July 19, 2024
What Dattani’s credulous supporters fail to comprehend is that, as head of the CHRC, even the appearance of bias or a reasonable apprehension of bias by someone appearing before him is cause for instant disqualification.

Human rights commissioner’s past leaves agency open to allegations of bias

Even the appearance of bias could throw decisions into legal limbo

Birju Dattani was a relatively unknown bureaucrat until two weeks ago. A young lawyer who had occupied only middling positions in human rights commissions and, most recently, at Centennial College, he was suddenly elevated to chair of the Canadian Human Rights Commission, one of the three most prominent human rights positions in this country.

But, according to Justice Minister Arif Virani, who appointed him, in whatever interview and background check, he conducted, he did not learn about Dattani’s past, a past which has created a national uproar.

That background was delineated in last Saturday’s column and included sharing a platform in England with a member of a banned Islamist fundamentalist organization opposed to the existence of the state of Israel and posting links on social media to articles comparing Israelis to Nazis and Palestinians to Jews incarcerated in the Warsaw Ghetto.

Dattani has denied holding such views. What came out even later (so not mentioned in my column) was that he had also written a paper taking the position that terror is a rational strategy with high success rates rather than decrying it as a human rights atrocity and act of political violence.



Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments