A Disappointing Result
In November of 2005, CRIPE submitted another complaint to the United Nations Human Rights Committee based on the experiences of the Grant Tadman and Jeff Prentice.
In the submission — a new one, different from any past one – it was pointed out that religious discrimination was practiced by Roman Catholic separate schools in the employment and promotion of two teachers – Grant Tadman and Jeff Prentice – who were affiliated with The United Church of Canada. This discrimination was allowed because of a decision by the Supreme Court of Canada in the Daly case. The submission also complained that the previous decision against Canada – Waldman in 1999 – had not been resolved.
Considering the above, this submission was considered a “slam dunk” — everything was so clear. However, the submission was considered inadmissible
The first sign of a problem was the mysterious request from the UN for more clarification. Clarification? The content was so well documented that our subsequent “clarification” consisted of repeating much of what was in the original submission. Hind-sight now tells us that there was definitely some “funny business” going on.
The following account contains excerpts from a letter from our legal counsel.
Legal counsel reaction
We have now received the enclosed Decision of the Human Rights Committee rendered on the 22nd of July, 2008, ruling our Petition inadmissible pursuant to the Optional Protocol of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
My review of the Decision leads me to the conclusion that the UN Committee has reached a remarkably illogical finding which, in my opinion, runs directly contrary to all of the evidential circumstances cited in our Communication.
You will note that the Human Rights Committee has largely based its Decision on its position that Mr. Tadman and Mr. Prentice failed to exhaust all of their domestic remedies in Canada under article 5 paragraph 2(b) of the Optional Protocol. It is my strong opinion, that our Submission dealt with this issue in significant detail, and made it abundantly clear that, certainly in the case of Grant Tadman, he went to incredible lengths to exhaust every conceivable channel of recourse available to him during the many years that he suffered from discrimination under the Catholic Separate School Board administration.
It is somewhat disturbing to note in the Decision that the Committee has referred to the Supreme Court of Canada decisions in Reference re Bill 30 An Act to Amend the Education Act (Ontario) and the leading case of Daly vs the Attorney General where the Supreme Court of Canada, in rejecting the Daly appeal, made it legally impossible for any individual such as Grant Tadman or Jeff Prentice, to appeal the discriminatory aspects of the Ontario Education Act.
Notwithstanding, the citation of the Supreme Court of Canada decisions, the Human Rights Committee somehow felt that there were other remedies that Mr. Tadman and Mr. Prentice could have pursued in the Canadian jurisdiction.
Inequitable and unjust
What is extremely inequitable and unjust in this particular finding of the Committee, is that under the Optional Protocol Rules, it is made clear that in circumstances where further pursuit of domestic remedies would prove futile, the applicant, under the International Covenant, is not required to actually initiate further appeals. As you and I are both aware, this concept of futility is particularly relevant to the Tadman/Prentice situation as our legal system of stare decisis, or the binding effect of precedent, would have rendered all tribunals and courts in Canada without authority to deal with any further appeals commenced in this regard.
You will also note in the Human Rights Committee conclusion that the Committee felt that “… to the extent that the present communication addresses the same issues decided in Waldman the Communication is inadmissible under article 1 of the Optional Protocol.”
Once again, this finding lacks rational basis. The original Tadman petition in the late 1990’s was initiated on a totally different foundation as Grant Tadman, et al., were filing a claim based on their religious affiliation and not in the context of their status as teachers within the Separate School Board system of Ontario.
I am somewhat shocked that the Human Rights Committee has not taken this opportunity to at least criticize Canada/Ontario for its failure to implement the directions found in the Waldman Decision of 1999. We clearly gave them such an opportunity through the substance of our Petition, and I am dismayed that the Committee has failed to use this occasion to note Canada’s failure to enforce the provisions of section 2 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
Committee went out of its way
I believe you will also be in agreement with my observation that the Human Rights Committee citation of the factual circumstances surrounding Grant Tad-man’s long standing grievances against the Catholic Separate School Board is somewhat twisted and selectively chosen. In effect, it is my feeling, upon reading this section of the Decision, that the Committee went out of its way to point out those areas where Grant Tadman had not pursued his grievance or claim to the full extent of the Law.
Tadman is remarkable
It would be my judgement that Grant Tadman is a truly remarkable individual who exercised domestic legal remedies to a degree which went well beyond what one might expect in all of the circumstances. Given the finality of the Daly Decision and the Supreme Court of Canada rejection of an appeal, surely, it was within the jurisdiction of the Human Rights Committee to make a finding that futility of domestic remedies was apparent.
Once, when urged to run for political office, the Amazing Kreskin, (a well-known mentalist) answered:
“Here’s my position. I refuse to become involved in politics, I have much more respect for organized crime, and I think that says it all.”
I’m sure Kreskin would feel his statement on politics is supported if he read about the experience of Tadman and Prentice at the U.N..