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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Victoria byelection scheduled for April 4

The byelection will replace former Coun. Laurel Collins

Hazardous black ice coats Greater Victoria streets

Drivers, cyclists, pedestrians warned to be cautious

Saanich councillor feels new Walmart at Hillside a step in the wrong direction

‘We’ll all fail our climate goals if we don’t make radical changes to land use,’ says the councillor

Crystal pool advocates hold mixed feelings as Victoria explores previously studied sites

Local neighbourhood associations, swimming advocates vote for different locations

Fashion Fridays: Look your best this year

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

POLL: Has the recent snow had an impact on your daily life?

Old Man Winter had Greater Victoria in his icy grip this week.… Continue reading

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Jan. 14

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Canada to give $25,000 to families of each Canadian who died in Iran plane crash

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also made it clear that Canada still expects Iran to compensate victims

Oil and gas industry applauds Supreme Court’s dismissal of B.C. TMX case

The high court’s ruling Thursday removes one of the remaining obstacles for the project

Airliner crash a mistake that pleased Iran’s enemies: Supreme Leader Khamenei

Iran’s supreme leader says downing of Flight 752 was a bitter accident in rare sermon

Sub-zero B.C. weather freezes clothing in just 45 minutes

A local photographer decided to have some fun with the frosty weather before its gone

VIDEO: Missing cat reunited with Vancouver Island family after three months

‘It was like one day she was there, the next day she was gone,’ said owner

Most Read