Some "Rights" We Can All Do Without
Who could possibly be opposed to human
rights for First
Nations people? It turns out that natives themselves encouraged
to delay the bill. But why?
According to Assembly of First Nations chief Phil Fontaine, “First Nations communities need time to prepare for this legislation.”
Okay, but the idea of repealing section 67
is hardly new. It
was previously proposed in bills tabled in 1992 and 2003. If aboriginal
communities have not been able to prepare in the past 15 years, how
will 10 more
Says Fontaine, “It will add new costs for First Nations governments.”
Yes, but Bill C-44 does not require native
set up their own tribunals for hearing human rights complaints.
will be heard by the Canadian Human Rights Commission, as for all other
governed by federal law. So if Fontaine’s concern is justified, it can
because First Nations governments anticipate being found guilty of
discrimination and being forced to make reparations.
The Native Women’s Association of Canada also objected to the bill, speaking through their lawyer Mary Eberts. She says focusing on individual rights might divert attention from a “huge collective denial of human rights”. Which collective rights? Adequate housing, water and education, says Eberts. What the Native Women’s Association wants, apparently, is more socialism: take more from the rich and give it to the poor.
The fact that
In any event, if it’s socialism they want, native women should be big supporters of the CHRA—because despite its name, the Act has very little to do with genuine human rights, and a whole lot to do with wealth equalization. The same is true of the provincial human rights codes which impose similar laws in areas under provincial jurisdiction. What these laws really do is grant privileges to some classes of people (those whom legislators believe to be poor, relatively speaking), at the expense of certain other classes (those perceived as rich, relatively speaking).
For instance, human rights laws forbid
discriminating against potential or actual employees because of their
religion, race, disability, etc. Employers must even go out of their
accommodate employees belonging to “disadvantaged” groups, regardless
hardship for the employer. Employees, on the other hand, can merrily
job offer, or quit their jobs without notice, even if the reason is
despise the employer’s sex, religion, race, etc.
Similarly, businesses and landlords must provide goods, services and accommodations to all would-be customers, even if it causes the business financial hardship (for instance, by forcing the business to install elevators, or to accept substandard credit risks). Customers, by contrast, can merrily bypass an ethnic- or female-owned business, a disabled or gay landlord, to buy or rent from individuals whose ethnic origins, sex, physical condition or sexual orientation they prefer, without punishment from the human rights commission.
So contrary to public perception, these laws
minority groups per se. They assist only
those members of minority groups who also happen to be on a
side of an economic transaction—employees, customers, and tenants.
group members who are on the side of transaction that governments
scorn (employers, business people and landlords) are adversely affected
laws just as much as healthy, heterosexual, WASP males.
Moreover, the presumption that favoured groups are poorer than disfavoured groups is simply not justified. Many business people are poorer than the people they employ or sell to.
The CHRA and its provincial counterparts
irrational, lopsided, Johnny-come-lately human right called “freedom
discrimination” as the only legal right worth having. In their wake,
trample into oblivion genuine, time-honoured human rights: freedom of
private property rights, and freedom of speech.
I wouldn’t blame
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