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

“Does Kirby care?” Heiltsuk Nation using geo-targeted ads in Houston, Texas for justice

The Heiltsuk Tribal Council has called out Kirby Corporation for the Nathan E. Stewart oil spill

“No excuse” for killing of two young grizzly cubs

Reader hopeful someone will come forward with information

UPDATE: U.S. firm fined $2.9M for fuel spill that soiled B.C. First Nation territory

The Nathan E. Stewart spilled 110,000 litres of diesel and heavy oils in October 2016

No delivery services hard on local families

New parents Candace Knudsen and Bjorn Samuelsen spent five weeks away from home

Rich the Vegan scoots across Canada for the animals

Rich Adams is riding his push scooter across Canada to bring awareness to the dog meat trade in Asia

Canadian high school science courses behind on climate change, says UBC study

Researchers found performance on key areas varies by province and territory

Six inducted into BC Hockey Hall of Fame

The 26th ceremony in Penticton welcomed powerful figures both from on and off the ice

RCMP investigate two shootings in the Lower Mainland

Incidents happened in Surrey, with a victim being treated at Langley Memorial Hospital

CRA program to help poor file taxes yields noticeable bump in people helped

Extra money allows volunteer-driven clinics to operate year-round

Recall: Certain Pacific oysters may pose threat of paralytic shellfish poisoning

Consumers urged to either return affected packages or throw them out

How a Kamloops-born man helped put us on the moon

Jim Chamberlin did troubleshooting for the Apollo program, which led to its success

Sexual harassment complaints soaring amid ‘frat boy culture’ in Canada’s airline industry

‘It’s a #MeToo dumpster fire…and it’s exhausting for survivors’

Most Read