CBC Tells Human Rights Commission To Shut Up

CBC lawyer threatens PEI HRC (Photo S. Pate)
Alan Parish, lawyer for CBC, warns PEI Human Rights Commission it will cost HRC money if it speaks up in court

By Stephen Pate – The CBC got pretty nasty with the PEI Human Rights Commission when it warned the commission’s lawyer to shut up in court of face the consequences.

See CBC Tells Human Rights Commission To Shut Up Or Else

If the Human Rights Commission said one word in court or anything that contradicted him, CBC lawyer Alan V. Parish Q.C. would force the Commission to pay court costs.

“I believe the CBC would like me dead. It would suit their purpose of winning at all cost.  One more cripple gone, and a pesky one at that.”

Nova Scotia lawyers are not allowed bullying to thwart the purpose of a fair hearing, which should allowing the lawyer on the other side to speak.

The lawyer must discharge this duty by fair and honourable means, without illegality and in a manner that is consistent with the lawyer’s duty to treat the tribunal with candour, fairness, courtesy and respect and in a way that promotes the parties’ right to a fair hearing in which justice can be done. NS Code of Professional Conduct.


Mr. Alan V. Parish Q.C. is acting under instructions from his client, the CBC (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation).  Sounds like the CBC was getting ready for a hockey dust-up instead of acting like a publicly funded body with a mandate to actively support human rights.

The CBC do not want the human rights process to go ahead and will do anything to stop it.  The CBC is a hockey team that does not want the other team to get on the ice.

That’s not the image the CBC wants Canadians to believe. “Let me start with a quote, if I can” said CBC CEO Hubert Lacroix to Parliament,  “CBC/Radio-Canada considers all forms of discrimination, including discriminatory and sexual harassment, to be unacceptable; will not tolerate its occurrence.”

However on the ice, the CBC is no Wayne Gretzky-like gentleman but a real nasty enforcer throwing its weight around on and off the ice. Really nasty.

Shut up or pay

In May, I presented a Motion in Supreme Court of PEI to quash the Judicial Review of my human rights complaint and send it back to the Human Rights Commission where it should be played out.  The CBC wants a judge to award them the game in Pate-Gate before the Human Rights Panel had heard one shred of evidence.

The whole purpose of Human Rights Commission is to hear complaints about discrimination in an informal forum. In the preamble to the PEI Human Rights Act it states:

“AND WHEREAS it is deemed desirable to provide for the people of the province a Human Rights Commission to which complaints relating to discrimination may be made:”

The place to hear those complaints is not the Supreme Court with its formality. You go to the Human Rights Panel unless you up against are a bully like CBC and its lawyer Alan V. Parish Q.C. who want to push little people around.

The  Summerside Western Capitals are not forced into playing the Montreal Canadians at the Forum.  People would figure the game is unfair if those two teams were up against each other.

After three years of work, the PEI Human Rights Commission agreed to hold a Panel hearing and the CBC immediately filed to dismiss the Panel. Nice eh? If you think the deck is stacked in favor of big corporations and their lawyers, you are right. The CBC are trying to get a regional league game moved to the Montreal Forum where they have all the advantages.

I didn’t think the motion process would be easy. I didn’t know it was so stressful I would have a heart attack a month later.

There is plenty of precedent to not have the judicial review before the panel hears evidence. One man in Nova Scotia fought for 8 years all the way to the Supreme Court of Canada to have the Court decide that early judicial review is bad law. Halifax (Regional Municipality) v. Nova Scotia (Human Rights Commission)

A week after the May hearing, CBC had its lawyer Alan V. Parish Q.C. threaten the Human Rights Commission in an email. I can’t say it didn’t worry me because it did. Three weeks later I had my heart attack which the doctors said was caused by stress. I wasn’t sleeping before or after going to court.

I worried that if the PEI Human Rights Commission said nothing in court, I would be on my own against Alan V. Parish Q.C. the powerful CBC lawyer who was acting like a hockey enforcer.

We go back to court in November to finish the motion and I am getting worried again. I wake at night and worry. I worry in the day.

Will the PEI Human Rights Commission cave into the CBC’s threats. Who knows? The lawyer for the Human Rights Commission said she is not afraid of Alan Parish but I worry.

Ignore the polite language. The threat in Parish’s second item is serious. The HRC lawyer did not reply.

By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

See CBC Tells Human Rights Commission To Shut Up Or Else

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