The debate got much more interesting, though, when we started talking about the functioning of human-rights commissions themselves. To my surprise, members of the CJC delegation acknowledged that the folks who staff these commissions are sometimes incompetent, and thus — as I have argued — give the adjudication of human rights a bad odour. (I won’t name names here, because the CJC clearly sees these commissions as allies, and I don’t want to embarrass anyone.)
I also sensed agreement that Ontario human rights commissioner Barbara Hall had overplayed her hand with her creepy April communiqué demanding more censorship powers for her provincial outfit.
One of the CJC delegates went further, pointedly declaring that human-rights commissions had become dumping grounds for political hacks without the skills to make it in truly merit-based jobs. He had the air of a man whose dream was being stifled by bad execution.
The editorial board jumped on this admission. To wit: If the people staffing these commissions are boobs, why would we trust them with the responsibility to police our most basic democratic right — the right to express oneself on matters of public interest?