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Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Should conservatives file HRC complaints?

Should Christian conservatives be using Human Rights Commissions to defend their interests? First Craig Chandler and now Alberta pastor Ron Leech are threatening to file complaints with the AHRC against the Alberta PC party. Shouldn't a private organization have the right to exclude whoever they want for whatever reason they want? I think so, which is why Ed Stelmach should either promise to abolish these laws or invite Chandler and Leech back into his party as candidates.

--------------- 

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

PC ALBERTA CHRISTIAN BIAS REARS HEAD AGAIN

HUMAN RIGHTS COMPLAINT TO BE LAUNCHED AGAINST STELMACH & TORIES

**** News Conference Tomorrow at 10:30 AM ****

(Calgary) The National Chairman of Concerned Christians Canada (CCC) is crying foul over yet another Evangelical Christian being yanked by the Alberta Progressive Conservatives.  First it was Craig Chandler being yanked from Calgary Egmont and now Pastor Ron Leech from the constituency of Calgary Montrose.

"I am stunned that the Stelmach Tories continue to push people out of the PC Party and continue to disrespect the democratic choices of local constituencies.  The PC slogan for this election is 'Change that works for Albertans'.  The Party should change it's slogan to 'Change Through Purging'.  Frank Warkentin, Treasurer and Nominating Chairman of the Calgary Montrose Constituency Association made it clear that the Nominating Committee followed the rules and nominated Pastor Ron Leech". Said Jim Blake, National Chairman of Concerned Christians Canada Inc (CCC).

Jim Blake and the CCC are very concerned about the growing attacks on evangelical Christians by the PC Party.  The CCC feels the explanation by Jim Campbell, Executive Director for the Alberta Tories is yet another smoke screen for their intolerance to people who are evangelical Christians.

"The Calgary-Montrose Constituency Association did follow the nomination process, they had an approved candidate.  However, that person happened to be an evangelical Christian and Ed Stelmach is clearly intolerant to that segment of society. Craig Chandler was the first to be eliminated and now Pastor Ron Leech.  This trend is disturbing and must be challenged.  The Christophobia we are seeing in the Alberta Progressive Conservative Party is appalling and reflective of war time Germany. I am very concerned about Democracy being Denied". Concluded Blake.

Concerned Christians Canada will be filing a Human Rights Commission Complaint against Ed Stelmach and the Alberta Progressive Conservatives by Friday, 15, 2008. 

Jim Blake and Pastor Ron Leech will be holding a News Conference tomorrow:

WHAT: News Conference
WHERE: East Side City Church, 1320 Abbeydale Drive SE (Memorial & 1 block east of 68th)
WHEN: 10:30 AM

- 30 -

For more information visit www.concernedchristians.ca.

Posted by Matthew Johnston on February 6, 2008 | Permalink

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Comments

The Alberta PC party has no more obligation to include these Evangelical Christians as candidates than any Evangelical Christian church would have to include Muslims, Jews, Atheists, or Hindus as pastors; both are, as Matt said, private organizations.

The argument advanced, that they are being denied democratic or political rights is vacuous. First, Alberta is not (at least of paper) a totalitarian one-party state, if they don't like what the PC party does, they can go independent or form their own party, just like everyone else. There are no rights violations to see here. Second, in any case political/civic/democratic rights are not human rights, and ought to be no concern of any bodies which exist to protect human rights. Political rights are mere procedural rights granted by government to allow individuals to protect their pre-existent human rights.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2008-02-06 6:11:52 PM


Your argument might hold some water if the HRC were unbiased, Kalim.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-02-06 6:26:49 PM


I'm not sure that I understand what you're saying Shane, but you seem to be suggesting that the HRC has somehow wronged Craig Chandler and Ron Leech and that they are now 'owed' the ability to wrong other innocent parties.

I don't think that the HRCs have any place in a free society, their stated purposes are completely contrary to freedom of association, freedom of contract, and private property. Even if it has been other conservative Christians who have been primarliy targeted by the Commissions that doesn't put these particular individuals or the CCC in any privileged positions to abuse the rights of others through an unjust institution, but rather just strengthens the case that HRCs should be abolished outright for everyone.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2008-02-06 7:28:54 PM


If the concerned christians are feeling so violated,why don't they simply vote for someone else? They are abusing the HRC's the same as the perpetually offended islamic fellow.

Posted by: wallyj | 2008-02-06 7:42:21 PM


No, Kalim, I'm not saying the Conservative claims should be frivolous. On the contrary, they should have ironclad merit. If the HRC then dismisses them, it is simply one more nail in their coffin. There are so many Leftist abuses in Canada today that a worthy case is just one copy of the Sun, the Province, the Post, the Citizen, or the Star away.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2008-02-06 8:34:33 PM


Since the party is private and has the right to deny membership (and it does) the right procedure would have been to deny these gentlemen the priviledge of running in the constituency in the first place. Allowing them to run and then denying them their win was wrong in the first place.

Posted by: DML | 2008-02-06 9:02:24 PM


Merit according to what criteria? The HRC's? They don't seem to have very high standards (and they've got a lefty bias). I don't see them upholding any sort of consistent moral view.

By entrusting the HRC to accept or dismiss the case, you're also trusting the HRC to make the right decision.

But enough of this high-minded talk, let's speak to the specifics of this case. Is it frivolous?

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2008-02-06 9:08:08 PM


DML,

It very well may have been wrong, they may have acted improperly as a party. But should the state be enforcing party behaviour or should they be accountable to their members and to voters? That's the question at issue here.

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2008-02-06 9:10:50 PM


Point taken Kalim. Now they have to consider how many conservative voters they have alienated and how many of them will opt to transfer their vote to the Wildrose-Alliance.

Posted by: DML | 2008-02-06 9:26:24 PM


I must agree with Kalim on this, especially the point that these kangaroo tribunals have no place whatsoever in a free society. This does not imply that these two have no valid grievance nor would I say their grievance is frivolous. However the state should stay out of it.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-02-06 9:26:48 PM


...the HRC thing is a joke, but hey, why not the christians joke? Maybe once a few more ridiculous complaints are filed, then somebody will realize what a ridiculous waste of time these HRC's really are.

Posted by: Markalta | 2008-02-06 9:27:28 PM


Perhaps conservatives should learn to read statutes.
The Alberta human rights statute prohibits discrimination in the provision of goods, services, accomodations, etc. that are "customarily aviable to the public", in employment and the provision of rental housing. A complaint that a political party has refused to endorse your nomination because it doesn't want you representing it doesn't appear to fall into any of those categories.
Like Ezra's little temper tantrum, this appears to be a case of conservatives using the HRC to get themselves a little press.

Posted by: truewest | 2008-02-06 9:49:18 PM


Perhaps conservatives should learn to read statutes.
The Alberta human rights statute prohibits discrimination in the provision of goods, services, accomodations, etc. that are "customarily aviable to the public", in employment and the provision of rental housing. A complaint that a political party has refused to endorse your nomination because it doesn't want you representing it doesn't appear to fall into any of those categories.
Like Ezra's little temper tantrum, this appears to be a case of conservatives using the HRC to get themselves a little press.

Posted by: truewest | 2008-02-06 9:49:26 PM


If these people have a legitimate complaint they should take it to the Civil Court and then if not satisfied the Court of the Queen's Bench not the AHRC.

Legitimizing the AHRC by Conservative usage is unprincipled.

Posted by: Speller | 2008-02-06 9:56:02 PM


These people should know better than to get the state involved. Raise a public outcry, threaten to leave the party, threaten to form a new party, threaten to join the Wildrose Alliance party. Take your case to the court of public opinion, but don't wallow in that sewer.

Posted by: P.M. Jaworski | 2008-02-06 10:25:36 PM


While I agree that the HRCs are a sham and an offense to a free society, they are unfortunately in effect for the here and now. I agree that they need to be abolished since they are simply a tool to shut down politically incorrect free speech, and to strip citizens of Charter protected freedoms. The question needs to be asked, and a case must be made for just how biased they really are, and how dangerous their powers are.

By lodging a complaint, which will likely be thrown out right away, not because the case is frivolous but because the case is regarding offenses against Christians rather than say muslims, or perhaps homosexuals, we will either receive equal treatment by this kangaroo court or we will prove all the more how much these tribunals need to be stripped of their power.

As for the proper context for the HRCs, they have already overstepped, 'goods, services, accommodations, etc. that are "customarily available to the public", in employment and the provision of rental housing.' HRCs on more than one occasion have clearly stated that they perceive their role to include that of censorship.

CCC and Rev. Stephen Boissoin were found guilty by the AHRC for matters that had nothing to do with the initial mandate of the government body. The AHRC ruled against the defendants on the basis of circumstantial evidence, in matters relating directly to free speech and freedom of religion.

The HRCs have been given sweeping powers to use the full force of the government's legal department and its finances to crush citizens and/or organizations whose views do not align with the consensus view, even if it means denying them their Charter freedoms.

The process: A complainant submits a complaint and the defendant must spend their time and money to defend against the power and finances of the government to prove their innocence, unlike the regular legal system which considers a person innocent until proved guilty, HRCs consider a person guilty until proved innocent, given that their bias doesn't cause the case to be thrown out right away.

With respect to merit, in the case of Craig Chandler he spent over $100,000, and countless hours campaigning, to be democratically elected by 60% of constituents, without being told in advance he would not be accepted if he won his candidacy bid. At the very least the party needs to pay Craig Chandler back and apologize. A HRC remedies decision can call for this action.

Besides the time and expense involved in the matter, the motives for, and methods of, ejecting Craig Chandler are what are truly at question. When the PC Party grilled Mr. Chandler for two and a half hours at the candidacy review meeting before the board and the Premier himself, over two thirds of the time he was asked questions about his personal life including his faith and was specifically asked if his belief in Jesus Christ would negatively effect his ability to serve as an elected official.

Can you imagine if a muslim was asked the same thing about Mohammad or a homosexual about their lifestyle? Wow, what a media frenzy that would be.

The legal system is not supposed to be partisan nor is it supposed to be biased (but then neither is the media). If HRCs will continue to exist they must protect the rights of conservatives and liberals alike or be exposed openly and loudly for the supreme weapons of leftist warfare they truly are.

As long as liberals are using the HRCs to condemn free speech we must file suits to counter their action, to either cause them to think twice about using the HRCs in this fashion or to expose the hypocrisy of the HRCs.

Posted by: Jim Blake | 2008-02-06 11:05:31 PM


The HRCs will become stronger and gain legitimacy through common usage just as all legal tradition has in Canada and Briton.

Conservatives should go before the civil courts not the HRCs.

"expose the hypocrisy of the HRCs"

Who is going to expose the hypocrisy of the HRCs, Jim, the Leftist MSM?

You do know the HRC can take as long as 5 years to make a ruling don't you?

Posted by: Speller | 2008-02-06 11:33:13 PM


I find the follow comment typical

"These people should know better than to get the state involved. Raise a public outcry, threaten to leave the party, threaten to form a new party, threaten to join the Wildrose Alliance party"

From what I hear if your name get's dragged through the mud, the Wildrose Alliance Party will ignore you as well. At least under Paul Hinman's rule.

The WAP is a joke under Paul Hinman and I will never support them under his leadership (or lack of)

I just wish Craig Chandler started his own party that brought together Social Conservatives and Fiscal ones, a true conservative party. Then and only then will there be a leader who does not worry about what the media says, but what the people do.

Posted by: Kevin Morgan | 2008-02-06 11:40:26 PM


In case you didn't notice they are being used all the time already, to silence opposition.

The more that people know what the HRCs are really like the better. HRCs have been around for quite a while now and will not go away on their own. We must use whatever means possible to protect our "guaranteed" Charter freedoms.

Posted by: Jim Blake | 2008-02-06 11:57:05 PM


It remains a fact that the HRCs are out there. They were started/grew in power in the '70s/'80s with the powerful backing of one particular lobby group. A second powerful lobby group has moved in during the last decade, and now a third one that has been basically silent for decades is probably questioning why they are/have been doing so and basically coming up on the short end of the stick.
No doubt the Boissoin decision has moved this ahead considerably along with the current publicity re the Levant/Steyn/MacLeans/Warman issues.

Rightly or wrongly - the HRCs are there, cost nothing to file/pursue a complaint, and have increasingly moved away from their original mandates - so the feeling probably becomes o.k., why not go for it. What should/could/ought to be does not count - it is about what is legal and supported in law. No government seems willing to take on any kind of change(s) to HRCs any time soon so the incremental move away from their mandate is likely to continue and outer limits will continue to be pushed.

If the PCs are free to quash candidates that have been duly elected - then, for example, businesses should be free to serve whom they choose to serve. HRCs have ruled in the past that no - this is not so. A number of pernicious HRC decisions have eventually been upheld by the Supreme Court so here we sit.

The only way to put an end to this is to bring forth legislation to either dismantle the HRCs completely or at least remove the sections dealing with freedom of speech/draconian investigative powers.

As regards the PC decisions/actions/non-actions. It highlights the lack of management/control that exists within the PC Party/PC organization and will be judged accordingly by public opinion - as it should be. This lack runs very deep within the PC Umbrella. A 36 year rule and trying to "expand the tent" beyond functionality is at the root of what the upcoming election is all about.

G. Keith Laurie

Posted by: calgary clipper | 2008-02-07 6:17:16 AM


The HRC have already discredited themselves by virtue of the record of convictions and unsavory methods of functioning.


Political party's have the right to choose their candidates.

Concerned Christians Canada should shut up and start its own political party.


End of story!

And the HRC should be dismantled as a bad endeavor and confined to the dust bin of Canadian history!

Posted by: Joe Molnar | 2008-02-07 7:01:48 AM


Right you are, Joe Molnar and Jim Blake! Mr. Stelmack's P.C. Party has allowed the HRC to maintain it's 'standards' in Alberta - that puts the P.C.'s on the same side re: freedom of the Press and Freedom of Speech. You fight fire with fire when you have a prairie fire.

To quote an old saying: sauce that is good for the goose is also good for the gander! Suing the PC's for their double standard is the proper thing to do.

Posted by: jema54j | 2008-02-07 4:21:29 PM


To Joe Molnar:

Just wanted to let you know that the party approach has already been tried, but Christophobia is so rampant that Ron Gray, the leader of the Christian Heritage Party, has been brought before the HRCs trying to suppress his Charter protected freedoms.

For more information please see:

http://www.chp.ca/en/case.html

So, while it seems that you are a true patriot for Canada, it also seems that your opinion is uninformed in this case. We must fight while we still have the rights to do so.

Whether Christian or not, every Canadian, that does not want to loose their freedoms, needs to stand against the tyranny that our governments and their bull dog agencies are inflicting on our citizens. It will only get worse if people will not rise up and speak out for their rights.

Joe, I visited your website and noticed the stop the HRC logo. Good for you. Let's get the HRCs out. In the mean time, we must use them to counter the attacks that are coming fast and furious against evangelical Christians.

Posted by: Jim Blake | 2008-02-07 5:54:53 PM


Am I wasting my time in Canada or what? I emigrated from Scotland in 1994 only to find that I couldn't be a police officer, a paramendic or a fightfighter because I was white and heterosexual. I couldn't work for the government either for the same reason. I cannot express my thoughts on the moral and spiritual decline of the country for fear of being dragged into a so-called human rights tribunal by someone who is "offended" by free speech, and the word "Christian" is treated like an obscenity. It looks like I'll be spending my remaining productive years and retirement in the USA. Alberta, the last stand for those who cherish true democracy and freedom in Canada has now become a rudderless ship under anti-Christian Stelmach corporation.

Posted by: William J. Gibbons | 2008-07-09 12:41:54 PM



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