Discrimination versus association

29 Aug 2013 Discrimination versus association

This writer hits the nail on the head This writer hits the nail on the head

. Our society (or more accurately, our political elite and our human rights professionals) are so afraid of the idea of discrimination, that even when “discrimination” is totally justifiable or even, dare I write it, good, then the gloves come off, the human rights police are dispatched and the offending persons or institutions are brought to heel.

Indeed, that is what seems to be going on with the change in Christian Horizons’ employment policy. They had a complaint a few years back which ended up in front of a human rights tribunal (see a summary of the facts of that case here). The tribunal ruled that, even though Christian Horizons was a Christian organization, they couldn’t limit their hiring to only Christians (or, if they could, the organization was not allowed to define what “Christian” meant in either doctrine or conduct).

As this column in the Ottawa Citizen correctly argues, limiting hiring to similarly identifying folks should not be seen as discrimination but rather association. The freedom of association is a fundamental freedom, protected by section 2(d) of the Charter. This argument corrects the false beliefs expressed in an earlier editorial in the same paper which suggests that the government can never contract with any association that defines itself as something, be it by creed or culture or philosophical or political outlook, etc.

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