Rebecca Millette

Ontario Superior Court strikes down, lambastes ‘fatally flawed’ Human Rights Tribunal ruling

Rebecca Millette
Rebecca Millette

TORONTO, ON, February 2, 2011 ( – An Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (OHRT) decision to fine an employer $36,000 over her company’s dress code and a “restrictive microwave policy” was so unfair that it was “simply not possible to logically follow the pathway taken by the adjudicator,” ruled the Ontario Superior Court last month.

The case, heard by the tribunal in October 2009, involved a Muslim woman, Seema Saadi, who alleged that her employer Maxcine Telfer, who owns Audmax Inc., discriminated against her on religious and cultural grounds. The complaint was based on a “restrictive microwave policy” that Saadi said targeted her traditional spicy food, and dress-code requirements that “sounded like she was expected to wear short skirts, heels and sleeveless blouses” instead of her Muslim hijab.

After HRTO adjudicator Faisal Bhabha ordered Telfer to pay for lost wages and general damages, lawyers with the Human Rights Legal Support Centre had obtained a “writ of seizure” ordering the sheriff to sell Telfer’s Mississauga home to enforce the payment.

“The only reason they backed off, is because we got this judicial review and we convinced them to wait until the hearing was over before they tried to seize their house and sell it with the sheriff,” said Telfer’s lawyer Ted Charney, according to the Star.

Ezra Levant, a lawyer and former publisher of the Western Standard who was himself a target of a human rights complaint in the past, said the court ruling is just more evidence that Canada’s human rights commissions are “out of control.”  “Every single aspect of this ruling is discreditable,” he told

The human rights tribunals, which receive all discrimination complaints under the Human Rights Codes, have come under heavy fire across the country in recent years over their targeting of conservatives and Christians.  Defendants have been forced to spend tens of thousands of dollars defending themselves from accusations of “hate speech,” often for simply expressing traditional Christian teachings on sexual morality.

In two other high profile cases, Levant and journalist Mark Steyn were targeted for publishing materials critical of fundamentalist Islam.

The court gave nine points on which the tribunal adjudicator in the Saadi case “failed to provide a fair hearing or made legal errors,” said the Star.  The court said adjudicator Bhabha did not give Telfer the opportunity to call a witness to testify about Saadi’s clothing, and “unauthorized intrusions into other people’s desks and missing files,” for which she was fired.

“The reasons are so sparse on the factual underpinnings for this aspect [microwave policies] of the decision that it is impossible to follow the pathway by which the adjudicator came to his conclusion of discrimination,” wrote Superior Court Justice Anne Molloy on behalf of the three-judge panel.

The panel ordered the tribunal to revisit the case before a different adjudicator and told the woman to pay Telfer $10,000 in legal costs.  The Human Rights Legal Support Center, who provided the Saadi free legal services during the appeals process, also volunteered to represent her at the new hearing, expected to be held within six months.

“Overturning the tribunal’s order isn’t enough. The tribunal itself should be disbanded,” Levant told LSN.

The lawyer said that the nature of the complaints - “such as that she felt insulted by comments about the smell of her lunch” - “are so absurd, it’s incredible that a government tribunal would actually sit to hear them.”

He described the order as “typically outrageous. $36,000 for someone who worked for less than two months.”

“And then enforcing the order - by attempting to seize the home of the employer,” he added.  “So basically, if you (allegedly) insult someone, you can lose your home. Courtesy of the government.”

“Finally, and obviously: look at the victim here: a black woman entrepreneur, whose business it is to help new Canadians.  It’s grotesque that she should be attacked by the government.”

The recent court decision is reminiscent of a similar decision handed down in 2008, when a federal court overturned a decision by the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal that ordered $150 million in back pay to be paid to female postal workers. In that decision, Judge Michael Kelen slammed the tribunal’s proceedings, saying, “This case offends the public conscience of what is reasonable and responsible.”

The judge echoed the charges of prominent critics of the human rights tribunals, who have labeled them “kangaroo courts,” saying, “The hearing lacked the discipline required of a court of law.”

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Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve

Today’s chuckle: Rubio, Fiorina and Carson pardon a Thanksgiving turkey

Steve Jalsevac Steve Jalsevac Follow Steve
By Steve Jalsevac

A little bit of humour now and then is a good thing.

Happy Thanksgiving to all our American readers.

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Building of the European Court of Human Rights.
Lianne Laurence


BREAKING: Europe’s top human rights court slaps down German ban on pro-life leafletting

Lianne Laurence
By Lianne Laurence

STRASBOURG, France, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) – The European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that a German regional court violated a pro-life activist’s freedom of expression when it barred him from leafleting in front of an abortion center.

It further ruled the German court’s order that Klaus Gunter Annen not list the names of two abortion doctors on his website likewise violated the 64-year-old pro-life advocate’s right to freedom of expression.

The court’s November 26 decision is “a real moral victory,” says Gregor Puppinck, director of the Strasbourg-based European Center for Law and Justice, which intervened in Annen’s case. “It really upholds the freedom of speech for pro-life activists in Europe.”

Annen, a father of two from Weinam, a mid-sized city in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, has appealed to the Strasbourg-based European Court of Human Rights at least two times before, Puppinck told LifeSiteNews.

“This is the first time he made it,” he said, noting that this time around, Annen had support from the ECLJ and Alliance Defense Fund and the German Pro-life Federation (BVL). “I think he got more support, better arguments and so I think this helped.”

The court also ordered the German government to pay Annen costs of 13,696.87 EUR, or 14,530 USD.

Annen started distributing pamphlets outside a German abortion center ten years ago, ECLJ stated in a press release.

His leaflets contained the names and addresses of the two abortionists at the center, declared they were doing “unlawful abortions,” and stated in smaller print that, “the abortions were allowed by the German legislators and were not subject to criminal liability.”

Annen’s leaflets also stated that, “The murder of human beings in Auschwitz was unlawful, but the morally degraded NS State allowed the murder of innocent people and did not make it subject to criminal liability.” They referred to Annen’s website,, which listed a number of abortionists, including the two at the site he was leafleting.

In 2007, a German regional court barred Annen from pamphleteering in the vicinity of the abortion center, and ordered him to drop the name of the two abortion doctors from his website.

But the European Court of Human Rights ruled Thursday that the German courts had "failed to strike a fair balance between [Annen’s] right to freedom of expression and the doctor’s personality rights.”

The Court stated that, “there can be no doubt as to the acute sensitivity of the moral and ethical issues raised by the question of abortion or as to the importance of the public interest at stake.”

That means, stated ECLJ, that “freedom of expression in regard to abortion shall enjoy a full protection.”

ECLJ stated that the court noted Annen’s leaflets “made clear that the abortions performed in the clinic were not subject to criminal liability. Therefore, the statement that ‘unlawful abortions’ were being performed in the clinic was correct from a legal point of view.”

As for the Holocaust reference, the court stated that, “the applicant did not – at least not explicitly – equate abortion with the Holocaust.”  Rather, the reference was “a way of creating awareness of the more general fact that law might diverge from morality.”

The November 26 decision “is a quite good level of protection of freedom of speech for pro-life people,” observed Puppinck.

First, the European Court of Human Rights has permitted leafleting “in the direct proximate vicinity of the clinic, so there is no issue of zoning,” he told LifeSiteNews. “And second, the leaflets were mentioning the names of the doctors, and moreover, were mentioning the issue of the Holocaust, which made them quite strong leaflets.”

“And the court protected that.”

Annen has persevered in his pro-life awareness campaign through the years despite the restraints on his freedom.

“He did continue, and he did adapt,” Puppinck told LifeSiteNews. “He kept his freedom of speech as much as he could, but he continued to be sanctioned by the German authorities, and each time he went to the court of human rights. And this time, he won.”

ECLJ’s statement notes that “any party” has three months to appeal the November 26 decision.

However, as it stands, the European Court of Human Rights’s ruling affects “all the national courts,” noted Puppinck, and these will now “have to protect freedom of speech, recognize the freedom of speech for pro-lifers.”

“In the past, the courts have not always been very supportive of the freedom of speech of pro-life,” he said, so the ruling is “significant.”

As for Annen’s pro-life ministry, Pubbinck added: “He can continue to go and do, and I’m sure that he does, because he always did.”  

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A vibrant church in Africa. Pierre-Yves Babelon /
Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete

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‘Soft racism’: German Bishops’ website attributes African Catholics’ strong faith to simplemindedness

Pete Baklinski Pete Baklinski Follow Pete
By Pete Baklinski

GERMANY, November 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) --  The only reason the Catholic Church is growing in Africa is because the people have a “rather low level” of education and accept “simple answers to difficult questions” involving marriage and sexuality, posited an article on the official website of the German Bishops' Conference posted yesterday. The article targeted particularly Cardinal Robert Sarah of Guinea, the Vatican's prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and ardent defender of Catholic tradition.

First Things blogger Leroy Huizenga, who translated a portion of the article, criticized the article's view as “soft racism.”

In his article, titled “The Romantic, Poor Church,” editor Björn Odendahl writes: 

So also in Africa. Of course the Church is growing there. It grows because the people are socially dependent and often have nothing else but their faith. It grows because the educational situation there is on average at a rather low level and the people accept simple answers to difficult questions (of faith) [sic]. Answers like those that Cardinal Sarah of Guinea provides. And even the growing number of priests is a result not only of missionary power but also a result of the fact that the priesthood is one of the few possibilities for social security on the dark continent.

Huizenga said that such an article has no place on a bishops’ conference website. 

“We all know that the German Bishops' Conference is one of the most progressive in the world. But it nevertheless beggars belief that such a statement would appear on the Conference's official website, with its lazy slander of African Christians and priests as poor and uneducated (Odendahl might as well have added ‘easy to command’) and its gratuitous swipe at Cardinal Sarah,” he wrote. 

“Natürlich progressives could never be guilty of such a sin and crime, but these words sure do suggest soft racism, the racism of elite white Western paternalism,” he added. 

African prelates have gained a solid reputation for being strong defenders of Catholic sexual morality because of their unwavering orthodox input into the recently concluded Synod on the Family in Rome. 

At one point during the Synod, Cardinal Robert Sarah urged Catholic leaders to recognize as the greatest modern enemies of the family what he called the twin “demonic” “apocalyptic beasts” of “the idolatry of Western freedom” and “Islamic fundamentalism.”

STORY: Cardinal Danneels warns African bishops to avoid ‘triumphalism’

“What Nazi-Fascism and Communism were in the 20th century, Western homosexual and abortion ideologies and Islamic fanaticism are today,” he said during his speech at the Synod last month. 

But African prelates’ adherence to orthodoxy has earned them enemies, especially from the camp of Western prelates bent on forming the Catholic Church in their own image and likeness, not according to Scripture, tradition, and the teaching magisterium of the Church. 

During last year’s Synod, German Cardinal Walter Kasper went as far as stating that the voice of African Catholics in the area of Church teaching on homosexuality should simply be dismissed.

African cardinals “should not tell us too much what we have to do,” he said in an October 2014 interview with ZENIT, adding that African countries are "very different, especially about gays.” 

Earlier this month Belgian Cardinal Godfried Danneels, instead of praising Africa for its vibrant and flourishing Catholicism, said that African prelates will one day have to look to Europe to get what he called “useful tips” on how to deal with “secularization” and “individualism.” 

The statement was criticized by one pro-family advocate as “patronizing of the worst kind” in light of the facts that numerous European churches are practically empty, vocations to the priesthood and religious life are stagnant, and the Catholic faith in Europe, especially in Belgium, is overall in decline.

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