Ontario Human rights Reform - A call to Action

URGENT-- JOIN OUR "DIAL DALTON" CAMPAIGN!

PHONE DALTON MCGUINTY'S OFFICE TODAY -- TELL HIS OFFICE TO WITHDRAW TONIGHT'S "CLOSURE MOTION" WHICH WILL SHUT DOWN PUBLIC HEARINGS ON THE CONTROVERSIAL BILL 107

November 21,2006

SUMMARY

We urgently need as many people as possible to phone Premier Dalton McGuinty's office at 416-325-1941.

Ask to talk to the Premier.

Tell whoever answers that the Government must call off tonight’s motion to shut down the public hearings on the controversial Bill 107.

Bill 107 is the McGuinty Government's widely criticized proposal to weaken the Human Rights Commission. It would force discrimination victims to investigate their own human rights cases.

Tell the Premier's office that it is utterly unfair to cancel public hearings for community groups and individuals who have waited for months for a chance to have their say on this controversial bill. The Government shouldn't use its majority in the Legislature to muzzle the many who have concerns about this bill. Whether the bill is a good bill or a bad bill, people deserve the chance to have their say. This is especially so since the Government refused to hold an open, accessible public consultation on human rights reform before it brought forward this bill, despite the calls from many for such a consultation.

This closure motion is a breach of the Government's earlier commitments on affording hearings to everyone who wants to present. Even as late as last week, the Legislature's Standing Committee on Justice Policy unanimously approved a report scheduling hearings through December, and asking the Legislature to permit hearings to continue into the winter. Some 200 people had signed up.

The Government is using tax dollars to advertise public hearings that the McGuinty Government is now going to cancel. This is inconsistent with the Government's commitments to bring democratic renewal to Ontario.

Please make your call to the Premier's office today. Get others to do so as well. The closure motion is scheduled to be argued tonight. We expect it to be voted on tomorrow. Every call helps.

From today’s Toronto Sun:
Grits to push through rights bill
Foes outraged over quick end to debate
By ANTONELLA ARTUSO, QUEEN'S PARK BUREAU CHIEF

The Dalton McGuinty government is pushing through its controversial overhaul of the province's human rights system.
Opponents of Bill 107, who'd been signed up since July to speak against it at committee, were outraged to learn yesterday that the government plans to pass the bill this week by curtailing public consultations and legislative debate.
Disability advocate David Lepofsky accused the government of trying to "muzzle" people with disabilities, racial groups and other vulnerable communities.

"This is the most blistering slap in the face that Dalton McGuinty could do to people with disabilities that are seeking human rights protection," Lepofsky said.

NDP House Leader Peter Kormos said people should have the right to be heard on legislation of this magnitude.

"This is the very sort of heavy-handedness that had the Liberals squealing like stuck pigs when the Tories did it," Kormos said.

Bill 107 changes the mandate of the Ontario Human Rights Commission, stripping it of its role as gatekeeper, investigator and advocate for complainants before the Ontario Human Rights Tribunal.

Attorney General Michael Bryant has said his proposed changes would free up the commission to look into complaints of systemic discrimination.

Individuals would no longer need the commission's approval to take their case before the tribunal, he said.

A legal support program, similar to legal aid, would be set up to provide needy clients with lawyers.

Opponents argue that Bill 107 essentially privatizes human rights in Ontario, leaving vulnerable individuals to pick their own way through a daunting system.