By Hilary White
SAGUENAY, Quebec, May 15, 2008 (LifeSiteNews.com) – The city of Saguenay, Quebec must cease offering prayers at the beginning of its work day, according to the Quebec Human Rights Commission. The Commission forbade prayer, ruling that Christian prayer in city hall is opposed to the city’s secular and religiously “neutral” position.
Maclean’s magazine reports that the decision follows a 2006 ruling in Laval, Quebec, that found such prayers infringe individual rights.
Cases such as this are precipitating calls for a review, or even a Royal Commission, of the actions, practices and biases of the Canadian Human Rights Commissions.
Recently, Human Rights Commission complaints against author and syndicated columnist Mark Steyn and the venerable Maclean’s magazine and against former Western Standard publisher Ezra Levant for publishing the infamous Mohammed cartoons, have resulted in a private member’s bill that proposes to curtail the powers of the HRC.
Under the current law, Human Rights Commissions have unusually broad powers of search and seizure, even greater than those of regular courts and law enforcement agencies. A complainant does not have to pay his own expenses, but the plaintiff must pay all costs, which can run into tens or even hundreds of thousands of dollars. Critics have said that they are not open to the proper scrutinies that are normal in regular courts, often holding their deliberations in secret without transparent legal oversight.
Many are saying, in media and in Parliament that such provisions are contrary to the traditions of Canadian jurisprudence.
Jason Kenney, the Secretary of State for Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity gave an address in Calgary earlier this month saying that the HRCs are suppressing traditional democratic freedoms. Kenney, labelled as “dangerous” the “illiberal tactics” employed by some activists in the name of tolerance.
Under the Human Rights Commissions in the last ten years, decisions have systematically targeted Christians and Christian values. Christian mayors have been fined for refusing to proclaim ‘gay pride days’. A Christian teacher was suspended for writing against homosexuality outside the classroom. A Christian printer was fined for refusing to print materials for a homosexual activist group. A Christian political party is going through the HRC process for promoting Christian teaching on homosexuality.
In the most recent attack by the HRCs against Christian values, a Christian ministry in Toronto has been fined $23,000 after a lesbian complained that she was discriminated against because of the ministry’s sexual conduct code. She agreed to and signed the ministry’s Christian lifestyle pledge as a condition of her employment and later declared she had entered into the lesbian lifestyle. She quit the organization, claiming a “poisoned” work environment and filed a complaint. The Ontario HRC ruling forced the organization Christian Horizons to abandon its Christian Morality statement as a condition of employment, and ordered all its 2,500 employees to be given pro-homosexuality human rights training.
Read related LifeSiteNews.com coverage:
Canadian Cabinet Member Slams Human Rights Commission Manipulations as “Dangerous”
Christian Political Party Before Human Rights Commission for Speaking Against Homosexuality
Canadian Human Rights Commission Employees Admit to Misconduct