Saturday, April 24, 2010

BC Human Rights Tribunal Rejects Guy Earle Defense: denied, denied, denied

BC Human Rights Tribunal (BCHRT) member Murray Geiger-Adams has published his first decisions in the Pardy vs. Earle/Ismail human rights case he recently presided over in Vancouver.

But don't get too excited:

Wait a minute. The hearing is weeks finished, and you still can't decide on jurisdiction? And after reviewing the evidence and watching all the witnesses testify, you still can't decide if there's any merit to the complaint? That just doesn't add up.

And 20 pages later, a trio of denials:

Responding to the decisions against him, Guy Earle had this to say.

More analysis to follow (and more analysis welcome in the comments). Stay tuned.

Monday, April 19, 2010

New Human Right: the right to Vacation?

"I'm Jennifer Lynch's travel agent."

Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC) chief Jennifer Lynch may have been a woman ahead of her time when she enjoyed a taxpayer-funded $8200 trip to Vienna in 2008. It's now clear she wasn't wasting public funds - Lynch was just an early adopter of the new human right to go on vacation.

Vacationing a human right, EU chief says
Katherine Laidlaw, National Post:

"The European Union has declared traveling a human right, and is launching a scheme to subsidize vacations with taxpayers' dollars for those too poor to afford their own trips"...
Human rights take a trip to la-la land
Tasha Kheiriddin, blogging for the Post:

"This announcement makes a complete mockery of the term “human rights”, which is already so abused as to have completely lost its meaning..."
(ahem, ahem, BCHRT re Guy Earle Trial)

It's true that a vacation has health benefits - stress-relief, family bonding, cultural-consciousness-raising, uptake in citizen morale and productivity upon return - so it's indeed a worthwhile activity for community and government to encourage.

But why create a new human right? A human rights insider explains:
"The human rights industry is growing increasingly more desperate for conditions and causes that justify their existence going forward. But really, it's the government jobs, government office space and taxpayer-paid expense credit cards they truly aim to preserve."

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Friday Update: Guy Earle Trial

We're currently awaiting the Tribunal's decisions on jurisdiction (timeframe: weeks) and James Millar's judicial review of same (timeframe: months). Site content is being compressed and commenting has been disabled to facilitate a low-maintenance archive of this human rights hearing.

Latest news and opinion:

Downtown Eastside Enquirer: Human Rights Trial: The Lesbian Who Won't Talk

Tony Wilson, The Globe and Mail: Human rights emerging as cost concern

Rex Murphy, National Post: Please don't call it 'human rights'

Brian Hutchinson, National Post: Funny business at B.C. human rights hearing

Tabatha Southey, The Globe and Mail: Canadian ruling on ‘offensive' comedy is a gag - but it's no joke

Margaret Wente, the Globe and Mail: A bad night at Zesty's and other tales of the rights tribunal

Morley Walker, Winnipeg Free Press: Yes, it's called a punchline but does that mean it should hurt?

Montreal Gazette: More "human rights" nonsense

Hugh MacIntyre, Western Standard Blogs: The damage is done in the Guy Earle case

Michael Smythe, The Province: Surreal spectacle should never have happened

Friday, April 9, 2010

Guy Earle Trial: Cousineau vs. Ismail Closing Submissions

Vancouver BC, April 9, 2010. British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal hears final arguments of Pardy vs. Ismail at 2pm.


To begin, a bit directly from my raw notes:
visitors and media receive COLD welcome today at BCHRT - reception on 11, 12 floor NOT friendly, NOT welcoming. No smiles - no name tags - no introductions - no warmth... HAHA rude woman on 12th floor calling loudly after us down hallway! (high-school vice principal?):

"Come back here!"... "Who are you, media? You need a seat assignment card!"... "What about that guy who already went in, does he have one?!"... she chases him into hearing room but he already has card... Judy Janet Mews on 11 gave out # 1-5 already, hello?...

12th floor door code changed - now 125 - because of my video? or do they change it every week?

media/visitors/public knowledge = adversarial to BCHRT goals? ie burden to tolerate, ie "we prefer to work in private" -- not just me feeling this, also reporter sitting beside me: "It's a contradiction" he says, referring to rude hospitality from organization touting respect and dignity among everyone. Instead: stink eye! to public taxpayer guests visiting their property to witness what goes on.

It's 2:05pm and we're waiting to start. The Hearing room design has improved since last Friday: tables have been moved closer together and the gallery now has one centre access aisle instead of one at either end. I wonder if they read my post "Inside the Hearing Room" and acted on the feedback?

Today the gallery is chock full of visitors, plus some ad-hoc chairs being used in the corner. Pardy's girlfriend Eda is sitting one row behind me, three seats to the right. The attending media surrounds her, ready with their pens and steno pads, some also using a digital recorder (allowed only to verify notes, no broadcasting). Several bloggers chatter the keys of their laptop computers. A few young female law students are taking notes and filling out some sort of questionnaire. I speak briefly to one man who claims no connection to the case, describing himself quietly as "just an outraged member of the public".

Lorna Pardy is present at the complainant's table. She looks good: well-rested, neat casual dress, clean and trendy shoes. She turns her head and makes direct eye contact with me five times today. Each time we look into each others' eyes for 2-3 seconds before she turns her attention back to the hearing.

I wonder if she knows who I am, as the publisher of this blog? If her & Eda have been following my posts, they know I use a MacBook Pro laptop. And today in the hearing room I was indeed the only person using such a computer. Did they make that connection? If so, do they have anything to say about all this? Ladies, feel free to email me.

Okay, shhhh, the submissions are about to begin:


Sam Ismail for respondent Salam Ismail (owner of Zesty's restaurant):
"First of all, there is huge amount of material to go through and sort out with this case. As you can see, you need a law office to put all these materials together with secretaries, typists and lawyers, and putting such a burden on us , giving us all this material to argue it here, and give us two days is like impossible mission. It's been frustrating for me, the last few days. I only type 15 or 20 words per minute. I would ask this hearing be adjourned for a week so I can put this together properly. I feel this has been shoved down my throat, I spent all night on it to get there but I couldn't. I ask, for fairness, that we be given another week."
Devyn Cousineau for Lorna Pardy:
"The tribunal has already been more than reasonable … the respondent was given over a week to prepare for the submission. We're ready to proceed, we cannot come back to argue this. We've had no notice of this issue, we are prepared to proceed today, we would like to proceed." [ed. note: Cousineau is very pregnant, due any day now]
Murray Geiger-Adams, Tribunal:
"I am prepared to listen to the complainant's submissions, and I'm prepared to give the respondent a further week to reply in writing."
"Lorna Pardy was a patron at Zesty's on May 22 when she was subjected to a brutal attack by Guy Earle. Miss Pardy and her friends were singled out on the basis of their sexual orientation ... The attacks were not part of a comedy routine ... They violated section 8 of the human rights code ... Lorna Pardy felt she had been assaulted, her ears were ringing, her hands were shaking, she was in shock ... Subsequent media coverage naming miss Pardy - including a YouTube video of Guy Earle painting miss Pardy as a drunken heckler, a militant lesbian looking for a fight - has left miss Pardy with generalized anxiety disorder, panic attacks, and PTSD."

I have the remainder of Cousineau's submissions on digital tape and will provide a transcript over the weekend. She covered a lot of ground and detailed technical legal aspects for almost two hours. She addressed witness credibility, legal issues surrounding the Tribunal's jurisdiction, creative expression vs. discrimination, was Mr. Earle a Zesty's employee under Human Rights code, what was his intention...

...and finally the Shakedown: Pardy wants an unspecified amount of compensation due to injury of dignity. Cousineau cited a sexual assault case as precedent for the Tribunal to consider when deciding how much to award. Really.

Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Guy Earle Trial Closing Arguments: Cousineau (Pardy) vs. Ismail (Zesty's)

The public is welcome to attend at 2pm tomorrow:

Cousineau vs. Ismail: I'll be there to provide word-for-word coverage appearing here by 5pm, April 9. Stay tuned.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Canadian Media Rips BC Human Rights Tribunal Over Heckler Hearing

You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order!

Rex Murphy, National Post: Please don't call it 'human rights'

Brian Hutchinson, National Post: Funny business at B.C. human rights hearing

Tabatha Southey, The Globe and Mail: Canadian ruling on ‘offensive' comedy is a gag - but it's no joke

Margaret Wente, the Globe and Mail: A bad night at Zesty's and other tales of the rights tribunal

Morley Walker, Winnipeg Free Press: Yes, it's called a punchline but does that mean it should hurt?

Montreal Gazette: More "human rights" nonsense

Hugh MacIntyre, Western Standard Blogs: The damage is done in the Guy Earle case

Michael Smythe, The Province: Surreal spectacle should never have happened

Al Pacino, And Justice For All: You're out of order! The whole trial is out of order!


Coming next: more video of Guy Earle's lawyer James Millar, addressing the press in the BCHRT hallway after walking out of the hearing on day one (I filmed the full 15 minutes, only published three minutes so far).

Also, more information coming soon about James Millar, Earl's lawyer, and Pardy's lawyer Devyn Cousineau. Stay tuned.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Final Trial Witness: Guy Earle was customer

Guy Earle's last supper [at Zesty's]: he paid $20 including $10 tip


It's 3pm on the last day of the Guy Earle trial and I'm sitting in BCHRT Hearing Room #4, waiting for the final witness to appear. Almost all 18 gallery seats are occupied. I recognize Brian Hutchison from the National Post, sitting one row ahead of me, one seat to the left, scribbling on a steno pad. I wonder how much he's getting paid for what I'm willing to do for free. [UPDATE: I'm joking! Apples and oranges, obviously] Many other media are also present, along with Earle/Pardy supporters and a few bloggers sitting to attention with hungry laptops perched on their knees.

I look across the room and type what I see into my MacBook Pro:
Sam and Salam Ismail appear more at ease than first day. No sweaty brows, no grim smiles. Confidence. Case is strong? - earlier testimony shows that Pardy did indeed heckle. Is exaggerating fear. Beer bottle threat very damning.

Lorna Pardy looks tired. Dark circles under her eyes. Trial taking it's toll? She was on the front page of the Province yesterday, looking like the bad guy. Ouch.

Sam Ismail calls Samantha to testify. She is a server who has worked at Zesty's for about 3 years and was working on the night of May 22, 2007:

"I was working at the restaurant that night with Brandy, a new server... I saw Earle break the sunglasses and I picked them up. He looked shaken, I said "What are you doing, what's going on?" and Guy said "They threw water in my face". I said "Whatever you do, just leave them alone."

Ismail: Did you ever feel that the ladies' safety was in danger at any time?

Samantha: No.

Ismail: Over and above the free beers for the comedians, did Mr. Earle spend any of his own money at the restaurant?

Samantha: Yes. He would usually have a meal and pay twenty dollars, including a ten-dollar tip for me.

Ismail: He was spending his own money?

Samantha: Yes.


Cousineau: Was it just you & Brandy working on May 22 2007?

Samantha: Yes.

Cousineau: And you weren't serving or paying much attention to Pardy, is that right?

Samantha: Yes.

Cousineau: You didn't hear Guy Earle talk to the women from the stage?

Samantha: Not really.

Cousineau: You didn't see Guy Earle approach the women"s table twice?

Samantha: No, but I saw him break the sunglasses. I picked them up.

Cousineau: After you picked up the sunglasses, what happened then?

Samantha: I took Guy aside and asked "What are you doing, what's going on?" and he told me they threw water in his face.

Cousineau: And what did you do then?

Samantha: I said "Whatever you do, just leave them alone."

Cousineau: I'm going to suggest you gave him another beer and said "that was it" for alcohol.

Samantha: Ok, yeah, probably.

Cousineau: Is that fair?

Samantha: Yes.

Cousineau: At any point did you approach miss Pardy and her friends to ask them what happened?

Samantha: No.


Ismail: Do you ever pay attention to the comedy as it's going on?

Samantha: Not really, I'm busy serving tables, serving customers.


Murray Geiger-Adams: When did you start working at Zesty's?

Samantha: October 2006.

MGA: How did you meet Guy Earle?

Samantha: February or March - I think it was spring - I was there when he came in and asked Salam about having an open-mic comedy night. Salam told him "We'll see".


Ismail: During the open mic comedy nights, was Guy Earle always the MC?

Samantha: Guy Earle was the main MC, but others would take turns. There was a core of 6 or 7 comedians who attended each week and sometimes they would introduce each other.


Cousineau: Was there an open comedy night before Guy Earle asked for one?

Samantha: No, on Saturdays we had the Laff Riot Girls and … Langara College sometimes...

Witness is excused.

Video Tour of British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal Facilities

Shortly after today's hearing ended, the entire 12th floor of 605 Robson street was vacant, allowing me to bring you this unprecedented view inside the BCHRT taxpayer funded public facility. It's a big place: