Western Standard

The Shotgun Blog

« Libertarian Bob Barr opposes US domestic troop deployment, warns of "culture of militarism" | Main | Pope Benedict XVI: Classical liberalism is the heart of Europe »

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Paging the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal

Losers in municipal elections may have a remedy if Dr. Lakhbir Singh gets his way. Dr. Singh, who ran for the centre-right NPA slate for a school board seat in Vancouver, and lost, has filed a complaint with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal.

The Georgia Straight reports that Dr. Singh plans to challenge the city's at-large electoral system on the grounds that it is racist. He was "one of six candidates of South Asian descent who came last on their respective slates", and believes that a system of wards would level the playing field by allowing candidates to concentrate on their neighborhoods.

Reporter Charlie Smith paraphrases Dr. Singh as saying that "results in recent Vancouver elections demonstate that people with South Asian names cannot get elected on a citywide basis because there are too many citizens who won't vote for them. He said this amounts to discrimination."

Oh? This appears not to have been a problem for the candidates running for the two left leaning slates, such as George Chow, Raymond Louie and Kerry Jang who were elected to city council. Not to mention Raj Hundal who was elected to parks board. I'd love to see Dr. Singh try to make this argument when Allan Wong and Alvin Singh (both of COPE) defeated him in his bid for a school board seat.

The simple answer is that it wasn't the right's year in this election. I doubt that even the Dalai Lama could have been elected as dogcatcher running for the NPA.

I'm not a fan of wards. I am definitely not a fan of the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal getting their mitts onto Vancouver's electoral system.

Posted by Rick Hiebert on December 4, 2008 in Municipal Politics | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Paging the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal:


Just another situation that demonstrates the HRC/Ts are getting into areas that were never intended and have to be reined in.

Imo, the BC HRT should not accept such a filing.

Posted by: Calgary Clippper | 2008-12-05 5:18:26 AM

The Non-Partisn Association (aka the "We're Not A Party Party") has been at the centre of some bizarre human rights rumblings lately. Before the election, Jamie Hamilton, a transexual sex-trade worker and general gadabout, threated to file one agains the NPA because it wouldn't endorse her as a candidate. Now this.
And CC is correct - this should be punted (as should the Hamilton complaint, if it ever came to pass). The HR system governs, at least primarily, discrimination in the provision of services to the public. It's hard to see how either complaint fits within that category. And it's certainly hard to see how the tribunal has any role in the long-running policy debate over how Vancouver voters should elect their municipal representatives.

Posted by: truewest | 2008-12-05 8:23:20 AM

The comments to this entry are closed.