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

Annual women’s march in Courtenay Saturday

The Women’s March was a worldwide protest on Jan. 21, 2017, to… Continue reading

Portables arrive for students on Hornby Island

Five portable classrooms have officially arrived on Hornby Island this week in… Continue reading

Cumberland multi-use development given the go-ahead despite parking concerns

Rideout Construction will pay $91,200 in lieu of 24 parking stalls

Union Bay police standoff ends peacefully

A police standoff in Union Bay was resolved peacefully Monday evening. According… Continue reading

First North Island College Artist Talk Series of 2019 features Barb Hunt

Internationally renown Canadian artist speaks at Stan Hagen Theatre

VIDEO: Car flies across median, flips over edge of B.C. overpass

Dash cam footage shows vehicle speeding across Brunette Avenue overpass in Coquitlam

Bob Castle’s Under The Glacier cartoon for Jan. 15, 2019

Bob Castle’s Under The Glacier cartoon for Jan. 15, 2019… Continue reading

Razor burn: Gillette ad stirs online uproar

A Gillette ad for men invoking the #MeToo movement is sparking intense online backlash

Feds poised to bolster RCMP accountability with external watchdog

Long-anticipated move is the latest attempt at rebuilding the force following years of sagging morale

Canada needs a digital ID system, bankers association says

The Department of Finance last week officially launched its public consultation on the merits of open banking

Second fatal crash occurs in Alberni Valley

Traffic on Highway 4 is being re-routed as investigators are en route

Indigenous energy summit includes session on pipeline ownership options

Steven Saddleback of the Indian Resource Council says a session will feature presentations on financing models

Japanese grand champion Kisenosato retires from sumo

The 32-year-old Kisenosato was the first Japanese-born wrestler in 19 years to gain promotion to sumo’s highest rank

UPDATE: Accused B.C. high school killer found fit to stand trial

Gabriel Klein is accused in the 2016 stabbing death of Letisha Reimer at Abbotsford Senior Secondary

Most Read