Friday, May 22, 2009

The National Post on Reforming the Ontario Human Rights Commission

In a thoughtful editorial, the National Post analyzes the positions of the candidates for the leadership of the Ontario Conservative Party on the reform of the Ontario Human Rights Commissions. Randy Hillier, the most right wing (actually libertarian) candidate, has put the issue on the agenda with a clear cut stance of abolishing the HRC. Tim Hudak, the leading candidate, who is identified with the Party's majority right wing (the Harris wing), has moved to secure his flank by picking up the issue and basically agreeing with Hillier. It is not clear whether his position is motivated by a clear understanding of the issue and is a serious matter of principle, as it clearly is with Hillier, or not.

Christine Elliot, has said that the adoption of such a plank would be a gift to the Liberals. She obviously thinks the public would be against abolishing the HRC and that "human rights" is not something the Conservatives want to be perceived as running against. She favors the status quo, injustices and all.

That leaves Frank Klees, who I would have expected to be leading the charge on this one, on the sidelines. If Klees falls into line with Hillier and Hudak and if this issue actually get discussed in detail, it should ensure that the Party makes this a policy position going into the next election. As the National Post editors point out, the public needs more information on this issue and the proposals need to be clarified and fleshed out. People will reasonably ask what mechanism will replace the HRC's and clear answers need to be at hand.

I agree with the National Post, though, handled well this issue could serve the Conservatives well in the next election. With the NDP predictably defending bureaucratic political correctness and the Conservatives gaining support from the left for its defense of free speech, the Liberals may just find themselves squirming and eventually coming over to the point of view that the HRC's need weeding, if not pruning.


Stephen said...

Did you notice the editorial in today's Toronto Star that took the exact opposite opinion of the HRC? I found it very amusing. :)


Craig Carter said...

It just shows where the Toronto Star stands on human rights issues - right alongside the thought police and those who would take away free speech.