Jack Philips, the owner of the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Lakewood Colorado is the owner of the infamous “Gay Cake” refusal.
Quite simply, he refused to create a wedding cake for 2 men, David Mullins and Charlie Craig, about to marry. He reasoned that he would have to act against his religious beliefs.
Craig and Mullins filed a complaint with the Colorado Civil Rights Commission (similar to Privincial human rights commissions, in Canada). It ruled against Philips, claiming religion was just an excuse to justify bigotry.
So, Philips took his case to the Colorado Court of Appeals. The C.C.A. ruled that no religion had to be endorsed, but that service couldn’t be refused on protected grounds, such sexual orientation.
Finally, the case went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which eventually ruled in the baker’s favour. However, critics complain that the ruling was on overly narrow grounds and did not actually make much of a precident. It wouldn’t address questions for florists, photographers, caterers, or others with a similar dilemma. The Supreme Court did however find the Civil Rights Commission was overly hostile to Philips.
The ruling sparked mixed opinions. Philips claims he has since had people calling to make ridiculous cakes, such as Satan cakes and cakes in the form of sex objects.
But now, Jack Philips is back in the news, and for basically the same reason: refusing to bake a cake for a transgender person named Autumn Scardina, celebrating the 7th anniversary of a gender change.
However, there is more than just a whiff of a conflict of interest here. Scardina is a lawyer whose firm does cases of employment disputes.
The Colorado Civil Rights Commission has ruled that in principle this appears to be a discrimination case. So it would seem that matters will be heading down the same road as before.
However, Philips has decided to take a new approach here: suing governor Jerry Hickenlooper and other government officials, claiming religious persecution seen .
It will be interesting to see how things play out.
Author’s Views: To disclose outright, I believe that the baker should be able to refuse or accept any deal they want, and to accept or reject any business they want. It would be different if it were a government agency, or a monopoly. Several questions I must ask.
(1) As for the gay couple, why not simply find another baker? While it may be annoying to you, why not take your money and business to someone else?
(2) If you wanted others to know about this baker, why would it be necessary to sue him or go to the Civil Rights Commission? Was the purpose to harm his business?
(3) Part of the backlash against letting gay couples marry in 2015 was the claim (derided as paranoia) that it would lead to religious freedom being stepped on. Does this not prove that claim right?
(4) Regarding Autumn Scardina and the transgender cake: why go to this “specific” baker, when you knew about the case?
(5) Was it an attempt to get money from him and/or to further harm his business? Or to use your law firm to make a political point?
(6) As for both the gay cake and the trans cake: do you really want the cake for your “big day” to be made by somebody you filed a civil rights claim against? It’s not like he cares about keeping your business.
Car insurance rates in Canada can be very expensive, especially for men. Provinces such as Alberta and Ontario charge men much higher rates than women, especially at a younger age. The rationale is that statistically speaking, men get into more serious car accidents than women.
But one person (can I call her a man, or him a woman?) has come up with an interesting way to get around that. This is the story: Here and here.
The person, known as ”David”, got his Alberta birth certificate changed from ”M” to ”F”, then got insurance as a ”woman”. It cost about $1100 less a year doing this.
Alberta had made it easier to change the gender on documents in an effort to make the process easier for transgender individuals. Clearly, this was not the intent of these legal reforms.
However, the LGBTQ Community has objected, claiming that this is making a mockery of the laws meant to protect them. Some in the government have claimed that this is in fact perjury and fraud.
Curiously enough, many Canadians have been left with a sour taste given all of the SJW policies, including what is seen as excessive trans accomodation and the blurring of actual biological differences between the sexes.
Author’s Views: I have no issue with people living as the people they wish to be or feel that they are. As long as it doesn’t infringe on myself or others, people are free to be who they are. However, the fake outrage that is so often on the news is very offputting.
My own leanings are somewhat conservative/libertarian, and my beliefs are that people should be treated equally and fairly. No prejudice, no special treatment. And different rates for men and women is discrimination.
I do think it is an amusing way to combat the prejudicial practice of charging men higher rates for insurance. A sense of 2 wrongs making a right.
(Jordan Peterson before the Canadian Senate on Bill C-16)
June 19, 2017, Bill C-16 received royal assent, becoming law. In a nutshell, amended both the Canadian Criminal Code and the Canadian Human Rights Code to include “gender identity or expression” to the books.
For the Criminal Code, it added “gender identity or expression” to the list of protected groups which violence against would be viewed as a hate crime (if that were the motivation for the offence.
For the Human Rights Code, “gender identity or expression” would be added to the list of protected grounds which discrimination against would be illegal.
In the above video, Professor Jordan Peterson (University of Toronto), claims that this bill will lead to “compelled speech”, and that the wording leaves the possibility that it will be abused. There are obvious flaws with the bill (more on that later). But here are the quotes from the HRC and CC, both before and after.
2 The purpose of this Act is to extend the laws in Canada to give effect, within the purview of matters coming within the legislative authority of Parliament, to the principle that all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have and to have their needs accommodated, consistent with their duties and obligations as members of society, without being hindered in or prevented from doing so by discriminatory practices based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics, disability or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered.
R.S., 1985, c. H-6, s. 2; 1996, c. 14, s. 1; 1998, c. 9, s. 9; 2012, c. 1, s. 137(E); 2017, c. 3, ss. 9, 11, c. 13, s. 1.
Canadian Human Rights Act
1998, c. 9, s. 9; 2012, c. 1, s. 137(E)
1 Section 2 of the Canadian Human Rights Act is replaced by the following:
2 The purpose of this Act is to extend the laws in Canada to give effect, within the purview of matters coming within the legislative authority of Parliament, to the principle that all individuals should have an opportunity equal with other individuals to make for themselves the lives that they are able and wish to have and to have their needs accommodated, consistent with their duties and obligations as members of society, without being hindered in or prevented from doing so by discriminatory practices based on race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, disability or conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered.
3 (1) For all purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, genetic characteristics, disability and conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered.
2 Subsection 3(1) of the Act is replaced by the following:
Prohibited grounds of discrimination
3 (1) For all purposes of this Act, the prohibited grounds of discrimination are race, national or ethnic origin, colour, religion, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, marital status, family status, disability and conviction for an offence for which a pardon has been granted or in respect of which a record suspension has been ordered.
(4) In this section, identifiable group means any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, or mental or physical disability.
R.S., 1985, c. C-46, s. 318; 2004, c. 14, s. 1; 2014, c. 31, s. 12.
3 Subsection 318(4) of the Criminal Code is replaced by the following:
Definition of identifiable group
(4) In this section, identifiable group means any section of the public distinguished by colour, race, religion, national or ethnic origin, age, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or mental or physical disability.
(i) evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or any other similar factor,
4 Subparagraph 718.2(a)(i) of the Act is replaced by the following:
(i) evidence that the offence was motivated by bias, prejudice or hate based on race, national or ethnic origin, language, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical disability, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression, or on any other similar factor,
First, what exactly is “gender identity”? On the surface, it seems to imply transgendered/transsexual people, who are actually “transitioning” from one sex to another. However, the bill fails to define or clarify this. Is it a transitioning person? Do they have to have completed it? Is there a certain standard?
Second, what exactly is “expression”, in the context it is being used? Would drag kings/queens or performers fall into this category? Is it someone who just dresses or acts in a less than usual manner? For this to be included into human rights and criminal code legislation, the wording needs to far more clear?
Third, if a person chooses to identify as anything other than male or female, are others obligated to address them as such?
Fourth, in terms of “having their needs accommodated” (with respect to the human rights code), what does this mean? Again, without specifying whether a person is actually transgender or just doing this temporarily, how would any employer or school be expected to be able to comply? Likewise, when looking at the wording “… without being hindered in or prevented from”, this is impossible to comply with, without more information.
Fifth, and regarding the Criminal Code, this seems incredibly dangerous to add. Hate crime laws are often not a good idea (as identity seems to be more important than the actual offence). But here, adding the vague wording “gender identity or expression” as a means of increasing a sentence does not seem wise.
Sixth, will these laws stifle legitimate concern and debate on the issue of transgenderism? The health and societal considerations — not to mention high suicide rates — are of a public concern to discuss. The science of “gender dysphoria“, the underlying medical condition, is still far from settled. If open discussion and debate can be viewed as “hate speech” or as “discrimination”, will this have a chilling effect on free speech?
Seventh, and referring to the above Peterson video, is gender supposed to be viewed from a biological or sociological perspective? (See the video).
Again, if this were specifically meant to protect individuals transitioning, and/or those with gender dysphoria, it would be a lot easier to support. However, the wording seems vague, and open to misinterpretation.
The public at large seems apprehensive about these changes, and with good reason.
April 23, 2017 — The Supreme Court of Canada has affirmed the protection for self represented persons and accused people
Based on the 2006 Statement of principles from the Canadian Judicial Council, the SCC has enshrined these principles into law. See here, here, here, and here.
Judges, the courts and other participants in the justice system have a responsibility to promote
access to the justice system for all persons on an equal basis, regardless of representation.
1. Judges and court administrators should do whatever is possible to provide a fair and impartial process and prevent an unfair disadvantage to self-represented persons.
Self-represented persons should not be denied relief on the basis of a minor or easily rectified deficiency in their case.
Where appropriate, a judge should consider engaging in such case management activities as are required to protect the rights and interests of self-represented persons. Such case management should begin as early in the court process as possible.
When one or both parties are proceeding without representation, non-prejudicial and engaged case and courtroom management may be needed to protect the litigants’ equal right to be heard. Depending on the circumstances and nature of the case, the presiding judge may:
(a) explain the process;
(b) inquire whether both parties understand the process and the procedure;
(c) make referrals to agencies able to assist the litigant in the preparation of the case;
(d) provide information about the law and evidentiary requirements;
(e) modify the traditional order of taking evidence; and
(f) question witnesses.
This is great news, as Justices/Judges/Masters/JP are now obligated to go the extra mile in assuring fair process for those accused and self representing.
Self representing is an intimidating process, but levelling the field should go a long way to ensure better access to justice. It should not be only for those who can spend lots of money on a lawyer, or who are able to spend huge amounts of time learning the law.
Here is some information on how “Gladue Rights” work in Canada.
Equality under the law should mean that all people are treated equally.
However, that is not the case in Canada, with regards to sentencing in criminal justice. To be specific, one group: Aboriginal, aka First Nations, aka Native have a section of the law specifically to give them a ”race-based discount”.
Here is section 718.2(e) of the Canadian Criminal Code:
all available sanctions other than imprisonment that are reasonable in the circumstances should be considered for all offenders, with particular attention to the circumstances of aboriginal offenders.
Yes, one racial group is allowed to get what amounts to a race based discount. The 1999 Gladue ruling essentially paved the way for this to be normalized across Canada, while the Ipeelee decision expanded the scope to include long term offenders.
There have been complaints of recent in the media that despite these legal changes, the proportion and rates of Aboriginals in prison continues to rise. (See questions below)
Here are the links to the Court decisions of Gladue (1997, 1999) and Ipeelee (2012).
R. v. Gladue, 1997 CanLII 3015 (BC CA)
R. v. Gladue,  1 SCR 688, 1999 CanLII 679 (SCC)
R. v. Ipeelee,  1 SCR 433, 2012 SCC 13 (CanLII)
People should be treated equally under the law, and that no one group should receive any lesser or harsher punishment because of race, gender, religion, etc…
Defenders of the law claim that this is necessary because of ”overrepresentation” in Canadian prisons. However, a number of serious questions don’t get asked:
(1) What are the actual crime rates by race? Is it one group being unfairly targeted, or is it one group simply committing more crime, and they are actually being treated fairly under the law? There is a huge difference.
(2) Yes there was historical discrimination, but why should people who were born after this, and not subjected to it, be benefiting from it?
(3) If there is ”systemic discrimination” against Aborginals, then how does handing down lighter sentences actually address this? Doesn’t it avoid the underlying issue?
(4) If reserves in particular are so bad (they are often referred to as 3rd world conditions), wouldn’t the humane thing be to shut them down entirely?
(5) Should the Canadian government be allowing a policy that aims to create ”equality of outcome” in the prisons? Should jails look like a random sample of society, rather than a reflection of who is actually committing crimes?
(6) If ”Gladue Rights” lead to lower sentences, couldn’t smart criminals game the system by committing ”more” crime, but still getting lower sentences?
Sadly, there seems to be little interest in the media, courts or politics for addressing these questions.