Dr. Dawg

The saga of Shirish Chotalia: dénouement

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Two judicial fora, the Federal Court and a labour tribunal, have now done what the Privy Council refused to do this past January—effectively sent the incompetent, bullying Canadian Human Rights Tribunal Chair Shirish Chotalia packing. After this week’s court decision, she went off on “stress leave” from which she is unlikely to return.

This past Wednesday, Chotalia was delivered the proverbial stinging rebuke by Madam Justice Anne Mactavish for a decision, issued after a lengthy and unexplained delay, that could have relegated Aboriginal children to second-class status in perpetuity.

Mactavish pulls no judicial punches. Chotalia’s decision exhibited “a clear breach of procedural fairness” [191]; it “lacks the justification, transparency and intelligibility required of a reasonable decision” [221]; it is “unreasonable as it flies in the face of the scheme and purpose of the Act, and leads to patently absurd results that could not have been intended by Parliament” [251]; “the decision is clearly in error.” [384]

The word “unreasonable” appears thirteen times in the judgement.


Bravo to you, Cindy Blackstock, and to your team, and to your intervenors.

The labour tribunal report is an old story by now, but it bears repeating in the light of this new development. Briefly, she was found to have harassed her staff, which is an even older story.

Reading between the lines here, she was so in over her head that she was desperately looking for help anywhere she could find it; she didn’t get it, and appears to have panicked. If it weren’t for the human cost—a toxic, stressful workplace that led to numerous departures—I could almost work up some sympathy for her. Almost.

But the destructive potential effect of her ruling on Aboriginal children, so smartly slapped down by the Federal Court this past week, saps me of any residual milk of human kindness. Good riddance, Shirish Chotalia. Don’t come back.

Another Harper appointment gone West, as it were. He really does seem to have the ol’ Midas touch.

[H/t Jymn]

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This page contains a single entry by Dr. Dawg published on April 23, 2012 1:29 PM.

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