Those whom the Gods would destroy: ‘Entitlement’ on steroids

“A woman hired as an Indigenous-affairs consultant for the city has resigned after a short stint and filed a human rights complaint against her former employer… she quit, claiming the city violated her right to practise smudging, which involves sacred medicine as part of Indigenous ceremony… She then filed a complaint with the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal (1)”.

“Smudging” involves burning plant material, and this person actually expected to be able to perform smudging indoors, in an office environment… I worked in Toronto’s New City Hall for 15 1/2 years, and none of the windows can be opened. Air is constantly circulated within and throughout each of the two towers, and in the levels below the towers…

See also “How to perform a smudging ritual and prayer” (2), it includes guidelines, including the caution to “Only smudge in your own living or work space. If it belongs to someone else, or even if you have someone living with you, be sure to ask for his or her permission to smudge before you begin. Smudging without the owner’s permission can cause turmoil and strife that will negate your attempts to cleanse negative energies.”

Yep, you got that right!

Next, we have the sad story from Pickering of the parents of two children suffering from epidermolysis bullosa, which we are told is a very rare genetic condition, affecting around one person in 30,000, that results in extremely fragile skin prone to chronic blisters and open wounds.

Nothing but sympathy here, but I really don’t think it realistic or reasonable to demand air conditioning in their classrooms. They have been offered “alternate accommodations such as placing household fans in the children’s classrooms, or allowing them to go to the office or library when they want to cool down”, but that is not good enough for the parents…

Additionally, “The school board also offered to transfer the children to a school in Ajax that is fully air-conditioned, however the family is concerned that it is far from home and doesn’t offer French immersion.”

Ajax and Pickering are pretty-much side-by-side, and there is no essential need for “French immersion” in southern Ontario, it is purely optional… and yet these two relatively minor factors are more important than their childrens’ painful skin condition? Just look at the parents, posing for the camera, grinning happily – “look at us, we filed a human rights complaint”!

Perhaps they need to realise that the inconvenience caused by their children’s unfortunate affliction is not the exclusive responsibility of the school board and the taxpayers.  Their being so inflexible and demanding is not likely to earn them any sympathy whatsoever, and certainly not from me.

I have written previously about the sometimes astonishingly inconsiderate claims for privileged status, usually consisting of the “entitlement” to break noise by-laws with impunity, by the parents of children with autism.

More recently, we have a case where a woman who managed to get herself “barred for life” from the Durham College Campus Recreation and Wellness Centre as the result of an “incident” that took place eight years ago when she was a student, has retained a lawyer to – you guessed it – file a human rights complaint; see “Former Durham College student seeks to overturn lifetime ban from campus building” (4).

While we are not told precisely what happened, we do know that she is autistic, and she was not taking her prescribed medications at the time of the incident. As her lawyer puts it, she experienced a “moment of crisis”, which moment appears to have impressed the school administration so convincingly that they still consider her a “safety threat” to this very day.

According to her lawyer, “It’s absurd to think that someone with a disability should spend the rest of her life not being permitted access to a facility where public events are regularly held… So much for Durham College’s claims to respect inclusiveness and diversity.”

I’m fairly sure that committing violence or property damage, jointly or singly and/or in combination with whatever else she might have done, should not in themselves entitle her to the protections of the human rights act, but there you have it; they are going to file a human rights complaint anyway!

I can’t wait to see if we finally get to find out just exactly what it was that she did eight years ago, it must be the stuff of which legends are born…

Jeff Goodall.

(1) – See “T.O.’s Indigenous consultant quits amid human rights complaint” (Sept. 22nd) here.

(2) – See “How to perform a smudging ritual and prayer” (updated July 2015) here.

(3) – See “Durham parents file human rights complaint over lack of school air conditioning” (Sept. 8th) here.

(4) – See “Former Durham College student seeks to overturn lifetime ban from campus building” (Sept. 14th) here.

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