The Ontario PC Party will be hosting four candidate debates....Debate tickets are ten dollars and will be selected by random draw.
Meanwhile, a few adults within with Ontario Tories are wondering about the wisdom of front-runner Tim Hudak modelling his campaign platform on that of right-wing yahoo Randy Hillier in his call for abolishing the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal:
"I think they're going to look at this and say, 'you're pulling another John Tory move. You picked a hot-button issue that's going to blow up in our faces just as the school thing did,' " [the anonymous Tory insider] said.
For what its worth, you can see Hudak shifting right on this issue over time. In August he was insisting that the Tribunal clear its backlog by ignoring the free speech cases on its plate (I don't have numbers but I imagine they are low to miniscule); now he wants to chuck the whole human rights process over-board and replace it with "a court-based system operating under the rules of evidence" with "specially trained judges".
Put more specifically by Clark Savolain of the Hudak campaign:
To protect the human rights of all Ontarians, he would transition the Ontario Human Rights Commission and the Human Rights Tribunal construct to a court-based system, similar to the existing Domestic Violence and Family Law courts.
Some pretty obvious short-comings to this idea:
Sorry, so do you expect to provide funding or support to legitimate victims of discrimination so they can make claims in civil court? For example, if an employer tells me he will only hire me if I perform sexual favours, right now, I could go to the Human Rights Tribunal and claim gender-based discrimination, and sexual harassment. Are you going to provide the legal support so I can file a similar claim or do you expect all claimants to hire their own lawyers at a rate of $300 or so an hour? Isn’t an open system where claimants can go as individuals provide much more access to justice?
I consider myself a Conservative and a supporter of Tim. Up until the past two years, I never paid much attention to the Human Rights Tribunal or Commission, or really even the Code because it never affected me. That was before my husband was diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder 2 at the age of 44.
We believe the employer, the Union and the arbitrator violated my husband’s human rights. We have now filed an application with the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario. Tim has spoken publicly about assisting the middle-class family. We are it! We cannot afford a lawyer that costs $350/hour nor are we eligible for legal support. Where can we be heard if not the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario? What does Tim suggest we do?
Don't know if Kinsella will be operating the McGuinty war-room next time around, but I suspect he's chuckling away somewhere in some dark cave even now. Who cares whether or not the next Tory leader is Randy Hillier, as long as that leader embraces the Hillier agenda?