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Saturday, June 27, 2009

Hotel room human rights

There are different kinds of human rights, positive and negative;

In Canada, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms set-out the rights that the government says you have. I looked through it, and nowhere did I see anything about a right to a hotel room in Neepawa, Manitoba.

A wheelchair bound woman who lives in Winnipeg, Arlen Ursel, was going to Neepawa to visit her ailing father, about a three-hour trip. The Bay Hill Inns and Suites in Neepawa has one handicap suite, which she tried to reserve, but was already booked.

As a result of this, she made a human rights complaint against the hotel and was awarded $3,000 for "injury to her dignity and self respect".

Hotel owner Tom Sung has said the only wheelchair accessible room was occupied every time Ursel tried to book it and there had simply been a miscommunication when she called.

Ursel was forced to make the five-hour return trip to her home in Winnipeg on the same day each time she visited her dad because no other wheelchair accessible rooms were available in the Neepawa area.

May I point out that she was not forced, there was no force involved. It was her choice to go to visit Neepawa, it was her choice to return back to Winnipeg the same day.

The second largest city in Manitoba, Brandon, is about 45 minutes away from Neepawa. Could there have been a possibility of finding a room there? Or in Gladstone (20 minutes east), or in Minnedosa (20 minutes west), or in one of the other three motels in Neepawa? Was there any effort made in having the personal responsibility of taking care of one's self?

The hotel has been given an order to restore wheelchair access to the room within 60 days, and the human rights commission will monitor the situation for the next two years.

What this sort of ruling does is give less incentive to other hotels/motels to provide rooms for people with special needs; if the result of them being booked full and having a conflict is a human rights complain and fine, then they may be discouraged from providing that service.

This growing sense of entitlement in Canadian society is disturbing.

Posted by Freedom Manitoba on June 27, 2009 in Travel | Permalink

Comments

Asinine awards like these and the HRCs still can't understand why public opinion is turning against them. You're damned if you do and damned if you don't; these are just bitter old activist hacks looking to take their rage at the world out on convenient targets. And as Scott says, the consequent attitude of entitlement they fuel is chilling.

Of course, I expect TrueWest to appear at any moment and lecture us on what a wonderful job these wannabe judges are doing.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-27 9:59:46 AM


What a pile of shit!, If I owned that hotel I would immediately stop having ANY wheelchair accessible rooms, and I would make sure everyone who called asking for one would know the name of the stupid woman who caused me to do so.

Private businesses should NEVER be forced to cater to ANY particular clientelle. Private business are privately owned, not public domain. The same goes for idiotic laws that force bar owners to cater to whiney non-smokers, and fine them for alowing people to smoke on their private property.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-06-27 10:12:45 AM


We shall continue to get such cases and rulings (justice mocked) as long as we maintain a HR Act and HRCs. That is their very nature, just as their nature is to extend their powers and grow in size. The only solution is their complete abolition.

Posted by: Alain | 2009-06-27 10:28:51 AM


It's very nice that the hotel owner told the media that the room was booked whenever Ms. Ursel called. He neglected to share that information with the adjudicator hearing the complaint. Well, actually, he neglected to respond to the complaint at all, despite numerous efforts to obtain such a response, including two registered letters. For those who wonder what happens when you ignore a human rights complaint, there's the answer - if there's any merit to the complaint at all, you lose.

Would a response have made any difference? More than likely. The decision was based in large part on the uncontradicted evidence of the complainant that the hotel had told her that the room was no longer available, suggesting that it had decommissioned the handicapped room. If the owner of the hotel had demonstrated that the room was in use at the time the complainant requested it - which would be simple enough -- the complaint would have been dismissed.

Perhaps next time he posts something and sets his hair on fire, Mr. Carnegie might look to primary sources to see what actually happened. Or would that be too much like reporting?

Posted by: truewest | 2009-06-27 10:52:11 AM


I've had the displeasure of living in hotels and motels for much of my working life. There have been many occasions when I couldn't find a place to sleep. It happens all the time. No room at the Inn is something you encounter, on occasion.

It sounds like the hotel has "handicapped" rooms available. They aren't refusing to accomodate anyone, they just didn't have a vacancy. If I'd known I could sue for this, I could have had a successful career doing so.

The HRC is going to monitor the situation for 2 years? How do they go about doing this, and how much will this monitoring service cost taxpayers? Do they plan to make fake reservations to try and trick the hotel into making another human rights blunder? I believe this is an example of making a mountain out of a mole hill.

Posted by: dp | 2009-06-27 10:56:10 AM


'Forced' is badly abused and overused in this society.

Posted by: Chrystal Ocean | 2009-06-27 11:28:03 AM


"For those who wonder what happens when you ignore a human rights complaint, there's the answer - if there's any merit to the complaint at all, you lose."

Or even if there isn't. There's a term for this: "Guilty until proven innocent."

"Would a response have made any difference? More than likely. The decision was based in large part on the uncontradicted evidence of the complainant that the hotel had told her that the room was no longer available, suggesting that it had decommissioned the handicapped room."

Which they took at face value without making any great effort to independently establish the facts. "Suggested"? Please--grow up.

"If the owner of the hotel had demonstrated that the room was in use at the time the complainant requested it - which would be simple enough -- the complaint would have been dismissed."

More likely they would have ruled that he had insufficient accessible accommodations to meet demand and should have known better.

The Sun will forget to rise before TrueWest passes up an opportunity to ride to the rescue of his beloved HRCs. And remember, people, the truth is no defence and and triple hearsay is your friend.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-27 12:49:55 PM


@ truewest //If the owner of the hotel had demonstrated that the room was in use at the time the complainant requested it //

He shouldn't have had to, it's his property, his business.

//Or would that be too much like reporting? //

I'm not a reporter.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-06-27 1:00:55 PM


The true "force" will come when legislation is introduced that requires every hotel/motel to have a certain percentage of rooms wheelchair accessible.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-06-27 1:03:55 PM


@Scott "He shouldn't have had to, it's his property, his business."

But that's not really the point you made, is it? If you want to trot out the usual libertarian argument about the primacy of property rights and make a case that gimps and cripples should have to depend on a) the market or b) the kindness of other, then please, be my guest. But don't move the goalposts.

And I get that you're not a reporter. You're an opinionator. But if you can't get simple facts right, why should anybody care about your ill-informed opinion?

And speaking off Fact Free Fat F***s, Shane took an awfully long time to think of something stupid to say in response. But as usual, he doesn't disappoint, spouting off, "There's a term for this: 'Guilty until proven innocent.'"

Actually, FFFF, the proper term is "default judgment". A HR complaint involves two parties, each of them required to set out their own case, which makes it far more like a civil action than a criminal case. Indeed, it's nothing like a criminal case.

If Ms. Ursel had commenced a civil action against the hotel, and the hotel failed to respond in a specified period of time, she could have walked into the court registry and taken out default judgment, which would be enforceable using all the processes of the court.

She could have done this without ever appearing before a judge or presenting a single bit of evidence to the court. Courts are funny like that: if you don't respond to a legal document that been served on you, they assume that you agree with the claims contained therein.

Unlike a civil case, the complaint in this HR complaint has to pass screening by the commission and a hearing of evidence by the adjudicator. Since the respondent didn't think it was worth his trouble to answer the complaint or present evidence to the contrary, the version of event offered by the complainant prevailed. The hotel owner has nobody to blame but himself.


Posted by: truewest | 2009-06-27 1:41:12 PM


like i said (regarding our Tim Horton's thread), a privately owned business is just that: no one else's business.

the owner owes no explanation to anyone regarding his practices, as long as he does no violence, coerces no one and commits no fraud.

Posted by: shel | 2009-06-27 1:53:05 PM


@ truewest //But that's not really the point you made, is it?//

My post focused on one aspect, though there are others that cou;d be covered.

//But if you can't get simple facts right, why should anybody care about your ill-informed opinion? //

I failed to see where I got any facts wrong.

//if you don't respond to a legal document that been served on you, they assume that you agree with the claims contained therein. //

Interesting that the opposite isn't true. Great system ain't it?

//The hotel owner has nobody to blame but himself. //

How about a bogus claim of a "human rights" violation?

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-06-27 2:09:37 PM


"Actually, FFFF, the proper term is "default judgment."

You mean like the proper term for firing in "rightsizing"?

"A HR complaint involves two parties, each of them required to set out their own case, which makes it far more like a civil action than a criminal case. Indeed, it's nothing like a criminal case."

Especially in terms of standard of proof required.

"If Ms. Ursel had commenced a civil action against the hotel, and the hotel failed to respond in a specified period of time, she could have walked into the court registry and taken out default judgment, which would be enforceable using all the processes of the court."

In that case, Ms. Ursel would have had to pay her own way. With the HRCs, the complainant pays nothing.

"Unlike a civil case, the complaint in this HR complaint has to pass screening by the commission and a hearing of evidence by the adjudicator."

What evidence? The commission has only her word that she was ever involved with that motel at all. And even had the owner cooperated fully--at his own time and expense--there's no guarantee the truth would have saved him. When the truth is no defence and the law is no defence, nothing can be taken for granted.

"Since the respondent didn't think it was worth his trouble to answer the complaint or present evidence to the contrary, the version of event offered by the complainant prevailed. The hotel owner has nobody to blame but himself."

In other words: GUILTY UNTIL PROVEN INNOCENT. Which is no more than what I said. Litigator.

Not only should the HRCs be disbanded and not replaced, but tort law should be abolished for everything except directly culpable damage to people or goods.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-27 2:12:30 PM


//In that case, Ms. Ursel would have had to pay her own way. With the HRCs, the complainant pays nothing.//

That's an important point. There is no risk for the complainant, if their complaint fails, nothing happens to them.

HRC's are not needed. If someone is harmed, then current civil and criminal law already covers it.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-06-27 2:15:51 PM


The simple and vital fact that you omitted was that the hotel owner was a no-show. If you can't figure out that importance of that fact and the consequence of leaving it out, you're even stupider than you appear at first glance.

As for this, "Interesting that the opposite isn't true. Great system ain't it?"

I presume that you're trying to be clever. But again, only an idiot would suggest, as you appear to, that a court, upon discovering that a document issued under its auspices has been ignored by the defendant, should roll around to the defendant's place and find out why he hasn't responded? Perhaps the sherrifs could bring coffee and donuts while they're at it.

Posted by: truewest | 2009-06-27 2:17:55 PM


Shane,
Once again, you establish that the FFFF label fits you like a glove. Nice to see Scott's getting himself fitted for the same outfit.
Briefly FFFF

- the presumption of innocence and the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt exists only in criminal law.

- unlike criminal cases (which involve a dispute between the state and the accused) and like civil actions, human rights complaints involve disputes betwen two parties, a complainant and a respondent. Each may be represented by counsel and is required to pay that counsel of its own pocket.

- Human Rights commissions may appear at hearings of complaints but are not required to do so. When they do so, they do not act from the complainant, who must still prove his or her own case.
and do not act for the complaint.

- I know you like to bleat "truth is no defence" at the drop of a hat, but ever before HRTs, that principle only applies in hate speech cases. In cases involving discrimination claims, the determing the truth about what actually happened is the entire purpose of the hearing.

- If the Respondent doesn't show, then his version of events doesn't get heard. The only evidence is the version offered by the complainant, in the form of sworn testimony and documentary evidence. While courts do not require sworn testimony to be corroborated in order to be admissible, in this case the complainant produced several witnesses as well as a tape-recording of a conversation with an employee of the hotel.

BTW, Shane, if you ever get served with a Writ of Summons or Notice of Claim from Small Claim Court, I think you should just ignore it. It's probably really only a suggestion that you might have a legal issue to deal with. If it's really serious, the judge will drop by to get your side of things before rendering judgment.

Posted by: truewest | 2009-06-27 2:40:19 PM


In defense of the motel owner, perhaps it was less expensive to pay the extortionistic "fine" as opposed to hiring a lawyer, filing a defense and expending the additional time and money to attend the hearing since there is little doubt that his "guilt" was evident from the start. He had the audacity to own a business and that makes him guilty of capitalism. Shame on him.

Posted by: B | 2009-06-27 2:40:31 PM


"The simple and vital fact that you omitted was that the hotel owner was a no-show. If you can't figure out that importance of that fact and the consequence of leaving it out, you're even stupider than you appear at first glance."

Or we've both figured out what Scott so masterfully illustrated with his response: "Funny how in the absence of a response, guilt is presumed instead of innocence." How does the court system justify this perversion of the concept of "innocent until proven guilty"? Should not the burden of proof be on the accused no matter which type of law it is?

"Only an idiot would suggest, as you appear to, that a court, upon discovering that a document issued under its auspices has been ignored by the defendant, should roll around to the defendant's place and find out why he hasn't responded? Perhaps the sherrifs could bring coffee and donuts while they're at it."

Or perhaps the courts should realize that their job is to uncover the truth, and not cut corners so the judge can be downtown snorting cocaine off a stripper's tits that much sooner.

Of course, if standards of proof were higher, that would make your job that much harder, wouldn't it? Scott's right--we don't need the HRCs, nor the bulk of tort law, for that matter.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-27 2:42:15 PM


Sorry, that should read: "Should not the burden of proof be on the ACCUSER no matter which type of law it is?" My bad.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-27 2:43:08 PM


"Once again, you establish that the FFFF label fits you like a glove. Nice to see Scott's getting himself fitted for the same outfit."

Save it, TrueWest. You're the only person on these blogs who speaks in favour of the HRCs. And given how many times you've been proven wrong by both lawyers and non-lawyers, you're in no position to be calling anyone stupid. You also have no sense of justice. Your existence is devoted to determining the wind direction and calculating how you can best profit from the coming storm.

"- the presumption of innocence and the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt exists only in criminal law."

Yes. Let's change that.

"- unlike criminal cases (which involve a dispute between the state and the accused) and like civil actions, human rights complaints involve disputes betwen two parties, a complainant and a respondent. Each may be represented by counsel and is required to pay that counsel of its own pocket."

Except the complainant doesn't need any.

"- Human Rights commissions may appear at hearings of complaints but are not required to do so. When they do so, they do not act from the complainant, who must still prove his or her own case, and do not act for the complaint."

Bafflegab. The point is that these tribunals throw even the basic protections afforded in civil court, such as truth and law as a defence, out on their ear. You are at the mercy of the least whim of the tribunal.

"- I know you like to bleat "truth is no defence" at the drop of a hat, but ever before HRTs, that principle only applies in hate speech cases. In cases involving discrimination claims, the determing the truth about what actually happened is the entire purpose of the hearing."

It's one thing to say you consider the truth. Another to actually do so. The appallingly poor quality of many of these decisions has made it plain that truth is less important to these people than enforcing their kooky brand of political correctness.

"If the Respondent doesn't show, then his version of events doesn't get heard. The only evidence is the version offered by the complainant, in the form of sworn testimony and documentary evidence."

And what documentary evidence did Ms. Ursel have? Did she record her phone calls with the motel? Can she prove she ever phoned the motel at all?

"BTW, Shane, if you ever get served with a Writ of Summons or Notice of Claim from Small Claim Court, I think you should just ignore it. It's probably really only a suggestion that you might have a legal issue to deal with. If it's really serious, the judge will drop by to get your side of things before rendering judgment."

The human rights tribunal is not a court.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-27 2:52:29 PM


Shorter FFFF: Screw 500 years of common law and 100 years of administrative law, I demand that all claims be proved to the criminal standard. Shane, who is unburdened by knowledge or experience, has spoken.

Put on the clown shoes, fat boy. It'll make the look complete.

Posted by: truewest | 2009-06-27 3:00:25 PM


Perhaps next time he posts something and sets his hair on fire, Mr. Carnegie might look to primary sources to see what actually happened. Or would that be too much like reporting?
Posted by: truewest | 2009-06-27 10:52:11 AM

So the bottom line for you is..."Compliance" to even the most ridiculous of tribunals?
Sure, why not? Let's all feel obligated to give the thought police the credibility they so desire.

Or not.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-27 3:02:06 PM


Unlike a civil case, the complaint in this HR complaint has to pass screening by the commission and a hearing of evidence by the adjudicator. Since the respondent didn't think it was worth his trouble to answer the complaint or present evidence to the contrary, the version of event offered by the complainant prevailed. The hotel owner has nobody to blame but himself.
Posted by: truewest | 2009-06-27 1:41:12 PM

Either you are an HRC lackey or a govt. troll.
Either way you are a statist. And that get zero respect from me and most that I know.

The HRC's deserve no respect whatsoever. Not until they are once again leashed and mandated.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-27 3:04:39 PM


//Not until they are once again leashed and mandated//

They should be abolished. They serve no useful purpose.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-06-27 3:08:36 PM


"Screw 500 years of common law and 100 years of administrative law, I demand that all claims be proved to the criminal standard. Shane, who is unburdened by knowledge or experience, has spoken."

I believe that ending slavery and giving women equal status before the law also required revision of longstanding laws. The fact that we have done things a certain way for a long time is no reason to keep doing it, especially when flaws that cry out for correction are discovered.

"Put on the clown shoes, fat boy. It'll make the look complete."

Truewest, Truewest. If I had some clown shoes I'd be much too busy trying to see if they'd fit in your mouth to actually wear them. Of course, to make such an experiment possible you'd have to take your own feet out, and so far you've had zero luck with that.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-27 3:14:30 PM


They should be abolished. They serve no useful purpose.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-06-27 3:08:36 PM


Suits me fine Scott. They are far beyond the realm of being repaired anyway.

Posted by: The original JC | 2009-06-27 3:23:32 PM


"Either you are an HRC lackey or a govt. troll."

According to Grant Brown he's a litigator, JC, who profits from these travesties of justice, and is therefore worse than either.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-27 3:23:41 PM


//I believe that ending slavery and giving women equal status before the law also required revision of longstanding laws. //

Those 2 things came about though civil unrest, the changes in law follow much later; same thing with the civil rights movement, same-sex rights, etc.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-06-27 3:29:06 PM


FFFF,
I know you're too stupid to understand this distinction, but there's a vast difference between changing a law and changing a legal system. Slavery and equality of women required the changing of laws by the legislatures Standards of proof and other matters of common law, on the other hand are part of a legal system that have evolved over centuries.
The reason we require proof beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal matters is that the accused's liberty or even life is at stake. Moreover, he faces the entire apparatus of the state - police and prosecutors.
In disputes between parties, as in civil action and, yes, human rights complaints, proof on a balance of probabilities creates an even playing field between the parties.

JC, I believe in the rule of law, which requires compliance with the orders of properly and legally established courts and tribunals. Last I looked, the rule of law was something conservatives claimed to believe in, even if some of them don't seem to understand what the concept embraces.

Posted by: truewest | 2009-06-27 3:43:59 PM


wow! you guys sure know how to fill up a thread fast. 8)

Posted by: shel | 2009-06-27 3:47:49 PM


// know you're too stupid to understand this distinction//

If you can't post without insults then you will be moderated.

//Last I looked, the rule of law was something conservatives claimed to believe in//

I'm not a conservative, I believe in personal liberty.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-06-27 7:10:12 PM


//Slavery and equality of women//

Women were already equal, the law didn't reflect that, another reason why the "rule of law" is invalid.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-06-27 7:11:27 PM


Scott,
Given your performance to date, in particular, your inability to stick to a topic or to set out the underlying facts with any degree of accuracy, it would be honour to be "moderated" by you. Indeed, it would as delightful as being lectured on the law by the porcine Mr. Matthews. Please bring it on.

So, the rule of law is "invalid" because women were already equal - although what form that "equality" took is not clear - but were not treated that way by the law. So, what do you suggest we offer in place of the rule of law, Mr. Carnegie?

Posted by: truewest | 2009-06-27 8:07:20 PM


truewest, it would be an honour if you would grow up and stick to the issues.

//So, what do you suggest we offer in place of the rule of law, Mr. Carnegie? //

Individual liberty, look it up.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-06-27 8:16:37 PM


Scotty, Scotty, Scotty,
You're going to do better than "Individual liberty, look it up."
The grown-up libertarians around here do a pretty decent job, from time to time, of articulating their ideas in forms that go beyond the bumper sticker, but perhaps you're not up the task. Actually, given your OP and your attempts at wit thereafter, I'm quite sure you're not. But I live in hope. Give it the ol' college try, why don't you.

Posted by: truewest | 2009-06-27 8:29:02 PM


@ truewest

//You're going to do better than "Individual liberty, look it up." //

I think it'd be a waste of my time to address you with anything more than "bumper stickers". Your constant insults don't foster a sense of open, honest discussion, so no, I'm not going to waste time writing long dissertations to educate you on liberty.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-06-27 10:35:48 PM


Truwest: I find the "rule of law" that to be a sham. Conservatives most often use the term to mean that the "law must be followed whatever it is".

I think that is a bogus principle. I agree with MLK who once said: "One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws."

Posted by: Patrick | 2009-06-28 12:09:15 PM


"Slavery and equality of women required the changing of laws by the legislatures Standards of proof and other matters of common law, on the other hand are part of a legal system that have evolved over centuries."

And yet the HRCs, which are backed by the authority of the courts, managed to get just that with a stroke of the pen.

"The reason we require proof beyond a reasonable doubt in criminal matters is that the accused's liberty or even life is at stake. Moreover, he faces the entire apparatus of the state - police and prosecutors."

So your argument is that because the potential consequences of losing HRC or civil trials is being ruined financially for life, as opposed to imprisonment for life, that they should be allowed to get away with more? Faced with a lifelong handicap like that, along with the low sentences available for pleading guilty, it makes more sense financially to slit your accuser's throat than to let him sue you.

"In disputes between parties, as in civil action and, yes, human rights complaints, proof on a balance of probabilities creates an even playing field between the parties."

Assuming politically neutral and unbiased adjudicators.

"Last I looked, the rule of law was something conservatives claimed to believe in, even if some of them don't seem to understand what the concept embraces."

Indeed, and it's questionable whether these latter-day Star Chambers pass Constitutional muster. Everyone's talking about the poor quality of their decisions, their messianic delusions, the unbelievable tyranny they represent. You are their sole defender, and from what I understand you're in it for the money. Tell me, why should we endure these witch trials pouring acid on our basic freedoms just so you can have a job?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-28 4:11:22 PM


Scott,

I question why you choose to threaten to "moderate" truewest, but have made no such threat against Shane.

Do you not consider his statements to be improper for this forum? Or do you just agree with his opinions so you choose to ignore it?

"not cut corners so the judge can be downtown snorting cocaine off a stripper's tits that much sooner." Posted by Shane Matthews

Posted by: Jake | 2009-06-29 11:48:04 AM


"I question why you choose to threaten to "moderate" truewest, but have made no such threat against Shane."

Because the sentence you quoted contains no insults, and insults were the catalyst for Scott's rebuke. I've been moderated lots of times...but seldom for NOT insulting someone.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-06-29 2:19:19 PM



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