Few winners in rights sagas

Kamloops Daily News
November 22, 2012 01:00 AM

For evidence of how far Canada has strayed in political correctness, one needs to look no further than our country's human rights commissions.

For years now, they have been accused of abusing their power and going far beyond their mandate of ensuring fairness within the workplace. The cases brought forth and heard by the commissions are almost laughable if they weren't so financially damaging to those dragged before the pseudo courts.

Much has been said about the commissions, which all but neglect due process found in Canada's respected court system, but none more so than Ezra Levant's book Shakedown.

In the book, Levant chronicles and criticizes some of the bizarre cases that have made it before the provincial and national commissions.

One of the most infamous cases is one of an employee at a McDonald's restaurant in Vancouver who did not have to wash her hands at work due to a skin condition.

The latest case to go before the Ontario Human Rights Commission isn't as odd, but it does show how intertwined people's rights have become.

In the case, a Toronto barbershop faces a complaint after barbers refused to cut a woman's hair. At first glance, it may appear that the woman's rights were denied, but that really isn't the case at all.

The barbers are all Muslim and specifically cater to men of their religion, which forbids them to cut the hair of a woman who is not a member of their family.

The woman must have known this. She could have gone to any hairstylist in Toronto, but no doubt specifically chose this shop so she could make a statement on Islam, or tout her rights above the shop's owners.

Many seem to forget that we don't live in a perfect world, and people's right to practise their religion isn't less important than another person's right to get a haircut.

Compromises have to be made, and there were plenty of options for this woman to get a haircut instead of dragging this private business before a kangaroo court.

Levant's goal of publishing Shakedown was to pressure governments to act to reform or repeal Canada's human rights commissions. With this latest case as an example, it appears we're no closer to changes than when Levant's book hit stores in 2009.

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