Sunday, May 15, 2011

Hudak On Human Rights...Approaching Coherence, Or No?

Walker Morrow, "The Kid", supplies us with a Youtube of Tim Hudak's address to the Nepean Chamber of Congress, and a transcript of the moment (at about the12:30 minute mark on the clip) when Hudak backs down from his promise to eliminate the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal. 

Hudy says:

"We will empower the Tribunal to dismiss frivolous applications at a preliminary stage, by restoring the provisions of the Ontario Human Rights Code that were taken out. We will create new standards for the Human Rights Tribunal, so the process follows clear rules similar to those used in the courts, and we will consult with experts who will work in the system to develop ways to improve the quality and the legal expertise of Tribunal adjudicators. And finally, we will review the Commission and Tribunal to ensure the efficient use of your tax dollars, the same process each and every government agency, board, and commission will be subjected to under a PC government, and ensure those dollars are used to support the most vulnerable in our society."

The provisions that Hudak refers to were changed in 2008, when it was decided that any complaints should go straight to the tribunal rather than through the intermediary of  the Ontario Human Rights Commission.  This move was controversial at the time, but  billed as a time-saving maneuver:  cases would be resolved more quickly by removing a step in the process.  So while there is an argument to be made for returning to the old ways, claiming (as Hudak has also  done) that it will help clear up the back-log of 4,000 unresolved complaints is ridiculous.  If anything, his proposed reforms will have the opposite effect.

And of course this is not the kind of change Randy Hillier supporters wanted when they threw their support to Hudak at the 2009 PCPO leadership convention.  They wanted the Tribunal axed.  Assuming you believe Hudak will do no more he says he will, his plan amounts to mere tinkering around the edges. 

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