The following is a letter I have just emailed to my MP, and which I have copied to all the members of the Commons Committee on Justice and Human Rights, which is asking some questions about the Canadian Human Rights Commission and its activities:
Dear Mr. Poilievre!
When our paths intersected at a public event last summer, I mentioned that Mr. Ezra Levant was facing yet another nuisance lawsuit from a disgraced ex-CHRC employee – so I know that you are aware of and concerned about the current issues with the Canadian Human Rights Commission.
To be honest, I was rather thrilled when the Human Rights Tribunal itself acknowledged that Section 13(1) of the Human Rights code (better known as ‘Thought Crime Section’) was unconstitutional: it gave me hope that the system can indeed be salvaged.
However, my hope was short lived.
It seems that even though it has acknowledged that Section 13(1) is unconstitutional, the CHRC is continuing to prosecute other cases under this section!
How could this be?
Is it even legal for them to do this?
How can a government agency prosecute people under a law which the Tribunal has ruled unconstitutional? Perhaps it is because I am not educated in the subject of law, but, just as an ordinary person, this does not seem legal to me. I would love it if you could make some public comment about this (of course, I understand that it cannot be immediate – you need to get the wording right and all that), perhaps an informal comment on a radio station (I have heard you speak on CFRA before), which would explain how this is possible. After all, if I am wondering this, there must be many other people who also do not understand how a government agency can prosecute citizens under a law which had been ruled to be unconstitutional.
I’m sorry if this comes across too stark or starchy or snarky – it is not meant to. I’m just trying to get to the heart of things quickly.
Also, there is currently a Commons Committee of Justice and Human Rights: Ezra Levant and Mark Steyn have already answered some questions for this committee, Ms. Jennifer Lynch and others will come to answer some questions, too. (I am cc-ing (is that the proper word?) the members of this committee on this email.) I am certain that there will be many questions the committee members will ask about the substance of Section 13(1) and related issues of freedom of speech, thought, conscience, and so on. That stands to reason.
And, I have great trust that they will be thorough!
However, I would also like them to ask about the expenses at the CHRC…
Not only has it been revealed that during these trying economic times, the CHRC employees have traveled first class on airplanes, stayed at extremely expensive hotels, and so on. They may be employed by an ‘arm’s length agency’ – and ought to stay politically neutral, of course, but they are still all civil servants and they must adhere to all the rules and regulations regarding expenses which all civil servants are bound by. The optics on this have failed.
I would like to know if it truly is just the optics of the situation (it does look pretty bad that Ms. Lynch can rack up expenses from just one trip which are greater than many Canadians’ annual salary), or if there is a deeper problem there. There has even been a report that Ms. Lynch has not supplied the receipts to support her enormous expense claims, because she thought it was unreasonable and would have interfered with the operation of the CHRC!
Is this true?
What is going on?