – human rights legislation – brings thoughts that a legislation of this sort must provide the maximum protection for individuals from human rights atrocities. However, in Canada and the USA, this is not the case. Many people don’t realize that there is a fundamental difference between human rights legislation and other forms of freedom documents. Typical freedom charters/bills of rights limit the amount of control government can have on its citizens. Human rights legislation does the opposite; it takes power from individuals and gives it to the government.
Bills of rights or Charters of Rights and Freedom provide protection for citizens from the government so that we are protected from encroachments on certain rights by the government. They, in effect, take power away from the government and give it to individuals. In addition, these types of freedom documents have nothing to do with interactions between individuals or interactions within family life.
Human rights legislation is radically different because it does the exact opposite; it takes power away from individuals and gives it to the government. The way it does that is by regulating how individuals in the public sphere interact with each other. i.e. who a business can hire, who you can rent your building to, etc. These are private interactions that are being regulated by the government. This legislation is not giving individuals more power, it is giving the government more power to regulate private interactions. That’s the first problem with human rights legislation...whether the legislation is good or bad, it gives more power to the government to regulate private lives.
A second problem with human rights legislations is that they have been used to attack Christians. In the written words, human rights legislation protects freedom of religion, but in practice, Christian’s complaints are rarely heard or acted upon by the bureaucrats who oversee the tribunals. Conversely, attacks from other faith positions against Christians are often taken to the full length. For example, individuals who have problems with teachings from the Bible have made human rights claims which have been acted upon to the fullest extent possible.
Human rights tribunals, not courts of law, are responsible for the procedures and rulings made by these commissions. Due process and the basic presumptions which guide the legal system are not the foundations on which these tribunals work. Human rights tribunals are run by appointed bureaucrats who are not required to be trained in law or legal procedures. Often, rulings are made based on individual biases and opinions. When human rights legislation is incorporated into other legislation, like the Bill 2: Education Act, 2012, biased and often values based tribunal rulings take on a strong life which affect great multitudes within society. If the Alberta education act were to incorporates human rights legislation, it would affect all those associated with any school (and that, by definition in Alberta, includes home schoolers).
In June of 2012, The Canadian Federal Government voted to reduce the power the federal human rights legislation has by deleting Sections 13 and 54 of the Canadian Human Rights Act. This was done “to ensure there is no infringement on freedom of expression guaranteed by the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms”, a positive step taken to protect the freedom of Canadian Citizens. Brian Storseth, the Member of Parliament responsible for the amendment to the legislation, is working to encourage Provincial governments to make similar amendments to provincial Human Rights legislation.
For additional information, on the serious problems with Human Rights Legislation, please see the March 2011 study conducted by John Carpay and Carol Crosson, From Bad to Worse - Examining Restrictions on Speech and Procedural Fairness in Human Rights Legislation in Fourteen Canadian Jurisdictions