Parking as a human right

I know there is some interest around The League about Canada’s Human Rights Commissions, and the silliness that often emanates. Well, how about this:

In a novel case before the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario in Ottawa Monday, Howson argued that the city discriminated against her on the grounds of family status by not letting her build a parking pad in front of her house.

Ms. Howson may have a legitimate complaint about zoning rules (though, the City claims she never applied for permission to build her parking pad), but perhaps the I’m-Being-Discriminated-Against card shouldn’t be pulled out quite so quickly.

It is, perhaps, telling that she’s a former investigator for the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

Jonathan McLeod

Jonathan McLeod is a writer living in Ottawa, Ontario. (That means Canada.) He spends too much time following local politics and writing about zoning issues. Follow him on Twitter.


  1. It is, perhaps, telling that she’s a former investigator for the Ontario Human Rights Commission.

    I have yet to hear anything good about any of the provincial HRC’s. How could something so well-intentioned have gone so terribly wrong?

    • Are you seriously asking how good intentions can lead people astray?

      • Well, not really all that seriously, if that’s what you’re asking.

        • I’ll attempt to give a (brief) reasoned answer.

          They exceeded their initial mandate (which was around ending housing discrimination), without any political approval, which led to them jumping whole hog into a lot of tricky areas which they were not equipped to address in terms of the makeup and structure of the HRCs and HRTs. The legal training of the HRCs is brutally inadequate where it exists at all, and the courts have been, until recently, relatively lax in reviewing their decisions.

          The reason they were allowed to get away with this is mainly political; it needs to get pretty egregious before anyone is will to stand up against ‘human rights’.

          The other big problem is the cost incentives. It costs nothing to bring a complaint, and the HRCs are ready to back any jackass with a complaint, provided it is one they find sexy. The problem is that to fight the process costs thousands of dollars, so it is easier usually to eat the fine mandated by the tribunal, or to simply lump whatever order they give you. It took a couple of assholes with a pulpit and some cash like Mark Steyn and Ezra Levant to really fight the issue to draw attention to it.

    • Burt:

      “How could something so well-intentioned have gone so terribly wrong?”

      That is the question I always ask about liberals. I enjoy reading about stuff like this as it provides endless amusement about those that see “right” everywhere and those that argue for such.

      • Everything’s gray. If you find someone who believes different, slap ’em silly.

  2. I have come this evening to talk with you on one of the greatest issues of our time — that is the preservation of human freedom. I have chosen to discuss it here in France, at the Sorbonne, because here in this soil the roots of human freedom have long ago struck deep and here they have been richly nourished. It was here the Declaration of the Rights of Man was proclaimed, and the great slogans of the French Revolution — liberty, equality, fraternity — fired the imagination of men. I have chosen to discuss this issue in Europe because this has been the scene of the greatest historic battles between freedom and tyranny. I have chosen to discuss it in the early days of the General Assembly because the issue of parking is decisive for the settlement of outstanding political differences and for the future of the United Nations.

    • If I was actively hostile to human rights I could not imagine a better way to trivialize them than to act exactly as the HRCs have done in Canada.

  3. Parking, per se, may not be a human right, but being able to do just about anything you want with your own property so long as doesn’t harm* others basically is.

    *the definition of which is, yes, the rub

  4. Ah the HRC’s, great monuments erected to prove that Canadians can be damn fools on occasion too.

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