The Tyranny of Nice is at it again. Another reason to fire them all. Racial epithets are silly, but should one immediately go to an hrc over them? This is just another shakedown.
The Human Rights Tribunal was established, its website says, "to hear and rule on complaints concerning discrimination and harassment grounded on one of the motives prohibited under the Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms. It can also hear cases concerning the exploitation of elderly people and people with disabilities as well as matters concerning affirmative action programs." You can't go to the tribunal, which is essentially a court, until your complaint has been through the Human Rights Commission.
The 2007 incident in question involves a white truck driver who parked in a bus lane. When a black Societe de transport de Montreal inspector gave him a ticket, the truck driver used a racial insult, apparently trying to belittle the inspector in front of white police officers. For his hurt feelings, the STM employee was awarded "moral damages" of $7,500 and punitive damages of $500. Even more ridiculously, the truck driver's employer must pay a big chunk of the fine.
In 2008-9, the tribunal disposed of only about two dozen cases, most of them focused on complaints of racial discrimination in housing, alleged hiring bias against older people and the handicapped, a taxi driver who refused service to his former brother-in-law, claims of racial profiling, and so on. That's an awfully small workload. At least none of the cases listed appear to be quite as trivial as this one, or as badly decided.
Cases such as this have made human-rights bureaucracies across Canada what they are today: sources of both amusement and alarm, rigidly enforcing absurd political correctness while blithely ignoring the realities of society. Nobody pretends that Quebec is a human-rights nirvana, so why on Earth can't this tribunal find itself some serious work to do?