2007 Karen Selick
An edited version of this article first appeared in the October 25, 2007 issue of the National Post.
If you wish to reproduce this article, click here for copyright info.
Repeal Our Phony Human Rights Laws
It’s funny—when Canadians use the phrase
“human rights” in
connection with countries like
But if you look at Canada’s own human rights laws—for instance, Saskatchewan’s Human Rights Code or Alberta’s Human Rights, Citizenship and Multiculturalism Act—there’s not a word in them prohibiting governments from killing citizens or quashing demonstrations. Canadians are already protected from murder by the Criminal Code, and we’re guaranteed freedom of expression by the constitution.
So what exactly do
To make things worse, the human rights laws
other important traditional Canadian rights: freedom of contract, and
If there were one single thing I could do to
Although the human rights laws purport to
minority groups against bigotry and discrimination, the truth is—they
don’t. They’re phonies. Examined
closely, these laws don’t outlaw racism, sexism, homophobia, etc.,
universally. They ban such prejudices only
when held by a
few categories of individuals—people that our legislators presume to be
Merchants, service providers, landlords and employers are the targets of the human rights laws. They are forbidden from discriminating against consumers, tenants, and employees—even if they themselves belong to minorities. But there is no flip-side. Consumers, tenants, and employees can freely discriminate on the basis of whatever prejudices they might hold. Their actions aren’t governed by the human rights codes.
So, for example, a convenience store owner
could not deny
entry to his store on the basis of a customer’s race or ethnic origins,
he had been held up at gunpoint a dozen times by members of a
or ethnic gang. Gang members, however,
are free to boycott a convenience store if they happen to dislike the
proprietor’s race, colour, accent, etc. The human rights codes do not
people to buy a fair share of their pop and cigarettes from stores
Asians, blacks, Jews, WASPS, francophones, gays, etc.
Here’s another example. An
No, these laws are not about banning bigotry. They’re about transferring rights and power
from the categories of people the legislators deemed over-endowed to
legislators deemed under-endowed. They’re really a form of wealth
redistribution—a form of back-door socialism that doesn’t make people
as taxes because it masquerades under a mantel of righteousness.
I’ll take my chances in the unregulated marketplace any day.
If someone wants to insult me, or doesn’t want to deal with me, because
ethnic origins, my sex, or anything else, my attitude is:
let him. My ego is not so fragile that
uncouth behaviour on the part of an obvious bigot will shatter my
His incivility doesn’t make me think less of myself—it only makes me
of him. And frankly, I don’t mind knowing who these jackasses are,
like to boycott them even more than they want to exclude me.
- END -
December 16, 2007