More “Human Rights” Tyranny: Quebec Man Fined $8,000 for Writing Nasty Private Letter About Panhandler
The case dates back to 2010, when Mr. Delisle, a regular customer at a Société des alcools du Québec store in northwest Montreal, spotted Francine Beaumont panhandling outside the store. He wrote, in the human rights commission’s words, a “diatribe” about her, which he sent to the SAQ.
‘The last SAQ in the city where I could shop without being bothered by a drunken beggar has just capitulated,\ Mr. Delisle wrote. ;The SAQ on Henri-Bourassa Boulevard just inherited a drunkard who begs when customers enter or leave. She looks like Mme. Loulou in ‘And God Created Laflaque’ [a satirical show on Quebec television]: a 200-pound welfare bum enriched with trans fat. No apparent intellectual quotient.’
Ms. Beaumont, 63, suffers from a degenerative bone disease and lives on welfare, the ruling notes. She says she has to beg to survive, adding that she was able to earn about $15 to $30 a day begging from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. ‘She said she was always very polite and never bothered anybody,’ the tribunal judge wrote.
‘She could not believe that a human being could say things like this. She cried, and is still crying’
… In his letter, reproduced in the tribunal’s decision, he invents four macabre “solutions” to rid his city of these beggars.
‘Solution No. 1: We could burn all this with napalm or flame-throwers (Americans used that technique for much better people than this.)’
‘Solution No. 2: Pick up these walking microbes in a garbage dumpster and burn them in the Carrières incinerator.’
‘Solution No. 3 (Chinese solution): a bullet in the back of the head, and send the bill to the welfare-collecting family of the dead.’
‘Solution No. 4: Drop all these people and their dogs over James Bay. Their chance of re-offending is quite slim.’
When an employee in the liquor store’s complaints department received Mr. Delisle’s complaint about Ms. Beaumont, he was ‘disgusted, worried, and afraid’ for the wellbeing of the panhandler, according to the human rights commission’s decision. He took the letter to police. But police told the liquor board that they could not receive a complaint from a third party. The SAQ then decided to give a printout of the email to Ms. Beaumont.
Ms. Beaumont was profoundly hurt by the letter,’ according to the tribunal’s judgement. “She could not believe that a human being could say things like this. She cried, and is still crying. She has suffered depression and chest pain. She had to take anti-depressants. For six months she stopped begging outside liquor stores. She stayed home with her curtains closed.’
Mr. Delisle told the tribunal that he never intended that the tribunal send the letter to Ms. Beaumont, saying the SAQ violated his privacy rights by giving her a copy of the letter. He added that, ‘ever since I found out that I could be ordered to pay $100,000 in fines, my life is over,’ the decision notes. ‘He spends his time worrying about this case because he is a young retired person who earns only $32,000 in a year in a non-indexed pension.’
… This threat of harm trumped any privacy rights of the shopper, the tribunal ruled.
‘Speaking about somebody in the words Mr. Delisle used is very degrading,’ the judgment reads. ‘The tribunal nonetheless takes into account that Mr. Delisle’s email was not directly addressed to the victim.’”
The whole story is kaftaesque. It’s not clear what “discriminatory” ground the QHRC was even ruling on. Mr. Delisle written blast did not take exception to the panhandler’s sex or race or religion or sexual orientation and he would have had no way knowing of her alleged medical ailments.
The story is riddled with maudlin nonsense. According to the Tribunal finding, the hefty beggar Ms Beaumont had “to beg to survive.” Yet, when the meddling Quebec Liquor Board sent Mr. Delisle’s private letter about her to her, “she had to take anti-depressants. For six months she stopped begging outside liquor stores. She stayed home with her curtains closed.” Okay, but, in other words,she survived and, thus, did not have to beg to keep meat on her bones.
As a further tear jerker, “Ms. Beaumont was profoundly hurt by the letter. She could not believe that a human being could say things like this. She cried, and is still crying. She has suffered depression and chest pain.” Literally, she is STILL crying?
Yes, Delisle’s letter was extreme and, frankly, sounds lie drunk talk. When the Liquor Board busybodies handed the letter over to the police, they clearly saw it as extreme talk, not a threat. Mr. Delisle had never taken any overt actions against the panhandler.
It’s interesting that on being informed of Mr. Delisle’s letter, Mr. Beaumont did not seek police protection but, instead, flew to the Quebec Human Rights Commission and cadged a nifty $8,000 handout for her “hurt feelings”, weeping, and heart palpitations. Of course. It sure beats panhandling, especially in a frigid Montreal winter.
Finally, public bodies hide all sorts of embarrassing information under the alleged right to privacy. Interestingly, the Societe des alcools du Quebec was only too happy to share Mr. Delisle’s private letter to them, not only with the police but with the panhandler. There is no evidence Mr. Delisle knew who the beggar was, but, apparently, the Liquor Board did.
CANADIAN ASSOCIATION FOR FREE EXPRESSION