Human rights commissions originally were set up in the 1960s and ’70s to provide quick, cheap justice for Jews, women, blacks — and, later, gays — who were victims of bald-faced prejudice, often at the hands of employers and landlords who were outright bigots. The intentions behind the HRC scheme were unimpeachable: In the days when hotels turned away visible minorities, gay-bashing was common, and women weren’t considered for good jobs, human rights commissions really did serve a needed purpose.
But Canada has changed: To the nation’s great credit, racism, sexism and homophobia have become rare in Canadian public life. And so HRCs increasingly have become the domain of cranks with fringe complaints. (In other cases, they have been exploited by umbraged ex-workers looking for a cost-free pressure tactic to wrest a fatter settlement out of a former employer.) The original purpose of these commissions — preventing Canadians from being victimized by real racism of the “No dogs or Jews” or “Blacks need not apply” variety — has thankfully little relevance to our modern pluralistic society.Too true. The problem is that between the 1960s and '70s and now an entire "human rights" industry has sprung up, people for whom such "human rights" mishegas is their bread and butter (and, oh yeah, the means through which they acquire and wield power). And they aren't going to go away without a fight.