A human rights complaint involving the P.E.I. legislative assembly’s press gallery has made its way to the courts after the defendants filed an application for a judicial review.
Charlottetown Guardian – In 2010, Stephen Pate filed a complaint with the P.E.I. Human Rights Commission alleging members of the P.E.I. legislative assembly press gallery discriminated against him because of his disability.
Guardian reporters Wayne Thibodeau and Teresa Wright were also named in the complaint, along with CBC producer Donna Allen, who were all members of the press gallery.
They denied the allegations of discrimination.
The application for a judicial review was filed April 29 after P.E.I. Human Rights Commission chair Anne Nicholson overturned an earlier decision to dismiss the complaint.
The judicial review request is asking a P.E.I. Supreme Court judge to overturn that decision and revert back to the executive director’s decision to dismiss Pate’s complaint.
None of the allegations have been proven in court or before a human rights panel.
Editors note – the main reason CBC and the Charlottetown Guardian are going to court is to stop the Human Rights process. They likely don’t want to the public to know the details of the complaint that they discriminated against a journalist with a disability and tried to stifle free speech and a free press on Prince Edward Island.
Related stories –
Eastern Graphic – Media wrong in Pate-gate
Pate is self represented and the complaint runs over 330 pages with more than 200 exhibits, including an audio recording of the meeting which forms the basis of the complaint. During the meeting, the respondents stated 10 times they objected to an advocate, or lobbyist as they called it, for a disability organization in their membership.
Important dates – On November 2, 2012 the Executive Director of the PEI Human Rights Commission (PEI HRC) dismissed the complaint because he found it had no merit.
On December 2, 2012, Pate filed a request for a review by the Chairperson of the PEI Human Rights Commission.
Before that panel could be organized, the respondents, represented by a CBC and Guardian appointed lawyer, filed a motion on to cancel the human rights panel. This is a legal tactic to delay, stall or end the human rights process.
The court can refuse to hear the judicial review until after the public panel hearing, send the decision back to the Chair of the PEI HRC, stay all proceedings, among other decisions.
This sidebar is summary of the Complaint and is not a complete legal statement of the complaint. Specific details of the complaint and response are confidential until they are revealed in court or at a human rights panel.