Help me win my Human Rights case as a disabled journalist


I need help to buy law books to win my Human Rights case for discrimination

By Stephen Pate, Indiegogo – I am a journalist with a twist – a disability. I had polio at age 3 and use a wheelchair due to post-polio syndrome.

I started working as a journalist at age 15 when the Halifax Mail Star published my weekly record review column. I became an entertainment journalist, later covering business and technology. In 2007, I established NJN Network as an online news journal covering local politics as well.

I am also a disability advocate for people living with disabilities. I’ve worked for the March of Dimes and Rotary, among the many not-for-profits, helping people with disabilities for 30 years.

I need help with the costs of legal reference books which will give me the knowledge needed to win a disability Human Rights Complaint against the PEI press gallery.

Stephen Pate, a Paul Harris Fellow, given a presentation on Human Rights at the Charlottetown Rotary Club

In 2009, the PEI press gallery revoked my press pass because in their words their was “no room in the inn” for a wheelchair-bound journalist who advocated for people with disabilities.

The press gallery took away the ability to do my job.

It’s hard to believe professionals would show disability prejudice in this era but things like this do happen. People often show prejudice due to ignorance and fear.

I was the first disabled journalist they had ever seen. They also did not like my quick adoption of new media when their journalism jobs were being threatened.

During the meeting to revoke my press pass, my volunteer work for people with disabilities was cited 10 times as reason to eject me. The press gallery said volunteer work for the disabled was the same as a paid political lobbyist.

They also said a blogger could not be a journalist, while they admitted they blogging in their jobs.

The charges are so obviously false it will be easy to refute them, if I ever get to the Human Rights Hearing.

On May 29, 2014 I will be arguing a Judicial Review Application by the Press Gallery that will impact the future of this case.

If I win the motion, we go back to the Human Rights Commission. If not, I face another 2 years in court before the matter is every heard.

This case will impact have a profound impact on the human rights of people with disabilities. We either have the right to free speech, freedom of association and our jobs or we don’t.

This is a classic David and Goliath battle that can be won. The press gallery has defended the Complaint with the backing of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC) and Transcontinental, the publisher of The Charlottetown Guardian.

Both of these corporations have human rights policies that prohibit discrimination but are fighting by proxy to keep me from returning to the PEI Legislature.

Does it seem odd that newspapers and TV stations would fight against freedom of speech, freedom of the press and volunteering to keep a wheelchair bound reporter from reporting the news?

The CBC has spent more than $70,000 in legal fees to keep the Human Rights Commission from conducting a public Tribunal or Hearing. While the CBC is not named in the case, through freedom of information I was able to get the lawyers’s invoices dating back to 2010. The CBC is paying the bills. The lawyer admitted that the case is called “Pate vs. CBC / Transcontinental”.

What I Need & What You Get

$2,756 will buy legal research books and multi-volume law libraries like “Judicial Review”, “Discrimination and the Law” and “Canadian Human Rights Reporter”. The rest of the funds will pay for the 3-9 supplements to the law libraries for one year.

Donate at Indiegogo

Donating is easy. Indiegogo have VISA or PayPal and they manage all donations.

The books are expensive and usually only law firms can afford them, which is how they win arguments in court by citing precedents to convince the judge.

Up to now, I read local and Canadian Supreme Court cases which established the complaint as reasonable at the Human Rights Commission.

The Judicial Review is a court proceeding with more technical rules and legal precedents. These books will give me the knowledge I need to win.

The Impact

I draw my courage and strength to fight to get my Press Pass reinstated from David Onley a disabled journalist in Ontario, who was appointed Lieutenant Governor by the Prime Minister of Canada.

Onley had been an Ontario press gallery member and disability advocate. Prime Minister Stephen Harper praised him for his dual role.

I have the intellectual skills and determination to win. With your support I will able to arm myself with the legal knowledge to successfully present the facts and law. Your funding will also establish a body of knowledge and precedent to be used to help other people with disabilities.

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper with Lieutenant Governor David Onley, a former journalist and disability advocate

If people with disabilities cannot work, they live on public funding. It saves taxpayers money when people with disabilities have meaningful jobs and get off public assistance.

Check out Indiegogo for some cool ideas for perks.

All of this has been very stressful but I will not quit. People with disabilities routinely face employment discrimination and rarely get justice. The system in Canada is stacked against them. The blind, lame, cognitive and learning disabled must either defend themselves or somehow hire a lawyer. Some provinces have partial legal aid but PEI has none.

I will write a letter of thanks to each contributor and keep you up-to-date on my progress.

Other Ways You Can Help

There are other ways you can help.

  • Share my Indiegogo campaign
  • Share or reprint stories about my case and progress from NJN Network
  • Write CBC President Hubert Lacroix expressing your outrage at their flagrant abuse of Human Rights law, their own Human Rights policies and common decency.

President Hubert Lacroix Canadian Broadcasting Corp. P.O. Box 3220, Station “C”, Ottawa, Ontario K1Y 1E4


By Stephen Pate, NJN Network

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