Some people find my story a little incredible. For one thing, why would Bernd Walter, the chair of the Human Rights Tribunal, bother to lie about an affidavit when it could cause embarrassment and, even if he did bother, wouldn’t there be enough checks and balances in place to prevent it?
For one thing, there would be no reason for him to think it would be observed because without a hearing, and he controls whether a hearing takes place, there is no airing of the evidence. For another thing, the media is too busy with their ridiculing of human rights complainants and looking for “crazy” cases to bother asking questions about what the tribunal is actually doing. We can call this the Ezra Levant effect.
For another thing, the checks and balances don’t actually operate as checks and balances. The Judicial Review process involves going in front of a judge and pleading your case that the tribunal “erred.” Using loaded terms like “lied” is a bad idea. However, some errors are allowed because the “standard of review” is very high. A judge can agree that a Tribunal erred, but that doesn’t mean they will send the decision back to the Tribunal and ask them to produce less faulty work in the future. It’s completely up to the discretion of the judge to decide whether the error was a serious one or not. If that wasn’t a big enough hurdle, if the judge notices that the tribunal fudged the truth a little, they are not going to be the ones to raise a fuss about it. More likely they will not want to embarrass these very important and upstanding folks at the Tribunal. You on the other hand are a nobody, so the answer is obvious. Ignore it. In fact, in my case the judge did not even acknowledge the affidavit at the centre of my Judicial Review application.
If you’re anything like me, you might ask, isn’t lying to a court a serious offence under the Criminal Code of Canada? Well, I tried this avenue. I complained to the police that Bernd Walter had lied to the court and to the Canadian Judicial Council, that “Justice” L.A. Loo had upheld what was pretty much an obvious lie directly contradicted by an affidavit signed by the employer.
At first I received snide letters ridiculing my arguments and trying to discredit me. However, when I pursued it, I received much more polite letters, although from different people than those who had originally replied. From the police I was told that perjury may be in the Criminal Code, but it is rarely ever prosecuted. When it is, it is only on the recommendation from someone within the system.
From the Judicial Review Council, I heard that very few complaints against judges go anywhere, and I should just give up because mine wasn’t one of them.
Returning to why the Tribunal is conducting itself like this in the first place, it likely comes down to cost. The Tribunal wants people to file applications to dismiss cases. Given that the respondents don’t exactly like the people filing the complaint, they are extremely likely to say things to discredit them. The Tribunal can then use these things to dismiss the case without bothering to prove them.
While the Tribunal should be happy if everyone agreed to mediation, instead they are happy if everyone applies for an application to dismiss and, in fact, it is openly encouraged.