Letter to the editor in the Saint Catharines Standard by ARPA Niagara’s Ralph Vis, in response to the human rights complaint against the distribution of Gideon Biblies in a Nigara area shcool:
Re:Rights complaint lodged against DSBN(March 2).
When a complaint is launched with the Human Rights Tribunal in Ontario, its job is to weed out complaints that are frivolous or don’t fall within its jurisdiction. An individual being denied a service — accommodation, employment or the use of a facility based on race, age, sex, etc. — constitutes a valid complaint.
The Chouinard’s children weren’t denied or withheld anything; they simply find the Bible offensive and therefore want to suppress everyone else’s freedom to receive a copy at school. The fact that the Tribunal entertains this bigotry is a waste of taxpayer money and demonstrates how far it has deviated from its purpose.
The District School Board of Niagara should be commended for its inclusive policy. No children were forced to read or even accept a copy of these Bibles. Had the Chouinard’s children been suspended from school or given detention for refusing the Bibles, a complaint would be valid. If the tribunal makes a judgment in favour of the Chouinards, an appeal could be made by the board to a real court and heard by a qualified judge. Precedents indicate a judge would likely overturn the decision of the tribunal on the grounds that it overreached its interpretation of the Human Rights Code.
Much incompetence has been displayed by all the human rights commissions and tribunals in Canada in the last number of years. It’s time Canadians stand up and demand they be abolished or replaced.
Ralph Vis Association for Reformed Political Action Niagara Dunnville