Here are some observations about the Kangaroo Court’s proceedings against FD:
1) According to their website, it says the following about “Hate Messages”:
13. (1) It is a discriminatory practice for a person or a group of persons acting in concert to communicate telephonically or to cause to be so communicated, repeatedly, in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a telecommunication undertaking within the legislative authority of Parliament, any matter that is likely to expose a person or persons to hatred or contempt by reason of the fact that that person or those persons are identifiable on the basis of a prohibited ground of discrimination.
(2) For greater certainty, subsection (1) applies in respect of a matter that is communicated by means of a computer or a group of interconnected or related computers, including the Internet, or any similar means of communication, but does not apply in respect of a matter that is communicated in whole or in part by means of the facilities of a broadcasting undertaking.
(3) For the purposes of this section, no owner or operator of a telecommunication undertaking communicates or causes to be communicated any matter described in subsection (1) by reason only that the facilities of a telecommunication undertaking owned or operated by that person are used by other persons for the transmission of that matter. R.S., 1985, c. H-6, s. 13; 2001, c. 41, s. 88.
So, in other words, if you are deemed to be an “owner or operator of a telecommunication undertaking”, you cannot be cited for complaints about “hatred”. The key here is the phrase “owner or operator of a telecommunication undertaking”. This should include discussion boards and not simply be restricted to Internet Service Providers. It is certainly sufficiently general for a broad interpretation.
2) Q.8 Has the Commission introduced any special measures to deal with hate on the Internet complaints?
The Commission recognizes that section 13 complaints are unique in both harm that hate causes and the special investigative challenges associated with investigating web-based activities. As a result, the Commission has instituted special measures to facilitate the investigation of section 13 complaints, including:
The assignment of all section 13 cases to the Anti-Hate Team which includes investigators with specialized expertise in the investigation of hate on the Internet.
Ongoing staff training to broaden knowledge about the nature of hate activity, its consequences and how to combat it.
A review of procedures and legal requirements to ensure that section 13 cases are dealt with expeditiously.
And yet despite their committment to expeditious proceedings for all the parties involved, it took them over a year to inform Connie and Mark about the complaint. According to Mark Fournier, Ms. Gentes filed the complaint on June 4, 2006. The Canadian Human Rights Commission sat on this for a year.
3) A Tight Deadline, Doncha think?
July 16, 2007
Ms. Connie Wilkins
c/o Free Dominion
Dear Ms. Wilkins: I am the investigator designated under Part III of the Canadian Human Rights Act to investigate the complaint of Ms. [name omitted at this time] against Free Dominion….
I am currently awaiting your full response to the allegations which is due on 18 July 2007.
I wonder if this is something that is common practice with the CHRC? Are they this sloppy with conservatives or does their incompetence apply to everyone?
4) The Commissioners can refuse to deal with complaints which are more than one year old, or which are beyond the Commission’s jurisdiction.
The Federal Court can be asked by either party to review the Commission’s decision.
The investigator gathers the information and evidence needed to prepare a report and makes a recommendation to the Commissioners. The investigator gives the respondent an opportunity to reply to the allegations. The investigator may interview witnesses or ask the respondent and complainant for documents or information. Both sides have a chance to review the investigator’s report and make submissions before the investigator presents the report to the Commissioners. Of course, the complainant and respondent may also reach a settlement during the investigation.
If the complaint is filed more than one year after the incident has occurred or if it appears to be beyond the Commission’s jurisdiction, the complaint will be sent directly to the Commissioners.
Apparently it’s not acceptable to wait for a year to file a complaint after an incident has occurred, but it is totally acceptable for the Commission to wait a year before informing the alleged perpetrator (or victim, depending on your perpsective) of the complaint.
What kind of banana republic proceedings are these?
4) A complaint has been filed against me
After the Commission has notified you, the respondent, about the complaint, you must provide a response in which you will be able to give your position on the situation. The next step of the complaint process depends on the circumstances of the case. In some cases, the Commission may ask the complainant to first try another redress procedure. For example, the complainant may be able to file a grievance under a collective agreement or may be able to appeal a decision by a government department or agency under another Act of Parliament. Cases will usually be referred to the Alternative Dispute Resolution Branch to consider the possibility of mediation. Mediation is voluntary and confidential and if either side chooses not to participate, or if the mediation does not work, the file is assigned to an investigator.
The case is not supposed to be assigned to an investigator until (a) after the Respondent has received the complaint and filed a response and (b), in most cases, until after the parties have been given an opportunity to consider alternate dispute resolution. This was not done in FD’s case. An investigator was assigned before any response was received from FD. This is yet another example of a kangaroo bungle.
5) The respondent is advised of the complaint as soon as it is filed with the Commission. Source
One year is the Commission’s view of “as soon as it is filed with the Commission”. Another administrative blunder.