AS THE WORLD TURNS: News Weekly
Canadian province may scrap human rights tribunal; Lithuanian president told to support Baltic gay march; UK Lib Dems' secret support base - Muslims; Stalin's Ukrainian famine; Why the left can't stand Sarah Palin
, May 15, 2010
Canadian province may scrap human rights tribunal
The Saskatchewan government may scrap its human rights tribunal in favour of having rights cases heard by the courts, the province's justice minister said on April 15.
Justice Minister Don Morgan said the province could dissolve the tribunal and turn its cases over to the Court of Queen's Bench - something that has been suggested by David Arnot, chief commissioner of the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission.
"This is a recommendation that's come forward and is a recommendation that, in fact, may have some merit. There are criticisms that the Saskatchewan Human Rights Tribunal may be seen as too close to the Saskatchewan Human Rights Commission," Mr. Morgan said in the legislature.
The commission is the body that receives and investigates human rights complaints and, in some cases, refers a complaint to the tribunal, a separate body that conducts a hearing.
[The] Saskatchewan government is still asking the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal to rule on the constitutionality of a proposed law that would exempt marriage commissioners from performing same-sex marriages for religious reasons.
Human rights bodies across the country have been accused in recent years of attempting to limit free speech or overstep their authority. The latest controversy involves a case before the British Columbia Human Rights Tribunal, in which a lesbian claims she was discriminated against by a stand-up comedian.
Other notable cases have included free speech campaigner Ezra Levant, co-founder of the Western Standard
magazine. Mr Levant had a complaint registered against him with the Alberta Human Rights and Citizenship Commission after the Western Standard
published cartoons depicting Muhammad. The complaint was withdrawn.Extract from: "Saskatchewan may abolish Human Rights Tribunal", National Post (Toronto), April 16, 2010.
URL: www.nationalpost.com/news/canada/story.html?id=2913111Lithuanian president told to support Baltic gay march
Amnesty International has called on the Lithuanian President, Dalia Grybauskaite, to ensure that the 2010 Baltic Pride march goes ahead on 8 May despite a new attempt to have it banned.
A Vilnius court is to rule tomorrow on a request by the country's interim attorney-general to ban the march on the grounds that it would constitute a threat to public order.
The parade is Lithuania's first in support of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and there is a strong possibility that counter-demonstrators may gather.
"If there is a threat to public order on the day of the march it will not come from its participants," said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International's expert on discrimination in Europe.
"The authorities are obliged under international and national law to guarantee rights of freedom of expression and assembly to all. They must tackle any threat to the march and not the march itself."
In March, over 50 Lithuanian parliamentarians tried to have the march banned, alleging that it would violate the controversial Law on the Detrimental Effect of Public Information on Minors, which came into force earlier this year.
Vilnius police have told organisers that measures will be put in place so that the risk of public disorder arising from actions of counter-demonstrators is negligible.
"The Baltic Pride march is a milestone for the rights of lesbian and gay people in Lithuania," John Dalhuisen said.
"The banning of the march, or the failure to ensure the safety of its participants, would send a signal to all Lithuanians, and the rest of the world, that human rights are only selectively upheld there."Extract from: "Lithuanian president must support Baltic Pride march", Amnesty International USA, news release, May 4, 2010.
URL: www.amnestyusa.org/document.php?id=ENGPRE011472010&lang=eUK Lib Dems' secret support base - the Muslims
British Muslims are abandoning their traditional support for Gordon Brown's Labour Party and instead look set to back Nick Clegg's Liberal Democrats in this week's election, community organisers have found.
A poll of British Muslims conducted last week found that almost three-quarters of respondents believed the Liberal Democrats offered fairer policies than either the Labour or Conservative parties.
Clegg's party is currently neck and neck with Labour, which has traditionally been supported by large swathes of the UK's 1.6 million Muslims.
After 13 years of a Labour government that has helped launch two unpopular wars against Islamic countries and passed counter-terrorism legislation that critics say unfairly discriminates against Muslims, it appears that support is melting away.
The YouElect poll found that 74 per cent of respondents thought the Liberal Democrats offered the fairest foreign policy, compared to just 19 per cent for Labour and five per cent for the Conservatives.
The Israeli-Palestinian conflict was overwhelmingly cited as the most important foreign policy concern amongst the Muslim voters surveyed, with Clegg's criticism of Israeli policies in the West Bank and Gaza playing particularly well them.Extract from: Andrew Wander, "UK Muslims 'backing Lib Dems'", Aljazeera.net, May 4, 2010.
URL: http://english.aljazeera.net/focus/britishelection/2010/05/20105312436485579.htmlStalin's Ukrainian famine
STRASBOURG, France - In a major turnaround in Ukrainian policy, new President Viktor Yanukovych said Tuesday that the 1930s Stalinist famine that killed millions should not be considered genocide against Ukrainians because it targeted its victims indiscriminately.
Yanukovych told the Council of Europe that he considered the famine "a shared tragedy" of all people who were all part of the Soviet Union, then led by Josef Stalin.
Yanukovych's stance is a complete shift from that of his predecessor, pro-Western President Viktor Yushchenko, who sought to have the famine recognised as genocide against Ukrainians. Since being elected in February, Yanukovych has sought closer ties with Russia.
Moscow has long pressed the view that the starvation should not be considered genocide.Extract from: "Yanukovych: 1930s famine was not Ukrainian genocide", Moscow Times, April 28, 2010.
URL: www.themoscowtimes.com/news/article/yanukovych-1930s-famine-was-not-ukrainian-genocide/404947.htmlWhy the left can't stand Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin is one of the most intriguing (and polarising) personalities to emerge on the national political stage in a long time. The way that many conservatives embrace her and many liberals vilify her illustrates in microcosm the yawning political divide in America today.
The connection between Sarah Palin and Ronald Reagan is fairly simple and straightforward. They share conservative convictions and a special gift of communication. Palin is reminiscent of Reagan in the way she resonates, inspires, and energises conservatives.
The left can't stand the fact that Palin, like Reagan, isn't one of them. Like Reagan, she is not an "intellectual". She doesn't share what Thomas Sowell dubbed "the vision of the anointed" - progressive elitists' unshakable faith in their grandiose plans for regimenting our lives.
To leftist intellectuals, it's okay to have a president who thinks he visited 57 states, a vice-president who has claimed that Franklin Roosevelt went on television to calm the people after the stock market crash of 1929 (no TV yet, and Hoover was president) and a Speaker of the House who has insisted that we must switch from fossil fuels to natural gas.
Indeed, it has been amazing to see the scorn, vitriol, and even hatred, directed toward this woman who dares to defy the left's narrow, preconceived notions of what political positions a female politician should be allowed to hold.Extract from: Mark W. Hendrickson, "Palin and the leftist elites", American Thinker, May 4, 2010.