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Human Rights Law Commission, sue thyself

Western Standard Magazine, AB, by Kevin Steel, Page 11, May 8, 2006

Human rights commissions, those notorious quasi-judicial enforcers of political correctness, have earned a reputation as kangaroo courts. But perhaps the Read More ..t zoological description these days might be that of a dog chasing its own tail, now that an Alberta man has laid a human rights complaint against the commission itself.

Earl Silverman, a Calgary men's rights advocate, filed a complaint against the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission on March 21, accusing staff there of traumatizing him by refusing to take his case seriously. Back in 1997, Silverman came to the commission to take action against Alberta Family and Social Services. His beef? The provincial agency had plenty of support systems for female victims of domestic violence, but when he called up, as a male victim looking for support, the agency couldn't help him. Things only got worse. When I called Alberta Human Rights, they put me in contact with the women's policy adviser, and the first thing I asked her was I could speak with the mens policy adviser he says. And she said, Men don't need any!

The program coordinator of Family of Men Support Society says he still carries that experience with him, in the form of post-traumatic stress disorder. Last July, he says, the strain even resulted in him losing his job. By trivializing the concerns of male victims of abuse, he says, the human rights commission supports gender bias and the agenda of women/victims, men/ perpetrators! He may be right. According to a study on domestic violence released last year by Statistics Canada, four per cent of men said they are currently in a relationship where they face abusehigher than the three per cent of women who said the same thing.

Sheesh. If even the human rights commissions are hotbeds of prejudice, then exactly who's supposed to sit in judgment over them never mind the rest of us? Cassie Palamar, manager of educational services at the Alberta commission, says she is unable to comment on specific complaints, but she says that for a case like this, she would need outside help. Generally, I can say it would be inappropriate for the commission to investigate itself in a fair and neutral manner she says.

Silverman says he was told that the Saskatchewan commission would likely take this complaint. Why doesn't he just take the commission to a real court? The answers obvious: I don't have money for a lawyer he says. This doesn't cost anything.