B.C. Attorney General David Eby (Hansard TV)

B.C. bringing back independent human rights commission

Will create ‘more inclusive and just society’ says David Eby

The B.C. government has begun to restore B.C.’s Human Rights Commission, in addition to the Human Rights Tribunal that decides cases of discrimination brought forward by complainants.

“Every person deserves to be treated with dignity and respect,” said Attorney General David Eby, who presented legislation to establish an independent commissioner Thursday.

At a ceremony at the B.C. legislature, Eby said the restoration of the commission that was disbanded in 2002 comes at an appropriate time, with a “rising tide of hate” against ethnic and religious groups evident around the world.

A key task of the commission is “a public education function to reach out proactively to affected groups or individuals, but also to businesses, to community groups, to schools, to educate people about the importance of British Columbia being a welcoming place for everybody, where everybody has equality of opportunity,” Eby said.

Among the speakers was Jason Murray, chair of the B.C. Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs. He said education is important to move society away from the kind of ethnic and religious hatred that led to the synagogue shooting in Pittsburgh on Oct. 27.

Another speaker was Sara Robinson, a member of the Saulteaux and Fort Nelson First Nations in northern B.C., and a member of Eby’s advisory committee on the project. She said the commission is an asset in helping Indigenous women gain equality.

“Here in Canada, for 116 years, colonial legislation discriminated against Indigenous women and girls, and that created patterns of devaluation and violence that continue today,” Robinson said. “And we remain eight times more likely than the average woman for a violent incident to end in our murder.”

RELATED: University student with baby fetish files complaint

Former B.C. Liberal attorney general Geoff Plant phased out the commission in 2002, firing former commissioner Mary-Woo Sims after a series of controversial decisions. They included awarding $30,000 for lost wages and hurt feelings to a store clerk who refused to put poinsettias on display because he believed it violated his religious beliefs as a Jehovah’s Witness.

The new commissioner is to be an independent officer of the B.C. legislature, similar to the auditor general and other officers who are selected by an all-party committee.


@tomfletcherbc
tfletcher@blackpress.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Fayant receives a new lease on life from weight loss

Shedding that inner person on the verge of dying brings dramatic change

Editorial: We don’t think enough about our impacts on the world

Six eagles were killed, and six others were sickened after being poisoned.

New rowing centre may lead to solutions to Quamichan Lake’s algae problem

National focus could lead to more resources to deal with issue

Fuller Lake skaters showcase their talents

Cowichan Lake and District Skating Club hosts Cowichan Valley Showcase

VIDEO: Here’s what the B.C. legislature officers are accused of buying

Personal trips, purchases, alcohol and more laid out in 76-page report by Plecas

$20K pay gap between women, men in Canadian tech jobs

The report defines tech workers as people either producing or making extensive use of technology, regardless of industry

Catholic student says he didn’t disrespect Native American

Many saw the white teenagers, who had travelled to Washington for an anti-abortion rally, appearing to mock the Native Americans

Former Blue Jays ace Roy Halladay voted into Baseball Hall of Fame

M’s legend Edgar Martinez, Rivera, Mussina also make the grade

Why would the B.C. legislature need a firewood splitter?

First sign of police involvement in investigation of top managers

New Canada Food Guide nixes portion sizes, promotes plant-based proteins

Guide no longer lists milk and dairy products as a distinct food group

Judge annuls hairdresser’s forced marriage to boss’ relative

Woman was told she’d be fired if she didn’t marry boss’s Indian relative so he could immigrate here

Liberals look to make home-buying more affordable for millennials: Morneau

Housing is expected to be a prominent campaign issue ahead of October’s federal election

Most Read