I prefer living with space lizards
Human rights commissions seem to believe that Canadians have some surprising rights
MARK STEYN | February 27, 2008 |
What does Maclean's have in common with a labiaplasty and blood-drinking space lizards from the star system Alpha Draconis?
Well, they're all part of the wacky world of Canadian "human rights."
First things first: what is a labiaplasty? Well, it's a cosmetic procedure performed on the female genitalia for those who are dissatisfied with them. I think I speak for many sad male losers living on ever more distant memories when I say that I find it hard to imagine being dissatisfied with female genita . . .
What's that? Oh, it's the women who are dissatisfied are they? Ah, right. Well, there's the rub. The Ontario Human Rights Commission is currently weighing whether or not to become the (at last count) third "human rights" commission in Canada to prosecute Maclean's for the crime of running an excerpt from my book. The Globe And Mail's Margaret Wente was interested to know what Canada's vast "human rights" machinery does when it isn't sticking it to privately owned magazines, so she swung by the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal to check out the action. And it seems the reason they haven't yet dragged Maclean's into court is because they're tied up hearing the case of two women who claim they were denied their human right to a labiaplasty by a Toronto plastic surgeon who specializes in that particular area. The women proved to be post-operative transsexuals who were unhappy with some of the aesthetic results of their transformation, and Dr. Stubbs declined to perform the procedure on the grounds that he usually operates on biological females and is generally up to speed on what goes where and, when it comes to transsexuals, he had no idea what he was, so to speak, getting into. Had he done it and it had all gone horribly wrong, the plaintiffs would have sued his pants off. So, as a private practitioner, he chose to decline the business, and as a result now finds himself in Human Rights Commission hell.
As Ms. Wente pointed out, you can see what got the "human rights" commissars' juices going: here was an opportunity to lay down a lot of landmark "jurisprudence" on the issue of "transsexuals' access to medical care," and if, in the end, it destroys Dr. Stubbs and his business, hey, that's a price worth paying: the human right to a labiaplasty is too important to a free society. So the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal is solemnly deliberating on whether the party of the first part is obliged to take apart the party of the second part's parts.
Dr. Stubbs is a big-shot plastic surgeon, so, like Maclean's, he can probably withstand a few years of "human rights" heat. The system is risk-free for the plaintiff: the Crown picks up the tab for the "complainant," while the "respondent" — i.e. defendant — has to pay his own legal bills no matter what the eventual verdict is. Ted Kindos of Burlington, Ont., has already spent $20,000 of his own dough defending himself against a "human rights" complaint and estimates he'll add another six figures to that before it's all done. Mr. Kindos owns a modest restaurant, Gator Ted's Tap and Grill. So what outrageous "human right" did he breach? Well, he asked a guy smoking "medical marijuana" in the doorway of his restaurant if he wouldn't mind not doing it. Mr. Kindos felt that his customers — including young children — shouldn't have to pass through a haze of pot smoke to enter his establishment. But apparently in Canada there's a human right to light up a spliff in some other fellow's doorway. The other man's grass is always greener, and in this case the plaintiff's grass will cost Mr. Kindos an awful lot of green. He faces financial ruin, while there's no cost to the complainant.
The "human rights" racket is a disgrace. Canadians are not notably "hateful" people. To be sure, deep in the human heart lurk dark prejudices that may occasionally be furtively expressed to like-minded persons over a drink or two. But discrimination in housing and employment on the grounds of gender and race — the original justification for creating the "human rights" pseudo-courts — is all but extinct, so a self-perpetuating nomenklatura has moved on to invent new rights — like the human right to a labiaplasty or a joint on someone else's property. You'll recall the Osgoode Hall law students who objected to my book excerpt in Maclean's demanded a five-page cover story in response, unedited, with the students determining the artwork and the cover art, along with a financial contribution to their "cause." As any self-respecting publisher would, Kenneth Whyte told them he would rather go bankrupt — much as Mr. Kindos seems likely to. The Osgoode students have since explained that they went to the "human rights" enforcers because they were only trying to "start a debate," and mean old Maclean's was preventing their voices from being heard. They have repeated this mournful plea in lengthy editorials they've written for, at last count, the Globe And Mail, the National Post, the Toronto Star, the Toronto Sun, the Ottawa Citizen, the Calgary Herald, the Montreal Gazette, the Halifax Chronicle-Herald, the London Free Press, and no doubt a few other publications. That's the reality of Canada's "Islamophobic" media: they've been given acres of op-ed real estate to yell that their voices are being silenced and all they want to do is start a debate — even though, in none of their many columns, do they actually start it.