As the guide dog user at the centre of a case of discrimination, I am a further victim of B.C. Human Rights Tribunal member Jacqueline Beltgens classifying an unjustified taxi refusal as just an inconvenience. Her distorted perception is misleading some people into thinking discrimination is just fine.
Imagine that the discrimination was in being refused entry into a restaurant and being told that the one next door will take me. Is the tribunal condoning the refusal because it’s just a few further steps?
Suffering discrimination of any kind, particularly when a law has been specifically designed to protect a member of a vulnerable minority, is a blatant display of double discrimination and an abuse of power. Victims of discrimination turn to the tribunal on the understanding that its impartiality will uphold justice and reprimand the perpetrator, not scold the victim and dismiss the case.
What kind of culture condones this behaviour?
Let’s be reminded of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms definition of “discrimination,” as it does not contain any reference to an “inconvenience.”
Section 15 states: “Discrimination is defined as a distinction, intentional or not, which is based on grounds related to the personal characteristics of the individual or group concerned and that has the effect of imposing disadvantages or burdens not imposed on others or withholding advantages or benefits to others.”