Jugement contre l’homophobie Thibault-Wouters

TRIBUNAL DES DROITS DE LA PERSONNE

Canada

PROVINCE DE QUÉBEC

DISTRICT DE

Montréal

N° :

500-53-000313-096

DATE :

16 décembre 2010

SOUS LA PRÉSIDENCE DE

L’HONORABLE

DANIEL DORTÉLUS

AVEC L’ASSISTANCE DES ASSESSEURES :

Me Claudine Ouellet

Mme Judy Gold

COMMISSION DES DROITS DE LA PERSONNE ET DES DROITS DE LA JEUNESSE, agissant en faveur de THÉODORUS WOUTERS et ROGER THIBAULT

Demanderesse

c.

Gordon Lusk

Défendeur

-et-

THÉODORUS WOUTERS et ROGER THIBAULT

Plaignants

JUGEMENT

1.         objet du litige

[1] Le Défendeur a-t-il, par ses agissements, ses propos et ses attitudes, harcelé les Plaignants et porté atteinte à leur droit à la reconnaissance et à l’exercice en pleine égalité des droits fondamentaux des Plaignants, sans distinction fondée sur leur orientation sexuelle; tel est l’objet de ce litige.

[2] Il s’agit d’un recours intenté par la Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse (« CDP ») qui agit pour les plaignants, Wouters et Thibault, qui avaient déposé, le 3 février 2005, auprès d’elle, une plainte contre le Défendeur, concernant trois incidents qui remontent à la période de 2001 à 2004.

[3] Dans sa demande introductive d’instance, déposée au greffe de la Cour le 20 octobre 2009, la CDP réclame, pour chacun des Plaignants, la somme de 7 000 $ à titre de dommages moraux, et 3 000 $ à titre de dommages punitifs.

[4] Dans son mémoire, le Défendeur allègue que les Plaignants utilisent le système judiciaire de manière abusive.

[5] Comme moyen préliminaire, le Défendeur présente une requête pour faire déclarer les Plaignants plaideurs vexatoires et faire rejeter la demande.

[6] Sur le fond du litige, le Défendeur nie les agissements et les gestes discriminatoires et les propos homophobes qui lui sont reprochés.

2.         décision sur le moyen préliminaire soulevé par le défendeur

[7] Voici les motifs de la décision du Tribunal rendue séance tenante rejetant la requête du Défendeur pour faire déclarer les Plaignants plaideurs vexatoires.

[8] Dans sa requête, le Défendeur allègue que les Plaignants ont intenté contre ses voisins, de nombreux recours judiciaires. Au soutien de sa requête, il produit une série de pièces qui consistent en des copies de procès-verbaux, de transcriptions de notes sténographiques, de jugements dans des causes dans lesquels les Plaignants ont été impliqués devant les tribunaux.

[9] Il y a lieu de faire un survol des sept causes auxquelles réfère le Défendeur, dans lesquelles les Plaignants sont impliqués.

[10] La première réfère à une cause devant la Cour municipale de Montréal impliquant le Défendeur et les Plaignants.

[11] Selon le procès-verbal, daté du 7 juin 2006, produit par le Défendeur, ce dernier est acquitté de l’infraction initiale, après avoir reconnu les faits en signant un engagement selon l’article 810 du Code criminel. (R. c. Lusk Gordon[1]).

[12] La deuxième cause réfère à un jugement rendu le 26 novembre 2002, dans R. v. Walker[2]. Dans cette affaire, la Cour du Québec a acquitté monsieur Walker des accusations de harcèlement criminel portées contre lui pour des incidents impliquant les Plaignants qui remontent à la période de mai à septembre 2000.

[13] Le Défendeur produit un jugement rendu le 16 mai 2002, par la Cour supérieure, dans la cause Walker c. La Reine, le juge a retenu qu’il n’y avait pas de preuve suffisante pour établir un bris de condition de la part de M. Walker.

[14] Il produit un jugement dans la cause portant le numéro 500-53-000269-074. Dans cette cause, le Tribunal des droits de la personne du Québec condamne deux défendeurs à payer 5 000 $ à titre de dommages moraux et 2 500 $ à titre de dommages exemplaires en réparation à la violation des droits de messieurs Wouters et Thibault en vertu des articles 4, 6 et 10 de la Charte des droits et libertés.

[15] Le Défendeur produit un jugement rendu le 22 mai 2003, dans le dossier 500-53-000178-028, par le Tribunal des droits de la personne qui suspend l’instance en attendant l’issu de deux autres causes pendantes devant la Cour supérieure.

[16] Au soutien de sa requête, le Défendeur produit copie de la demande introductive d’instance d’un recours en dommages impliquant M. Walker qui poursuit les Plaignants pour la somme de 270 000 $, devant la Cour supérieure.

[17] Le Défendeur a appelé M. Walker comme témoin au soutien de sa requête.

[18] La CDP s’objecte au témoignage de M. Walker.

2.1       Décision sur l’objection à la preuve testimoniale, au stade de la présentation d’un moyen préliminaire.

[19] Le Tribunal est d’avis qu’il y a lieu de limiter la preuve sur la requête du Défendeur aux allégations contenues dans la requête, aux pièces et transcriptions d’interrogatoire produit au dossier.

[20] Il n’existe aucun motif valable pour s’écarter de la règle générale voulant que le Tribunal saisi d’une requête préliminaire dispose d’une telle requête à partir des allégations contenues dans la requête, des procédures et des pièces produites au dossier, en d’autres termes, le tribunal doit reposer son analyse sur l’ensemble du dossier constitué lors de la présentation d’une telle requête[3].

[21] Le Tribunal estime qu’il n’y a pas lieu de permettre à M. Walker de témoigner sur la requête du Défendeur, ce serait aller à l’encontre de la règle de la proportionnalité de permettre d’importer dans ce dossier la preuve d’un autre litige devant la Cour supérieure qui n’implique pas le Défendeur en l’espèce.

[22] La suggestion du Défendeur d’appliquer les dispositions prévues aux règles de pratique de la Cour supérieure pour traiter sa requête, n’est pas retenue par le Tribunal qui préfère s’inspirer des dispositions des articles 54.1 et suivants du Code de procédure civile[4] (« C.p.c. »), qui remplacent l’article 75 C.p.c.[5].

[23] Règle générale, le juge saisi d’une requête comme celle présentée par le Défendeur ne tient pas d’enquête et n’entend pas des témoins. Il dispose de la requête à partir des allégations de la requête et des transcriptions de l’interrogatoire, des pièces au dossier et, s’il y a lieu, de l’affidavit qui appuie la requête, en vertu de l’article 88 du Code de procédure civile.

[24] Le test que le Défendeur doit rencontrer est celui de l’article 54.2 C.p.c., soit d’établir sommairement l’abus ou le caractère vexatoire des procédures.

[25] Les pièces produites au soutien de la requête suffisent, pour permettre au Tribunal de disposer de la requête.

[26] Il n’y a pas lieu d’entendre, comme témoin, M. Walker qui a une cause pendante devant la Cour supérieure contre les Plaignants. Il y a lieu de circonscrire le débat devant le Tribunal, aux faits pertinents à ce litige, ce en application de la règle de la pertinence et de la proportionnalité.

[27] Pour ces motifs, l’objection au témoignage de M. Walker sur la requête préliminaire du Défendeur est maintenue.

2.2       Décision sur la requête pour rejet de la demande au motif que les Plaignants sont des plaideurs vexatoires

[28] L’article 113 de la Charte énonce :

« 113. Le Tribunal peut, en s’inspirant du Code de procédure civile (chapitre C-25), rendre les décisions et ordonnances de procédure et de pratique nécessaires à l’exercice de ses fonctions, à défaut d’une règle de procédure ou de pratique applicable.

Règles par le Tribunal.

Le Tribunal peut aussi, en l’absence d’une disposition applicable à un cas particulier et sur une demande qui lui est adressée, prescrire avec le même effet tout acte ou toute formalité qu’auraient pu prévoir les règles de procédure et de pratique. »

[29] Les règles de pratique du Tribunal des droits de la personne du Québec ne contiennent pas de dispositions qui s’adressent à la question soulevée, soit l’abus par les plaignants des tribunaux et du système judiciaire.

[30] Depuis sa création en 1989, au fil des ans, le Tribunal a eu à disposer d’un nombre significatif de requêtes présentées en vertu des dispositions du Code de procédure civile, telles des requêtes : en radiation d’allégués (articles 168 , 184 C.p.c.), requête en irrecevabilité et en exception déclinatoire (articles 163 , 164 , 165 C.p.c.)  requêtes présentées en vertu des articles 20 , 46 , C.p.c.[6]

[31] Il est exact d’affirmer que le Tribunal s’est inspiré largement de diverses dispositions du Code de procédure civile en appliquant l’article 113 de la Charte.

[32] Dans la cause C.D.P.D.J. (Lapointe) c. Doucet[7], le Tribunal s’est inspiré des dispositions du Code de procédure civile pour ordonner la radiation d’une série d’allégués du mémoire de la défenderesse.

[33] Dans la cause C.D.P.D.J. c. Centre de la petite enfance Les Pandamis[8], la requérante est autorisée par le Tribunal à présenter sa requête en vertu des articles 20 et 46 du Code de procédure civile et 113 de la Charte.

[34] Dans l’affaire C.D.P.D.J. c. Centre de la petite enfance le château des adorables[9], le Tribunal suit l’article 113 de la Charte pour appliquer les nouvelles dispositions des articles 54.1 et suivants C.p.c..

[35] La décision Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse c. Société des casinos du Québec Inc.[10] s’oriente vers un courant jurisprudentiel opposé.

[36] Les objectifs du législateur lors de la création du Tribunal[11], qui a opté pour la célérité et l’efficacité du recours pour sanctionner les atteintes aux droits protégés par la Charte, sans pour autant compromettre les principes fondamentaux de justice qui sont, entre autres, protégés par la Charte, cadrent bien avec les principes, codifiés aux articles 54.1 et suivants du Code de procédure civile, qui permettent à un Tribunal d’intervenir d’office pour sanctionner les abus qui peuvent résulter, entre autres, d’une demande en justice, de l’abus de procédures, de délais déraisonnables, d’un comportement quérulent et vexatoire.

[37] L’article 54.2 C.p.c. crée un régime qui cadre bien aux principes d’application et d’interprétation de la Charte en matière de preuve, il en est de même pour l’article 54.3 C. p. c. qui autorise le Tribunal à imposer certaines conditions quant à la poursuite du recours.

[38] Vu les objectifs visés en 1989, lors de la création du Tribunal, vu le libellé de l’article 113 de la Charte, il est logique et réaliste d’inférer que les règles de pratique du Tribunal des droits de la personne auraient pu prévoir des dispositions afin de permettre au Tribunal de soulever d’office la question de délai déraisonnable et établir un mécanisme similaire à celui des articles 54.1 et suivants C.p.c. pour sanctionner le déni de droit résultant des délais déraisonnables et assurer la célérité et l’efficacité du recours auprès de la TDP.

[39] Avec égards pour l’opinion contraire, il n’existe pas de motif valable pour s’écarter de cette approche qui s’inscrit dans la culture d’assainissement de l’activité judiciaire.

[40] Pour ces motifs, afin de disposer de la requête préliminaire du Défendeur, le Tribunal estime tout à fait justifié de s’inspirer des dispositions prévues aux articles 54.1 C.p.c et suivants qui codifient différentes règles et sanctions en matière d’abus de procédures qu’on retrouvait à l’article 75.1 C.p.c., et dans certaines règles de procédure des tribunaux qui ont été élaborées par les tribunaux au fil des ans.

[41] Le Tribunal fait sien le raisonnement de l’honorable Chantal Coriveau, de la Cour supérieure, qui résume bien, dans l’affaire Matic c. Trottier[12], les objectifs de l’article 54.1 C.p.c. en ces termes :

« [22]    L’article 54.1 est de droit nouveau et s’inscrit dans la volonté du législateur d’assainir l’activité judiciaire en fournissant des outils additionnels aux tribunaux pour sanctionner des comportements abusifs dans l’institution et le déroulement des procédures judiciaires.

[…]

26]        Le Tribunal souligne qu’à l’origine, comme le précise le législateur, ce nouvel article visait beaucoup plus à sanctionner les poursuites baillons pour éviter les déséquilibres entre les justiciables dans certains dossiers d’intérêt public.  Or, une lecture du nouvel article 54.1 révèle qu’il dépasse largement l’objectif avoué à l’origine et permet au Tribunal d’intervenir dans les cas d’abus dans tous les genres de dossier.

[27]       Ce nouvel article en appelle à la discrétion du tribunal mais ce dernier est d’avis que cette discrétion doit être exercée judiciairement puisqu’il faut s’assurer que tous les justiciables ont l’occasion de faire valoir leurs droits sans mettre fin de façon précipitée ou prématurée au processus normal et légitime entrepris. Seul l’excès de l’exercice des droits doit être sanctionné par le Tribunal. »

(Soulignements ajoutés)

[42] Au sujet de l’exercice excessif et déraisonnable du droit d’ester en justice reproché dans un jugement récent[13], le juge Gascon, de la Cour supérieure, résume les principes :

« [81]    […] le test applicable est aujourd’hui connu.  Une doctrine[14] et une jurisprudence[15] bien établies cernent une dizaine de caractéristiques ou traits permettant d’identifier si un plaideur doit être assujetti aux restrictions qu’imposent les articles 54.5 C.p.c. et 84 R.p.c.

[82]       Ces facteurs indicatifs se résument pour l’essentiel à ceci :

1º   Le plaideur quérulent fait montre d’opiniâtreté et de narcissisme;

2º   Il se manifeste généralement en demande plutôt qu’en défense;

3º   Il multiplie les recours vexatoires, y compris contre les auxiliaires de la justice.  Il n’est pas rare que ses procédures et ses plaintes soient dirigées contre les avocats, le personnel judiciaire ou même les juges, avec allégations de partialité et plaintes déontologiques;

4º   Il réitère les mêmes questions par des recours successifs et ampliatifs : la recherche du même résultat malgré les échecs répétés de demandes antérieures est fréquente;

5º   Les arguments de droit mis de l’avant se signalent à la fois par leur inventivité et leur incongruité.  Ils ont une forme juridique certes, mais à la limite du rationnel;

6º   Les échecs répétés des recours exercés entraînent à plus ou moins longue échéance son incapacité à payer les dépens et les frais de justice afférents;

7º   La plupart des décisions adverses, sinon toutes, sont portées en appel ou font l’objet de demandes de révision ou de rétractation;

8º   Il se représente seul;

9º   Ses procédures sont souvent truffées d’insultes, d’attaques et d’injures.

[83]       Pour sa part, le Tribunal ajouterait à cette énumération deux autres traits assez courants en la matière :

a)     La recherche de condamnations monétaires démesurées par rapport au préjudice réel allégué et l’ajout de conclusions atypiques n’ayant aucune commune mesure avec l’enjeu véritable du débat[16];

b)     L’incapacité et le refus de respecter l’autorité des tribunaux dont le plaideur quérulent revendique pourtant l’utilisation et l’accessibilité.

[84]       Cela dit, pour conclure à un comportement quérulent, excessif et déraisonnable sur la foi de ces caractéristiques, il ne faut pas qu’elles soient nécessairement toutes présentes.  Chaque cas est d’espèce.  C’est la globalité de l’analyse qui importe. »

(Soulignements ajoutés)

[43] C’est en appliquant ces principes que le Tribunal dispose de la requête du Défendeur pour faire déclarer les Plaignants plaideurs vexatoires.

[44] Comme première difficulté posée par la requête du Défendeur, le recours est intenté devant le Tribunal par la Commission qui agit pour les Plaignants.

[45] Il est vrai que les Plaignants peuvent être qualifiés de « partie » au litige, cependant, la demanderesse en l’instance, c’est la Commission.

[46] Comme deuxième difficulté, avant d’arriver devant le Tribunal, les Plaignants ont déposé une plainte devant la Commission des droits de la personne qui, après enquête, a déterminé qu’il y a preuve suffisante pour saisir le Tribunal du dossier.

[47] Dans un des jugements produits au soutien de la requête du Défendeur, les Plaignants se sont fait accorder, en sus des dommages moraux, des dommages exemplaires, ce qui est loin de supporter la position du Défendeur voulant que les Plaignants utilisent de manière abusive les Tribunaux.

[48] Suite au recours intenté en vertu du Code criminel contre le Défendeur, dans la cause R. c. Lusk Gordon[17], le Défendeur a négocié et conclu une entente avec le poursuivant, soit le procureur de la Ville, il a reconnu les faits reprochés et a accepté de signer un engagement selon l’article 810 du Code criminel.

[49] L’ensemble de ces facteurs amène le Tribunal à conclure que le Défendeur n’a pas réussi à établir sommairement l’abus ou le caractère vexatoire des procédures. Le test de l’article 54.2 C.p.c.[18] n’est pas rencontré; en conséquence, la requête doit être rejetée.

3. FACTS AND EVIDENCE

3.1       Evidence submitted by the Plaintiffs

[50] The plaintiffs, Roger Thibault, 64, and Théodorus Wouters, 68, have resided on  Parkdale Avenue, Pointe-Claire since 1978.

[51] They were the first homosexual couple to formalize their union under Quebec’s Civil Union Law.

[52] The defendant, Gordon Lusk, 57, has resided on the same street as the Plaintiffs since 1990 with his wife and their two sons.

[53] There had been no personal contact between the Plaintiffs and the Defendant prior to the winter 2001.

[54] During the winter 2001, the Plaintiffs, returning home from the supermarket, immobilized their vehicle, a 1994 black Volvo station wagon, at the stop sign at the intersection of Parkdale and Belmont in Pointe-Claire.

[55] When turning left onto Parkdale, the Plaintiffs found themselves face to face with Gordon Lusk who was playing hockey with a group of children in the middle of the street, with the hockey net placed on the yellow line of the intersection. The Plaintiffs honked the car horn so that the children remove their hockey equipment and allow them to pass.

[56] Mr. Lusk, who was in front of the car, lifted a hockey stick in a simulated gesture of hitting the hood of the car.

[57] When he then approached the side door of the vehicle, Mr. Thibault rolled down his window and the Defendant said, “You didn’t make your stop. You turned at 100 miles an hour, you fucking faggots”. Mr. Thibault then raised the car window and left.

[58] The Plaintiffs mentioned that due to the limited visibility at the intersection of Parkdale and Belmont, it is impossible not to drive slowly and come to a full stop when approaching the 4-stop intersection, especially when children are playing on the street.

[59] On June 26, 2003, Mr. Thibault was driving east on St-Louis Avenue in Pointe-Claire. He stopped at the stop sign at the corner of St-Louis and Broadview and was about to turn left onto Broadview when he heard someone loudly shouting from behind.

[60] Through his rear-view mirror he saw Mr. Lusk driving his red truck and yelling at him. Mr. Thibault nevertheless continued on his way. When he arrived at the stop sign at the corner of Braebook and Delmar, Mr. Lusk, who had taken an alternative route, was already there, at the stop sign on his right.

[61] The Plaintiff specified that he had been driving in a zone of 50 km an hour whereas Mr. Lusk’s alternative route, east on St-Louis and north on Delmar, was one of 30 km per hour. The Plaintiff concluded, therefore, that the Defendant had to have been driving fast in order to reach the intersection before him.

[62] Mr. Thibault gestured to Mr. Lusk to proceed through the intersection. The Defendant then shouted, “Asshole, I will break your fucking mouth”.

[63] Mr. Lusk, subsequently, advanced his car, after which Mr. Thibault turned left onto Delmar, driving behind Mr. Lusk. Mr. Lusk then repeatedly drove forward and braked with the apparent intention of causing an accident.

[64] When they reached the intersection of Delmar and des Canots, the Defendant immobilized his vehicle at the stop sign. As Mr. Lusk wasn’t advancing his vehicle, Mr.Thibault began to drive around him on the left. Mr. Lusk then began to drive in such a way that he was pushing Mr. Thibault towards the left and onto the sidewalk. The Plaintiff, consequently, stopped the car and called 911 with his cellular phone.

[65] Mr. Thibault began to drive again while telling the police exactly where he and the Defendant were located. When they were near the service road of Highway 40, the Plaintiff informed the police that a piece of metal had fallen from Mr. Lusk’s truck. Upon directives from the police, the Plaintiff then continued on his way and is unaware of what happened afterwards

[66] On April 24, 2004, Roger Thibault left his house at 11:44 a.m. to go downtown to help friends with their garage sale, returning at 6:36 p.m. His precision, he explained, is due to a surveillance camera on his property that recorded his departure and arrival times on that particular day.

[67] On his way home, he drove north on Parkdale towards his residence. Prior to reaching the intersection of Parkdale and Belmont, he saw a group of children playing on the street.

[68] He immobilized his vehicle at the stop sign at the intersection, then slowly advanced and, as the children continued to play on the street, he stopped his car and honked the horn so that the children remove their hockey equipment and allow him to pass. As he drove through, the children, on both sides of his car, called him “fag” and simulated the gesture of hitting his car.

[69] A few minutes after he arrived home, he and Mr. Wouters heard someone yelling loudly and hitting the metal gate which is always kept locked.

[70] While Mr. Wouters went outside to see what was going on, Mr. Thibault called 911. Mr. Lusk accused Mr. Wouters, who had not been in the car, of driving dangerously, endangering the life of his children and called him “you fucking faggot”. When asked by Mr. Wouters to repeat these words, the Defendant replied, “Well that’s what you call yourself, isn’t it?”

[71] Mr. Thibault then went outside and saw the Defendant, who appeared agitated, walking aggressively back and forth between the driveway and the gate.

[72] When asked, during cross-examination, why he didn’t approach Mr. Lusk in a civil manner to see why he had come, Mr. Thibault replied that Mr. Lusk was shouting and banging on the fence in such an aggressive and violent manner that it was out of the question to approach him to calm down.

[73] Mr. Wouters repeatedly asked the Defendant to get off their property. Mr. Lusk moved back and said “Come here. I will break your fucking mouth, you fucking faggot. You fuckers in the chocolate and you players in the brown. It is your profession, isn’t it?”

[74] Mr. Lusk, subsequently, moved back again, made obscene gestures with his finger several times and proceeded towards his car, leaving the Plaintiffs’ property. He then returned towards the middle of the street, crouching and making inviting gestures with his hands and repeated at least twice “I will kill you. I will kill you both here”.

[75] During cross-examination, Mr. Thibault affirmed that at no time did he or Mr. Wouters invite Mr. Lusk to fight, nor call him “maudit nazi”, “asshole” or “chicken”. He added that it was unthinkable that he would provoke Mr. Lusk, considering that he had never taken part in a physical confrontation and that the Defendant was in considerably better physical shape due to his military training.

[76] Mr. Lusk then left, the police arrived to the Plaintiffs’ home and a second police car was dispatched to Mr. Lusk’s residence.

[77] The police, not wanting to take a written declaration from the Plaintiffs on-site, invited them to submit a written declaration at the police station, which they subsequently did.

[78] Mr. Lusk, consequential to the incident of April 24, 2010, signed a Recognizance to keep the peace and be of a good behavior, pursuant to Section 810 of the Criminal Code, in addition to the commitment of a $500 donation to a community group.

[79] Unknown to Mr. Thibault, Mr. Lusk was also acquitted of assault charges and uttering death threats, resulting from this incident.

[80] Due to past incidents of vandalism to the Plaintiff’s property and vehicle, which are unrelated to the Defendant in the present case, the organization Indemnisation des victimes d’actes criminels (IVAC) purchased a surveillance camera that was installed on their property. The incident of April 24, 2004 was filmed by the surveillance camera. A copy of the film was introduced as evidence during the hearing.

[81] The Plaintiff also submitted an extract of the municipal by-law RM 2565 of the Ville de Pointe-Claire, emphasizing Article 19.5 which states, « Il est interdit d’utiliser la rue pour y pratiquer des jeux ou des sports, sauf dans les rues ou parties de rues qui auront été déclarées « Rues de Jeux » par le Conseil municipal. »

[82] He claimed that the children could have played street hockey elsewhere in the neighbourhood, notably on an asphalted surface at a nearby park and in an empty parking lot behind a nearby school. He had in fact received confirmation from the Commission scolaire Lester-B.-Pearson that this lot was available to the community-at-large during the weekends.

[83] Around 3 p.m. on September 17, 2004, Mr. Wouters, while driving to the grocery store, saw Mr. Lusk’s red van driving in his direction when in front of at 74 Parkdale.  When Mr. Wouters began to pass a parked car, Mr. Lusk, with a big grin on his face, veered towards the Plaintiff’s car, leaving him barely any space in which to pass. Mr. Lusk then continued to drive.

[84] During cross-examination, Mr. Thibault stated that in May 2008, he had called 911 in regards to the son of Mr. Lusk who, for approximately one month, had repeatedly driven by the Plaintiff’s house at night, decelerated his vehicle and honked his horn with the intent of waking up the Plaintiffs. Although the surveillance camera had captured the passing car on film, the colour of the car was not identifiable.

[85] One night, around May 7, Mr. Thibault, standing at the window when the car passed, clearly saw the son of Mr. Lusk as well as Mr. Lusk’s vehicle, a red Ford station wagon. Following the submission of his declaration to the police the next morning, these incidents stopped.

[86] During cross-examination, Mr. Thibault stated that he is unaware of an incident that occurred at a dépanneur, alleging that he had called 911 regarding homophobic comments made to him by, among others, the children of Mr. Lusk.

[87] During cross-examination, Mr. Wouters categorically denied that, on a regular basis in the mornings, he would drive by Mr. Lusk’s son and his friends who were walking to school, stop his vehicle, watch them and attempt to have them speak to him.

[88] The Plaintiff, on the contrary, claimed that on two occasions he had been obliged to stop because Mr. Lusk’s son had thrown himself in front of his car when he was driving.

[89] Although the Plaintiffs could not specify the exact number of times they had contacted the police regarding incidents with the Lusk family, Mr. Thibault mentioned that they had both written to and met Commandant St-Pierre of poste de quartier (PDQ) 5 in 2004 regarding the children of Mr. Lusk, as they couldn’t drive by without being insulted and called “queer” and “fag”.

[90] Mr. Wouters stated that it was notably Alex Lusk, the son of the Defendant, who would call him “queer” each time he passed by.

[91] The Plaintiffs affirmed that the police officers of PDQ 5 never proposed that they participate in a mediation session with Mr. Lusk.

[92] As a result of these events, the Plaintiffs felt humiliated, insulted and profoundly hurt. They could never have imagined the use of such vulgarity to describe a homosexual relationship; the use of such language was “inhuman and disgraceful”.

[93] Due to the harassment they endured, they couldn’t sleep, suffered from depression, took anti-depressants and were followed by psychologists. In addition, they found it all the more humiliating to repeat the degrading expressions to the police and to the Human Rights Commission.

[94] During cross-examination, the Plaintiffs stated that the numerous incidents of harassment, intimidation and vandalism that the Plaintiffs had been subjected to, prior to the incident concerning the Defendant, had contributed to their depression.

[95] They began taking antidepressants in 2002. Even though the events involving Mr. Walker and X had been stressful, the events with Mr. Lusk were worse due to the fear he instilled in them by his aggressive behavior and his threats. Notably, their dosages of antidepressants were increased subsequent to the April 24, 2004 incident with Mr. Lusk.

[96] Mr. Wouters, a creative artist, added that he has been unable to create since 2001 as a result of the cumulative events that had occurred, including the Walker, Inglis and X cases as well as the many incidents of vandalism the Plaintiffs had been subjected to, vandalism that is unrelated to the Defendant in the present case.

[97] During cross-examination, the Plaintiff stated that that he was not diagnosed with obsessive-compulsive disorder and, in the year 2000, his behavior regarding the Walker case was neither obsessive nor paranoid but rather a natural reaction considering the circumstances.

[98] The Plaintiffs stated, during cross-examination, that they do not see themselves as activists in the defense of gay rights. They fight for their own rights, which in turn sets an example for others to come forward and denounce harassment based on sexual orientation.

[99] Aware of the media attention given to other cases in which the Plaintiffs were involved, Mr. Thibault had no recollection of media attention regarding this particular case and was unaware of the articles that appeared in the magazine Fugue and in the Suburban regarding this case.

[100] Michel Lejeune, 61, has known Roger Thibault for approximately ten years.

[101] On April 24, 2004, Mr. Lejeune organized a garage sale, as on May 1 he was moving from Wolfe Street to Hochelaga Street in Montreal. Mr. Thibault arrived at his house at approximately noon or 12:30 p.m, spent the afternoon helping him with the sale and departed at approximately 6 p.m.

3.2       Evidence submitted by the Defendant

[102] Commandant Jacquelin St-Pierre of poste de quartier (PDQ) 5 of the Service de la police de la Ville de Montréal, located at 395 St-Jean Boulevard, Pointe-Claire, has known the Plaintiffs since his arrival to PDQ 5 in November 2000.

[103] He noted that the principal interventions made by the police regarding the present case occurred between April 2004 and June 2004 and, in chronological order, he reviewed each one.

[104] In view of the increasing tension between the Plaintiffs and the Defendant during this period, Commandant St-Pierre decided that precautionary steps had to be taken to appease the situation in order to avoid a possible deplorable outcome.

[105] On June 22, 2004, a meeting was held at PDQ 5 between Gordon Lusk, Barbara Yule, their 2 children and two community relations officers, preceded by a meeting between Gordon Lusk and Commandant St-Pierre. The purposes of these meetings were to clarify the issues and to determine the possibility of initiating a mediation/conciliation process between the Defendant and the Plaintiffs.

[106] The necessity to proceed cautiously was emphasized in order not to interfere with the inquiry that was underway. The Plaintiffs were not invited to attend these meetings.

[107] Gordon Lusk and his wife stated that they were open to participate in mediation/conciliation with the Plaintiffs but without their children’s presence.

[108] Commandant St-Pierre recalled that Roger Thibault, whom he had contacted regarding his interest to participate in mediation/conciliation, had responded that he would seek legal advice on the matter.

[109] Commandant St-Pierre affirmed, however, that the mediation/conciliation process involving the Plaintiffs and the Defendant never in fact happened.

[110] The Defendant, Gordon Lusk, having graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1976, is currently working as a general contractor.

[111] During the incident of 2001, there were approximately ten or twelve neighbourhood children, between the ages of 9 and 15, playing street hockey in front of the Defendant’s house, at the intersection of Belmont and Parkdale, including his own children, ages 11 and 13 at the time.

[112] Being a parent who is protective of his children, he found it desirable that the children play in front of his house: He knew where they were and could watch over them as well.

[113] The Defendant noticed a black Volvo station wagon that didn’t come to a stop at the intersection of Belmont and Parkdale. Although the speed of the car wasn’t excessive, it was nevertheless dangerous because, by not stopping, there was very little time for the children to react.

[114] The car stopped among the children and, being the only adult around at the time, the Defendant walked to the driver’s side of the car.

[115] He affirmed that he was neither carrying a hockey stick nor playing hockey with the children that day.

[116] Both Plaintiffs were in the car and the Defendant asked them what the problem was. They indicated that children shouldn’t be playing hockey on the street, that it was dangerous and that there are laws.

[117] The Defendant replied “Okay, I understand that. They’re not all my kids. I’ll do my best. But if you don’t like it today, drive on another street, that’s all I can say. I mean, I can’t do anything about it. I can’t send twelve kids home; it’s not my authority to do so”.

[118] He did not mention to the Plaintiffs that they could kill the children. He said, “We don’t want children getting hurt on the street because they’re having fun. Just slow down”.

[119] He categorically denied the Plaintiff’s allegation that he simulated hitting the hood of the car with a hockey stick and mentioned that none of the children present swung their stick at the car.

[120] He added that he believed it important to handle the situation in a calm manner and set an example for the children who were present during his interaction with the Plaintiffs.

[121] He stated that he did not call the Plaintiffs “fucking faggots”. Other than recognizing them as people in the neighbourhhood who drove by a lot, it was his first encounter with the Plaintiffs, he didn’t know who they were and wasn’t aware of their sexual orientation.

[122] There was no further contact between the Defendant and the Plaintiffs until June 2003.

[123] On June 26, 2003, Gordon Lusk was driving north on Broadview. Having immobilized his vehicle at the four-way stop intersection of Broadview and St-Louis, he noticed a gray Volkswagen Beetle, being driven by Roger Thibault, arrive at the stop sign on his left. As the Defendant was the first to arrive at the intersection, he proceeded to turn right and drove east on St-Louis and north on Delmar towards the Trans-Canada highway.

[124] He specified that he was then driving at approximately 30 to 40 km/hour.

[125] Upon reaching the three-way stop intersection at the corner of Delmar and Braebook, he saw the same Volkswagen approaching the stop sign on his left. He noticed that Mr. Thibault appeared somewhat agitated as Mr. Lusk, being the first to arrive at the intersection, was the first to proceed through the intersection.

[126] Mr. Thibault then turned left onto Delmar north, drove around the Defendant’s truck and cut him off with his Volkswagen. Subsequently, Gordon Lusk drove around the Volkswagen and continued on his way.

[127] The Defendant mentioned that the incident described by Mr. Thibault at the corner of Delmar and des Canots never occurred. Furthermore he never repeatedly drove forward and braked in front of the Plaintiff’s vehicle, nor did he drive with the intention of pushing the Plaintiff’s car towards the sidewalk.

[128] He added that he never rolled down his window and never made contact with the Plaintiff. He did not make any threats and did not say “Asshole, I will break your fucking mouth”.

[129] On April 24, 2004 around 5:15 p.m., while the Defendant was in his office in the garage and a group of 10 to 12 children were playing outdoors, his son, Alex, came to see him and said “Those two guys did it again”. When asked which two guys he was referring to, Alex responded, “The guys up the street. They almost ran us over.” The Defendant, following further questioning of his son, understood that his son was referring to the Plaintiffs.

[130] Although the Defendant had not personally witnessed the incident, his son appeared very agitated and specified that one of the children had almost been hit.

[131] The Defendant, after having gone outside to talk to the children who confirmed the event, called the police thinking that a potential infraction had been committed or somebody could have gotten hurt.

[132] He stated that the police, however, wouldn’t come because they themselves hadn’t witnessed the incident.

[133] After considerable consideration, the Defendant decided to go see the Plaintiffs en route to a barbecue at a neighbour’s house.

[134] The intent of this visit, he explained, was to ensure the safety of his children and their friends. His reasoning was that the police were not going to help him that day, that he was a reasonable person, that he didn’t know the Plaintiffs and whether or not they were reasonable, however if he approached them in a reasonable fashion, he could have a dialogue with them.

[135] As he walked towards the Plaintiff’s house, he felt anxious due to the potentially confrontational situation.  He specified that he was not aggressive.

[136] Having never been to the Plaintiff’s residence, the Defendant was unaware that he couldn’t access the front door. He arrived to the metal gate and, pondering what to do as he could neither knock on the door nor ring the doorbell, he shook the gate and called out, “Hello, anybody home? Hello, hello” in order to let the Plaintiffs know that he was there.

[137] The Defendant affirmed that he did not shake the metal gate in an aggressive or violent manner. He noted that the gate, nonetheless, does make noise when you touch it because it is made out of metal.

[138] Within five to ten seconds, Mr. Wouters came outside, initially appearing calm. Unaware of who had been driving during the incident earlier that day, Mr. Lusk told the Plaintiff that he was concerned about the safety of the children playing on the street and asked him to slow down so that people don’t get hurt.

[139] The Defendant was shocked by the Plaintiff’s aggressive reaction and hostile reply, including “I know all about you, I know where you live….”

[140] The Defendant then tried to explain to Mr. Wouters that the only reason he had come was to talk about the children. He claimed that the conversation with Mr. Wouters was not productive as the Defendant was trying to make his point whereas the Plaintiff refused to hear his point.

[141] Gordon Lusk said that when Mr. Thibault arrived outside, about a minute later, the actual aggressive behavior began. Describing Mr. Thibault’s arrival to the gate, the Defendant said “That to me really set the tone of the whole anxiety because from the second he arrived, he was calling me names”, such as “asshole”, “chicken” and “Nazi”.

[142] He added that the principal interaction that took place at the time was between himself and Mr. Thibault. He claimed to have made no derogatory comments to the Plaintiffs during the heated argument that ensued.

[143] He stated that the Plaintiffs were not listening to his request regarding the safety of the children; they demonstrated no open-mindedness in this regard.

[144] The Defendant explained that he then found himself in a situation where Mr. Wouters was telling him to get off his property while, at the same time, Mr. Thibault was calling him back to fight.

[145] Having no desire to trespass or to fight, the Defendant walked back and forth a couple of times in front of the gate, as was shown on the video, partly due to anxiety and also because he wanted to leave the Plaintiff’s property as per Mr. Wouters’ request all the while returning to respond to Mr. Thibault who wanted to fight.

[146] The Defendant testified that when off the Plaintiffs’ property, he did not provoke a fight. In reaction to Roger Thibault’s invitation to fight, he said, “Okay, now I’m off your property. If you really are intending on fighting me, then come out on the public street and we’ll fight it out. That’s what you want.”

[147] He specified that his hand gestures, as viewed on the video, signified “right here, right now”. He then drove off.

[148] His entire stay in front of the Plaintiff’s house lasted approximately four minutes. The gate was never opened and during the entire time the Plaintiffs were on one side of the gate while he was on the other side.

[149] The Defendant denied that he had made obscene gestures with his finger while walking back and forth. He stated that, in actual fact, he was gesticulating with his hands, as he normally does when he expresses himself.

[150] The Defendant affirmed that he did not call the Plaintiffs “fucking faggots”, nor did he say, “You’re a fucker in the brown and players into chocolate”. He neither made death threats nor threatened to hurt them.

[151] Two minutes after having left the Plaintiffs’ residence, the police caught up with the Defendant in front of his neighbour’s house. In the presence of his wife and his neighbour, Mr. Paris, the Defendant was accused of breaking and entering.

[152] The Defendant explained to the two constables that he had gone to see the Plaintiffs regarding the incident of street hockey and dangerous driving, that he had tried to be reasonable with the Plaintiffs, and that he neither broke into their house nor assaulted them.

[153] Concerned about the accusation of breaking and entry, Gordon Lusk went to the police station on April 29, 2004 to see if he should contact a lawyer or take any other action. The desk sergeant told him that no report of the April 24 incident had been submitted and it was likely that nothing would subsequently happen.

[154] Criminal charges, however, were brought against him several months later, of which he was acquitted in June 2006.

[155] The Defendant mentioned that he signed the Recognizance to keep the peace and be of a good behavior, pursuant to Section 810 of the Criminal Code, upon the advice of his lawyer at the time, with the understanding that it was not an admission of wrong-doing.

[156] In May 2004, the Defendant received a letter from Commandant St-Pierre regarding the by-law that forbids playing certain sports on the streets of Pointe-Claire. He had been unaware of the by-law until then.

[157] During a subsequent meeting with Commandant St-Pierre, the Defendant explained that he understood and wanted to uphold the by-law. However to restrict his own two children from playing on the street whereas 10 or 12 others would be playing would be difficult for him.

[158] During this meeting, Commandant St-Pierre suggested mediation/conciliation with the Plaintiffs. The Defendant agreed, stating that he, his wife and two children would be available at any time.

[159] He understood that a mediation session was scheduled for June 22, 2004. He and his family went to the police station that day, fully expecting to meet the Plaintiffs in the hope of finally resolving the contentious issues.

[160] With surprise and disappointment, he and his wife learned that the Plaintiffs had not been invited to the meeting.

[161] Gordon Lusk mentioned that he had served in the Canadian Army for 21 years, had retired the rank of lieutenant colonel in the year 2000 after having commanded the Black Watch for four years. His years of training had taught him that if people have a problem, they should, if at all possible, discuss it and resolve it among themselves.

[162] During his many years in military service, he had authority over hundreds of people, and was required to provide fair judgment in order to properly exercise his authority. He had therefore received many years of “tolerance training – how to deal with the minorities, the sexual orientations, whatevers that exist within an organization.”

[163] In the unit he commanded, his job was to protect all in his regiment from harassment, be they heterosexual or homosexual, and he was very well trained in this aspect.

[164] The Defendant mentioned that his personal physician of 25 years is homosexual as is his massage therapist. He has never had any homophobic feelings towards them nor towards anybody else.

[165] The Defendant affirmed that he raised his children to respect others and never permitted, encouraged or ignored derogatory comments of any nature about anybody.

[166] He stated that in the heat of the moment and despite the difficult relations with the Plaintiffs, he never had any homophobic feelings towards them. He had gone to see the Plaintiffs on April 24 with the sole intent of discussing the safety of his children and their friends.

[167] Gordon Lusk testified that he has no recollection of any incident that occurred between him and Théodorus Wouters on September 17, 2004, alleging that he endangered the Plaintiff while driving in front of 74 Parkdale.

[168] Being a general contractor, he regularly drives his company vehicle on Parkdale.  Although he is the primary driver of his vehicle, it is occasionally driven by his employees. As the date of September 17 has no particular significance for him, he has no idea who was driving his vehicle that day.

[169] Alex Lusk, currently a journalism student at Concordia University, stated that he witnessed the interaction between his father and the Plaintiffs during the incident that occurred in the winter of 2001.

[170] He claimed that when his father approached the Plaintiff’s car to talk to them, the Plaintiffs started screaming at him.

[171] He never heard his father say “fucking faggot” or “I am going to kill you” and didn’t see him swinging a hockey stick in front of the Plaintiffs’ car.

[172] Alex Lusk recalled that when he was 15 years old and playing street hockey in front of his house, the Plaintiffs would sometimes drive through the stop sign at the intersection, often at an excessive speed.

[173] Although he hadn’t mentioned these incidents to anyone, at approximately 3 or 4 p.m. on April 24, 2004, he went to talk to his father following an incident of dangerous driving involving Roger Thibault.

[174] Regarding the incident of May 2008, Alex testified that the police came to his house regarding the honking of a car horn the previous night in front of the Plaintiff’s house. They stated that the incident occurred at midnight and had happened many times before as well.

[175] Alex claimed that he never honked his car horn in front of the Plaintiff’s house. In fact he had returned home the previous night after 1 a.m.

[176] In addition, he noted that there are two other red Ford Focus station wagons in the neighbourhood that are the same model as his own.

[177] Alex testified that he never encountered the police regarding an incident at a dépanneur involving the Plaintiffs, nor ever saw the Plaintiffs at a dépanneur.

[178] The witness stated that he never called the Plaintiffs derogatory names and denied the Plaintiff’s allegation that he called them “queer” or “fucking faggot” when they would drive by.

[179] However, he noted that it was possible that somebody else called them “queer”, “fucking faggots” or “faggots” during one of the many times that the children yelled at the Plaintiffs as they drove by.

[180] He added that he doesn’t remember having heard anyone call them these names “but it’s possible but I don’t think so”.

[181] Barbara Yule, the Defendant’s spouse, works as a recruiter in the pharmaceutical industry.

[182] She declared that she was the first to notice, approximately 9 or 10 years ago, the Plaintiffs driving at an excessive speed when the children were playing street hockey, then stop their vehicle and shake their hands.

[183] She was witness to many subsequent incidents whereby the Plaintiffs would drive quickly, appearing as if they wouldn’t stop, and then quickly immobilize their vehicle very close to where the children were playing.

[184] Worried that someone would get hurt, she told her husband, “I don’t know what the problem is but there are these two gentlemen in a car; every day they’re up and down the street when the kids are playing hockey. They look like they’re not going to stop. And I think, oh God, they’re going to hit somebody.”

[185] Barbara Yule testified that during the incident of winter 2001, she was outside when the Plaintiffs stopped their car quickly, scaring the children who were playing street hockey. They appeared angry because the children weren’t getting off the street quickly enough.

[186] She claimed that the Plaintiffs rolled down the car window and began yelling at everybody, including her husband who asked the Plaintiffs to please slow down and not to speed on a residential street when children are playing hockey. She mentioned that her husband “said something to them like, ‘Well, they’re only playing street hockey. If you don’t like it, move away’ or something like that.”

[187] Barbara Yule, who was standing approximately 12 -14 feet from the Plaintiff’s vehicle, affirmed that her husband never said “fucking faggots”, adding that he would never say that.

[188] Regarding the incident of April 24, 2004, Barbara Yule stated that she felt very embarrassed when, in front of many people at a neighbourhood barbecue, the police accused her husband of breaking and entering.

[189] Ms. Yule described another incident whereby she was standing on the porch when the Plaintiffs immobilized their vehicle after having passed through the intersection.

[190] Her son, Alex, eating a bagel on his way to the park, threw a piece of the bagel onto the street.  She claimed that, at the time, she thought to herself, “This will become an incident, for sure”.

[191] Fifteen minutes later, the police arrived to her home alleging that Alex had been throwing things at the Plaintiffs’ car, calling them names and yelling at them. She told the police that she had been standing on the porch the entire time that this incident allegedly occurred, that her son had thrown a piece of bagel onto the street and wasn’t anywhere near the Plaintiff’s car.

[192] Jordan Dumoulin, 20, is employed as an assistant physical education teacher at a special needs school and an instructor. He has known the Lusk family for 14 years.

[193] The witness testified that during the autumn 2002, while playing street hockey in front of the Lusk’s house, Mr. Thibault drove by and inadvertently squashed the tennis ball with which the children were playing. The children, 12 years old at the time, were upset at the loss of the ball as they had no others.

[194] Drew Paris, one of the eight children present at the time, yelled, « fucking fag ». Subsequently a few other children, including Alex Lusk, joined in « a chorus of fag ».

[195] Mr. Thibault, understandably very upset, subsequently turned his car around, immobilized his vehicle in front of the children and yelled, « Vous n’avez pas vu la fin de moi ».

[196] The witness understood, by the Plaintiff’s comment, that his parents would be informed of the incident and he would therefore be reprimanded by them and by Mr. Lusk for having made these derogatory comments.

[197] Jordan Dumoulin apologized on behalf of those present during the incident, acknowledging that it was wrong and hurtful to have made these comments to the Plaintiff.

[198] He recalled that on April 24, 2004 at approximately 5 p.m., he was playing street hockey with Nicholas Lusk and another friend when Mr. Thibault, not having immobilized his vehicle at the stop sign, not only drove by quickly but also drove close to one of the children. He stated, « It was close. You could feel a brush of the mirror on the side of your arm ».

[199] Frightened and upset, as it felt as if they were almost hit by a car, the friends went to talk to Mr. Lusk who had not been present during the incident. Mr. Lusk appeared very calm and said, « Alright guys, I’m going to have to go over and discuss this ».

[200] The witness stated that Mr. Lusk then proceeded to « put on his shoes and left. There was no anger. It seemed like he didn’t really want to go and talk to them, didn’t want to confront them at all but went because there was a close encounter ».

[201] During cross-examination, Jordan Dumoulin mentioned that he and his friends did not play street hockey in a neighbourhood park because the sport couldn’t be played on grass and there was not sufficient pavement on which to play. In addition, the school grounds and nearby parking lots were private property, and therefore not accessible to them.

4. analysis

4.1       Decision on the objection to the filing of new evidence

[202] At the start of the last day of the hearing, which had been scheduled to hear a witness for the defense who had been previously unavailable to testify, the Defendant presented a motion to file new evidence which consisted of a document, signed by the Plaintiffs, that had been taken from a Superior Court file involving the Plaintiffs and another Defendant.

[203] The lawyer of the Commission objected to the filing of the document as evidence.

[204] The objection was based on:

· The confidential nature of the document that had been signed during a settlement conference presided by a Superior Court judge in a case unrelated to the present litigation.

· The lack of relevance of the document to the present litigation.

· The doctrine of res judicata, considering that the Tribunal had already rendered its decision regarding the Defendant’s motion to have the Plaintiffs declared vexatious litigants.

[205] The Defendant argued that the right to confidentiality had been renounced, as the Plaintiffs, having introduced the document in another judicial proceeding, had rendered it public.

[206] The principle of confidentiality regarding all that is said or written during the conference is codified in article 151.1 of the Code of Civil Procedure[19].

[207] According to the Court of Appeal in the decision Weinberg c. Ernst & Young, l.l.p.[20]:

« 49.     Bien qu’il soit reconnu que l’entente de règlement est confidentielle, cela n’empêche pas un juge d’en permettre l’accès à un tiers – et même le dépôt en preuve, le cas échéant – si cela s’avère nécessaire ou utile pour permettre à ce justiciable de faire valoir pleinement ses droits dans un litige. »

[208] A judge, however, cannot, without due consideration, lift the confidential status of a document forming part of a settlement. The Court of Appeal has established guidelines in this regard:

« 61.     Si on doit énoncer un critère permettant de vérifier si un document confidentiel a une apparence de pertinence, je préconiserais celui de la connexité véritable. »

[209] The Tribunal recognizes that the filing as evidence of a document signed in the context of a settlement agreement that the parties have undertaken contractually to keep confidential, can constitute a renunciation of the privilege of confidentiality by the party that files the document.

[210] The affidavit presented by the Defendant as evidence is insufficient to establish the renunciation of the privilege of confidentiality. Such a renunciation must be explicit.

[211] The Tribunal, moreover, considers that the two other arguments brought up by the Commission are well-founded, as similar act evidence presented by the Defendant does not apply to the case at hand. This litigation must be adjudicated based on the evidence relating to the three incidents involving the Defendant and the Plaintiffs.

[212] Notwithstanding the issue of credibility, the document that the Defendant wants to produce and which the Tribunal has examined is neither pertinent nor actually related to the present litigation. The Superior Court’s file involving the Plaintiffs and a third party has no relevance to the three incidents that are at the core of the present litigation.

[213] The Defendant did not establish valid grounds that would justify the revocation of the decision initially rendered by the Tribunal during the proceedings, which had denied the motion to have the Plaintiffs declared vexatious litigants.

[214] The Tribunal sustains the objection in conformity with the Court of Appeal’s decision in the Weinberg case previously cited. Consequently, the filing as evidence of a document taken from a Superior Court’s file, not involving the same parties, is not authorized.

5.         The nature of the questions before the Tribunal

1- Did the Defendant discriminatorily harass the victims, thus interfering with their rights to the safeguard of their dignity and their right to the peaceful enjoyment of their property without distinction or exclusion based on their sexual orientation, contrary to sections 4, 6 and 10.1 of the Charter?

2- If so, what damages are the victims entitled to?

6. APPLICABLE LAW

[215] The relevant sections of the Charter read as follows:

« 4. Every person has a right to the safeguard of his dignity, honour and reputation.

6. Every person has a right to the peaceful enjoyment and free disposition of his property, except to the extent provided by law.

10. Every person has a right to full and equal recognition and exercise of his human rights and freedoms, without distinction, exclusion or preference based on race, colour, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, civil status, age except as provided by law, religion, political convictions, language, ethnic or national origin, social condition, a handicap or the use of any means to palliate a handicap.

Discrimination exists where such a distinction, exclusion or preference has the effect of nullifying or impairing such right.

10.1 No one may harass a person on the basis of any ground mentioned in section 10.

49. Any unlawful interference with any right or freedom recognized by this Charter entitles the victim to obtain the cessation of such interference and compensation for the moral or material prejudice resulting therefore. In case of unlawful and intentional interference, the tribunal may, in addition, condemn the person guilty of it to punitive damages. »

[216] The Charter does not define the concept of harassment as it does the legal concept of discrimination.

[217] In the case Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse[21] the Tribunal had reviewed the relevant jurisprudence pertaining to the definition of the concept of harassment, as related to section 10.1 of the Charter:

« 51.     The courts have since consistently reiterated and refined the prohibition against discrimination based on sexual orientation, yet research continues to show that homophobia remains prevalent and that a very significant proportion of homosexuals experience homophobic violence, be it verbal, psychological, physical or sexual.

52.        Clearly, the impact of homophobic acts cannot be underestimated.

53.        Over the years, the Tribunal has rendered a number of decisions dealing specifically with discrimination or harassment based on sexual orientation. In Bronzage Évasion, a young homosexual was fired because his employer, the director of the tanning salon, deemed that he was not virile enough. The defendant employer added, referring to prejudices about gay men’s flirting habits, that her salon was not a “dépanneur” but a respectable place. The evidence established that the victim lost his job and had been discriminated against because of his sexual orientation.

54.        In another case, the defendant was condemned for harassing a homosexual neighbour who was a tenant in the same building. The defendant repeatedly insulted the victim in connection with his sexual orientation, encouraged fellow tenants to mock and demean the victim and otherwise made the victim’s life in the building extremely difficult. In that case, the Tribunal quoted the following definition of homophobia from the Groupe de travail mixte contre l’homophobie:

Toutes les attitudes négatives pouvant amener au rejet et à la discrimination, directe et indirecte, envers les gais, lesbiennes, les personnes bisexuelles, transsexuelles et transgenres, ou à l’égard de toute personne dont l’apparence ou le comportement ne se conforme pas aux stéréotypes de la masculinité ou de la féminité.

56.        In 1982, the right to freedom from discriminatory harassment was added to the Charter, as explained by the Court of Appeal in Habachi, to eradicate unacceptable behaviour tolerated for too long, primarily towards women and homosexuals.

57.        In Habachi, Justice Baudouin explained that harassment may consist of repeated words or acts. However, a single act may also be sufficient to constitute harassment under certain circumstances, “à condition cependant qu’il soit particulièrement grave et sérieux”. Justice Baudouin’s analysis thus confirmed what the Tribunal had stated in other words in the first instance:

La durabilité qu’une conduite vexatoire doit également comporter pour constituer du harcèlement peut donc tantôt être établie par la répétition de certains actes, tantôt par leur gravité dans la mesure où leurs effets ont alors un caractère de continuité.

58.        More recently, in a case of racial harassment in the workplace, the Tribunal reviewed the relevant jurisprudence and concluded that the victim had suffered from repeated acts and words attacking his race. Coworkers and superiors repeatedly mistreated the victim, shouting racial slurs at him, put up a poster of a monkey meant to refer to him at his workplace, and conspired to lodge unfounded complaints of sexual harassment against him, ultimately leading to his dismissal.

59.        As a result of discriminatory harassment, a victim often suffers violations of his rights to the safeguard of his dignity and to the peaceful enjoyment of his property, rights guaranteed respectively at sections 4 and 6 of the Charter. »

[Références de bas de page omises]

[218] It is neither necessary nor useful to re-examine the principles established in the jurisprudence cited in Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse c. X[22], which, according to the Tribunal, reflect the state of the law and apply to the case at hand.

Le contexte social /Social context

[219] Selon les enseignements de la Cour suprême dans l’arrêt R. c. S. (R.D.)[23], le juge peut se faire une idée claire du contexte ou de l’historique, ce qui est essentiel pour rendre justice, il peut aussi se faire une idée sur sa propre compréhension et son expérience de la société au sein de laquelle il vit et travaille. Ce processus d’ouverture est non seulement conforme à l’impartialité, il peut aussi à juste titre être considéré comme une condition préalable essentielle.

[220] La Cour suprême dans ce même arrêt cite avec approbation l’énoncé du juge de Grandpré dans l’arrêt Committee for Justice and Liberty[24] voulant qu’une personne raisonnable est censée connaître le passé de discrimination dont ont souffert les groupes défavorisés de la société canadienne que protègent les dispositions de la Charte relatives aux droits à l’égalité. Il s’agit de facteurs dont le juge peut prendre connaissance d’office.

[221] Appliquant ces enseignements de la Cour suprême, le Tribunal estime nécessaire de jeter un regard sur le contexte social existant au moment où surviennent les incidents au cœur de ce litige.

[222] Le rapport, De l’égalité juridique à l’égalité sociale[25], qui résulte de la démarche de consultation entreprise par un Groupe de travail mixte mis sur pied, suite au mandat confié, en 2005, à la Commission des droits de la personne par le ministre de la Justice[26], dresse un portrait de la situation relative à l’homophobie au Québec.

[223] On y retrouve les résumés de diverses recherches et enquêtes réalisées au Québec au cours des dernières années qui permettent de faire le point sur la discrimination envers les personnes homosexuelles et de cerner l’ampleur de l’homophobie, dans divers secteurs. Voici quelques extraits pertinents :

« Deux  sondages d’opinion effectués  par Léger Marketing 2003 et 2004, révèlent que  près du tiers des Québécois ont déjà constaté dans leur entourage des attitudes ou des comportements homophobes, qu’une majorité de Québécois estiment que les comportements homophobes sont aussi graves que les comportements xénophobes ou racistes[27].

[…]

Au Québec, les personnes de minorités sexuelles doivent souvent composer avec un environnement social homophobe, malgré des avancées sur le plan juridique. Diverses études recensées dans le présent contexte démontrent que l’homophobie a un effet direct sur le bien-être et la santé mentale de ces personnes.

Les personnes homosexuelles et bisexuelles constituent une population à risque ou plus vulnérable sur le plan psychosocial, en raison non pas de leur orientation sexuelle, mais de la stigmatisation sociale, ainsi que des attitudes et comporte­ments homophobes à leur égard. L’homophobie envers les gais et les lesbiennes se manifeste souvent par de la violence, qu’elle soit verbale, psychologique, physi­que ou sexuelle. Environ 50 % des personnes homosexuelles (jeunes ou adultes) ont été victimes de violence homophobe au cours de leur vie . L’homophobie, qu’elle vienne de l’extérieur ou qu’elle soit intériorisée, provoque un stress important ayant des incidences sur le bien-être de ces personnes, de même que sur leur santé mentale et physique[28].

[…]

La présence d’homophobie en milieu scolaire

Au Québec, l’existence d’un problème d’homophobie en milieu scolaire fait de plus en plus consensus. Une étude réalisée en 2002 auprès de 158 intervenant-e-s du milieu scolaire (en majorité du personnel enseignant et professionnel) de la Commission scolaire de Montréal révèle que :

· 85 % constatent la présence d’homophobie;

· 79 % considèrent pertinentes les actions préventives contre l’homophobie;

· 76 % se disent peu ou très peu informés sur les réalités homosexuelles;

· 74 % disent avoir besoin d’information ou de formation.

En 2005, une étude exploratoire conduite par le Groupe de recherche et d’inter­vention sociale [GRIS] de Québec démontre que l’homosexualité constitue une source importante de malaise et d’inconfort pour une vaste proportion de jeunes qui fréquentent l’école. On apprend également dans cette étude que :

· 76 % des enseignant-e-s et des intervenant-e-s disent entendre des commen­taires homophobes à l’école;

· 55 % disent en entendre dans la cour de récréation;

· 36 % disent en entendre à la cafétéria;

· 34 % disent raconter des histoires de « tapettes » sous le couvert de l’humour (principalement des hommes)[29].

[…]

Homophobie dans l’environnement de travail

Selon une recherche menée récemment à travers le Québec sur l’homophobie en milieu de travail auprès de 786 gais et lesbiennes, 80 % des personnes interro­gées disent avoir été témoins de blagues offensantes concernant l’homosexualité ou les personnes homosexuelles et 16 % disent en avoir été elles-mêmes la cible. […][30]. »

[Références de bas de page omises]

[224] La discrimination fondée sur l’orientation sexuelle est pourtant interdite au Québec dans la Charte depuis 1977.

[225] L’inclusion du motif de l’orientation sexuelle à titre de motif analogue est reconnue par la Cour suprême depuis 1995, en matière de droit à l’égalité au sens de l’article 15 de la Charte canadienne des droits et libertés[31].

[226] En 1999, le législateur québécois adoptait la Loi modifiant diverses dispositions législati­ves concernant les conjoints de fait[32] (Loi 32) qui accorde aux conjoints de même sexe les mêmes droits et privilèges que ceux existants pour les conjoints hétérosexuels.

[227] Au Canada depuis 2005, le mariage entre personnes de même sexe est reconnu.

[228] Bien que la discrimination contre les personnes homosexuelles soit interdite depuis belle lurette et que les législations ont reconnu aux personnes de minorités sexuelles des droits qui leur avaient été refusés pendant longtemps incluant notamment le droit au mariage, des préjugés persistent dans les mentalités qui ne semblent pas avoir suivi l’évolution législative.

[229] Force est de constater que la discrimination envers les personnes homosexuelles est bien présente au Québec, durant la période où se produisent les incidents au cœur de ce litige. Elle est parfois subtile, parfois directe, elle se manifeste souvent par la violence qu’elle soit verbale, psychologique, elle a des effets néfastes.

[230] Un adulte sur deux, gai ou lesbienne, développe des idées suicidaires en raison de la violence homophobe subie à l’école. Le taux de suicide chez les jeunes gais et bisexuels est de six à seize fois plus élevé que chez les autres jeunes[33]. En milieu de travail, il est reconnu que le harcèlement psychologique et des remarques homophobes peuvent causer une lésion professionnelle[34].

[231] Une personne raisonnable est censée connaître le passé de discrimination dont ont souffert les groupes défavorisés de la société canadienne que protègent les dispositions de la Charte relatives aux droits à l’égalité[35], cette même personne raisonnable ne saurait ignorer le contexte social contemporain dans lequel se produit la discrimination reprochée, selon le Tribunal.

[232] Le contexte social qui permet de situer l’environnement sociétal existant dans lequel surviennent les gestes discriminatoires reprochés est un facteur, parmi d’autres, que le Tribunal prend en considération, tout en respectant les règles de preuve applicables.

Burden of proof

[233] In the present case, the Complainant, CDP, alleges the infringement of the Plaintiffs’ rights to full and equal recognition and exercise of their fundamental rights, without distinction based on their sexual orientation. The CDP claims that, on three distinct occasions, the Defendant had made vexatious and offensive remarks to the Plaintiffs as well as having harassed them because of their sexual orientation.

[234] In order for the Defendant’s alleged remarks and conduct to be found discriminatory, the CDP must prove that there is a connection between the alleged remarks and conduct and the ground protected by the Charter. The mere presence of a ground of discrimination cannot suffice in itself[36].

[235] In Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse c. Périard, the Tribunal, per Justice Audet, of the Québec Human Rights Tribunal at the time, writes:

« [53]    En matière de discrimination, le fardeau de la preuve pèse sur la personne qui allègue qu’un acte donné a enfreint l’un de ses droits fondamentaux reconnus par la Charte. Elle doit alors convaincre le Tribunal par des faits établis que son droit est violé par l’acte illicite du défendeur visé.

[54]       Pour réussir un recours fondé sur l’article 10 de la Charte qui prohibe la discrimination, la Commission, au nom de la victime, doit démontrer l’existence de trois éléments :

1.         une distinction, exclusion ou préférence;

2.         fondée sur un des motifs énumérés au premier alinéa de l’article 10;

3.         qui a pour effet de détruire ou de compromettre le droit, en pleine égalité, à la reconnaissance et à l’exercice de tout autre droit ou liberté de la personne.

[55]       Il est par ailleurs bien établi qu’en matière de discrimination, une victime n’a pas à prouver l’intention de discriminer ou de porter préjudice, pas plus que l’auteur d’une discrimination ne peut se justifier en prouvant sa bonne foi ou ses bonnes intentions.

[56]       Enfin, qu’il s’agisse de prouver une violation à un droit reconnu par la Charte ou d’établir une justification à l’encontre de cette violation, le degré de preuve demeure celui propre aux affaires civiles, à savoir la prépondérance des probabilités.

[57]       La partie en demande peut notamment faire sa preuve aux moyens de présomption de fait, lesquels sont laissés à l’appréciation du Tribunal. Ces dernières doivent cependant être graves, précises et concordantes. Ainsi, la preuve offerte, pour être convaincante, doit aller au-delà des « vagues impressions » ou des « pures hypothèses[37]» »

[Références de bas de pages omises]

[236] Applying these principles, the Tribunal considers it necessary to examine each of the incidents in question and to analyze the evidence submitted, in order to determine if the CDP has established prima facie proof of the three elements previously mentioned.

[237] Subsequently, the Tribunal will analyse the evidence submitted by the Defendant in order to determine if it is sufficient to rebut the prima facie evidence. The Tribunal will then conclude whether or not the CDP has succeeded to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, the violation of the Plaintiffs’ rights that are guaranteed by the Charter and as alleged in the application introductive of suit.

The incident during the winter 2001

[238] The Plaintiffs claim that the Defendant, who was playing hockey with a group of children on the street, lifted a hockey stick when in front of the Plaintiffs’ car and simulated the gesture of hitting their vehicle.

[239] They accuse him of having made homophobic comments to them when he approached the side door of their vehicle.  According to the Plaintiffs:

« […] the defendant said, “You didn’t make your stop. You turned at 100 miles an hour, you fucking faggots”. Mr. Thibault then raised the car window and left. »

[240] Mr. Lusk denies that he made these comments and denies that he lifted his hockey stick in a simulated gesture of hitting the Plaintiffs’ vehicle. His testimony is corroborated by the testimonies of both his son and his spouse.

[241] The Tribunal notes the existence of an atmosphere of animosity during this incident, notably between the Plaintiffs and the children who are playing hockey on the street with Mr. Lusk.

[242] According to the Plaintiffs, the children and the Defendant should not be using the street to play hockey. On the other hand, the children and Mr. Lusk reproach the Plaintiffs for driving with excessive speed in a residential neighbourhood.

[243] The Tribunal considers that the Defendant did succeed in rebutting the prima facie evidence presented by the CDP, who did not prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, the violation of the Plaintiffs’ rights during the incident of winter 2001.

The incident of June 2003

[244] This incident occurred on June 26, 2003 while Mr. Thibault was driving his vehicle on Delmar Avenue in Pointe-Claire.

[245] Mr. Thibault’s version of the incident, whereby the Defendant obstructed the road while suddenly braking so as to provoke an accident, is contradicted by the testimony of Mr. Lusk who categorically denies having made the remarks and having behaved in the manner described by the Plaintiffs.

[246] Clearly, the mutual animosity between the parties, that dates backs to 2001, is once again prevalent during this incident.

[247] The contradictory evidence presented is insufficient to establish, in regards to this particular incident, that the Defendant harassed the Plaintiffs because of their sexual orientation.

The incident of April 2004

[248] The accusation of excessive speed is what triggered the incident that occurred on April 24, 2004.

[249] Subsequent to Mr. Thibault having driven on the street where the children were playing hockey, Mr. Lusk, who was not present on the street at the time yet who was informed that the Plaintiffs were once again driving at an excessive speed, decided to go to the Plaintiff’s residence to complain and to reason with them.

[250] The Plaintiffs claim that Mr. Lusk made homophobic comments to them, invited them to fight, threatened to beat them up and threatened to kill them.

[251] The video camera recorded several of Mr. Lusk’s gestures; it did not record his spoken words.

[252] The Tribunal considers that the Defendant has not succeeded in rebutting the evidence presented during the Plaintiffs’ testimonies and which was partially corroborated by the evidence from the surveillance camera.

[253] The video recording clearly indicates that Mr. Lusk’s gestures and manner of walking went beyond the scope of animosity. After having gone to the gate of the Messrs. Thibault’s and Wouters’ residence, he clearly manifested aggression towards the Plaintiffs by inviting them, with his hand gestures, to come to the street and fight.

[254] It is probable that he made the alleged offensive comments in order to insult and provoke the Plaintiffs, and to incite them to get involved in a street fight which he felt confident of winning, considering his military experience.

[255] There exist no valid reasons to reject the clear and convincing version of the Plaintiffs.

[256] The Defendant’s version, whereby the Plaintiffs were the ones instigating a fight, is not supported by the evidence.

[257] The Plaintiffs’ initial reaction to call 911 when they noticed the Defendant on their property indicates, to the Tribunal, that the Plaintiffs were seeking protection from Mr. Lusk and not confrontation with him.

[258] In its analysis of the evidence, the Tribunal has also taken into consideration the fact that the Defendant signed the Recognizance to keep the peace and be of a good behavior pursuant to section 810 of the Criminal Code, following proceedings instituted against him in regards to this incident.

[259] In regards to the incident that occurred on April 24, 2004, the Tribunal concludes that the CDP has succeeded in proving, by a preponderance of the evidence, that the Defendant, by his behavior, his comments and his attitude, has violated the rights of the Plaintiffs, on the basis of their sexual orientation.

[260] The global context is one that can be described as a saga that originated with the Plaintiffs’ opinion that the children living in the neighbourhood should not be playing hockey on the street, which is meant for vehicular traffic. On the other hand, the children, with the support of their parents, consider that they have the right to play hockey on the street.

[261] The situation degenerated to the point whereby the Plaintiffs are obliged to resort to the « forces of order » and to the courts. In response, they are subjected to reprisals consisting of homophobic insults, which under no circumstances can be considered as justifiable behavior nor as a legitimate means of defense for the violation of the Plaintiffs’ fundamental rights that are guaranteed by the Québec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms.

[262] A witness for the defense, Mr. Dumoulin, admitted that during the autumn 2002, the children, who were playing hockey on the street, participated in a chorus of homophobic insults addressed to the Plaintiffs as they drove by.

[263] It is reasonable to believe that, in the specific context of this case, it was not the first time that homophobic insults were directed at the Plaintiffs who lived in fear and, having been victims of criminal acts, were considered by IVAC to be in need of a surveillance camera on their property.

[264] In considering the global context, notably the situation of the Plaintiffs within their neighbourhood where an antagonistic atmosphere prevails, the claim that they are subject to harassment because of their sexual orientation is not unfounded.

[265] The evidence presented, however, is insufficient to allow the Tribunal to conclude that the Plaintiffs are subjected to harassment by the Defendant, who is only held responsible for one of the three incidents that are at the core of the present litigation.

7.         remedies

7.1       Moral damages

[266] In the decision rendered on March 21, 2008 in the case of CDPDJ c. X[38], the Human Rights Tribunal summarizes the principles established in the jurisprudence regarding moral damages and regarding quantum, to which the Tribunal adheres.

[267] Given that the state of the law has since remained unchanged in this matter, the Tribunal finds it useful and appropriate to reproduce the following excerpt from the decision CDPDJ c. X :

« [88]    The Court of Appeal has cautioned that although moral damages may be difficult to quantify, the harm suffered is no less real. As Justice Rayle has written:

Que le préjudice moral soit plus difficile à cerner ne diminue en rien la blessure qu’il constitue. J’irais même jusqu’à dire que parce qu’il est non-apparent, le préjudice moral est d’autant plus pernicieux. Il affecte l’être humain dans son for intérieur, dans les ramifications de sa nature intime et détruit la sérénité à laquelle il aspire, il s’attaque à sa dignité et laisse l’individu ébranlé, seul à combattre les effets d’un mal qu’il porte en lui plutôt que sur sa personne ou sur ses biens.[41]

[89]       In numerous cases of sexual harassment[42] or racial harassment[43], the Tribunal has awarded at least 5 000 $ for moral damages, often even implicitly noting that the sum would have been larger had the Commission asked for it. The same comment appears in three Tribunal decisions about discrimination and harassment based on sexual orientation, where the moral damages were granted as claimed.[44] »

[Références de bas de page omises]

[268] For the Tribunal, it is clear from the Plaintiffs’ testimonies that they have been affected and frightened by the Defendant’s behavior, who had gone to their home to insult them, making homophobic offensive remarks and inviting them to fight.

[269] It is reasonable to conclude that, due to these circumstances, the Plaintiffs suffered moral damages.

[270] There is sufficient evidence to conclude that the Plaintiffs’ rights to the safeguard of their dignity were violated by the disrespect and the contempt manifestly directed at them by the Defendant, as shown on the video that was filed as evidence by the CDP.

[271] The Commission is seeking the sum of $ 7 000 in moral damages for each of the Plaintiffs.

[272] In essence, the evidence of moral damages consists of the Plaintiffs’ testimonies, whereby they state that following the Defendant’s behavior, they suffered from insomnia and anxiety, and were thus obliged to take medications.

[273] In the decision CDPDJ c. X[39], submitted by the CDP, the Human Rights Tribunal concluded that since 2001, the Plaintiffs had been suffering from stress, anxiety and fear, which could not be wholly attributed to the Defendant.

[274] Applying the same reasoning, the Tribunal considers it reasonable, in light of the evidence submitted, to award the sum of $ 3 000 in moral damages to each of the Plaintiffs for the humiliation, the violation of their dignity, the stress and the difficulties caused by the Defendant’s behavior, in violation of the rights that are guaranteed by the Charter.

7.2       Punitive damages

[275] The CDP is seeking $ 3 000 in punitive damages for each of the Plaintiffs.

[276] The awarding of such damages, pursuant to the second paragraph of section 49 of the Charter, requires two conditions: unlawful and intentional interference.

[277] In CDPDJ c. Périard[40], the Human Rights Tribunal reviews the jurisprudence regarding the criteria for the attribution of punitive damages:

« [86]    Il convient par ailleurs de rappeler les enseignements de la Cour d’appel au regard des dommages punitifs :

« [108] La fonction préventive des dommages punitifs est fondamentale; ils visent un double objectif de punition et dissuasion mais ne peuvent excéder ce qui est suffisant pour atteindre ces objectifs. […] « c’est (…) vers l’avenir que le juge doit se tourner pour chiffrer un montant qui empêchera la récidive ». Il ne s’agit pas d’indemniser le demandeur mais de punir le défendeur comme il le mérite, de le décourager, lui et d’autres, d’agir ainsi à l’avenir et d’exprimer la réprobation de tous à l’égard de tels événements. »[41]

[Le soulignement est du Tribunal]

[87] La jurisprudence a aussi dégagé d’autres facteurs pour fixer la quotité des dommages punitifs. Les auteurs Baudouin et Deslauriers les présentent sommairement comme suit :

« De l’analyse de ces critères [ceux de l’article 1621 C.c.Q.], on peut dégager certaines constantes. D’abord, certains se basent surtout sur la conduite du défendeur, elle-même (durée de la conduite, évaluation de la sévérité de celle-ci, nécessité de prévenir des comportements du même type dans l’avenir). D’autres s’attachent davantage à la situation du défendeur (le profit qu’il a tiré de la conduite, ses ressources financières, les autres punitions qu’il a subies) ou à la situation de la victime (impact du comportement sur elle, provocation éventuelle de sa part) ; plusieurs, enfin, prennent en compte surtout le montant total accordé (nécessité de ne pas dédoubler par l’octroi de ces dommages une indemnisation déjà accordée sous un autre chef). » »

[278] Regarding the objectives of exemplary damages, in the case de Montigny v. Brossard (Succession)[42], the Honourable Justice Lebel, on behalf of the Supreme Court, writes:

« 47.     While compensatory damages are awarded to compensate for the prejudice resulting from fault, exemplary damages serve a different purpose.  An award of such damages aims at expressing special disapproval of a person’s conduct and is tied to the judicial assessment of that conduct, not to the extent of the compensation required for reparation of actual prejudice, whether monetary or not.  As Cory J. stated:

Punitive damages may be awarded in situations where the defendant’s misconduct is so malicious, oppressive and high-handed that it offends the court’s sense of decency.  Punitive damages bear no relation to what the plaintiff should receive by way of compensation.  Their aim is not to compensate the plaintiff, but rather to punish the defendant.  It is the means by which the jury or judge expresses its outrage at the egregious conduct of the defendant.

(Hill v. Church of Scientology of Toronto, 1995 CanLII 59 (S.C.C.), [1995] 2 S.C.R. 1130 , at para. 196) »

[48]       In Quebec law, the system of exemplary damages remains exceptional in nature.  Article 1621 C.C.Q. states that such damages may be awarded only where this is provided for by law.  As we have seen, the Charter so provides by allowing exemplary damages to be awarded in cases involving unlawful and intentional interference with the rights and freedoms it guarantees. […]

[49]       Because of the exceptional nature of this right, the Quebec courts have so far been quite strict in giving effect to the preventive purpose of exemplary damages under art. 1621 C.C.Q. by using them only for punishment and deterrence (both specific and general) of conduct that is considered socially unacceptable (Béliveau St-Jacques, at paras. 21 and 126; St-Ferdinand, at para. 119). […]

[…]

[53]       Since denunciation contributes to the preventive objective of art. 1621 C.C.Q. just as much as punishment and deterrence, I see no reason to refuse to recognize denunciation as an objective of exemplary damages in Quebec civil law.  This approach is all the more appropriate where the issue is respect for the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Charter, a document that expresses the most fundamental values of Quebec society, as stated forcefully in its preamble. »

[279] These principles, established in the jurisprudence, apply to the case at hand.

[280] The context in which the Defendant violated the Plaintiff’s rights, the arrogance he manifested by taking the law into his own hands when he went to the Plaintiffs’ residence to hurl abuse at them and to invite them to fight, are factors that the Tribunal has taken into consideration in its decision to award the amount of $ 3 000 in punitive damages to each of the Plaintiffs, as sought by the CDP.

[281] An award of more substantial punitive damages would have been fully justified in this case, considering the objectives sought in the awarding of punitive damages[43].

[282] Based on all these reasons, the Tribunal rejects the defense and allows the application in part.

[283] FOR THESE REASONS, THE COURT:

[284] GRANTS in part the Plaintiffs’ action;

[285] ORDERS the Defendant, Gordon Lusk, to pay to Mr. Théodorus Wouters, the sum of $ 3 000 in moral damages and $ 3 000 in punitive damages and to pay to Mr. Roger Thibault, the sum of $ 3 000 in moral damages and $ 3 000 in punitive damages, the whole with interest thereon at the legal rate and the additional indemnity stipulated in article 1619 of the Civil Code of Quebec, from May 15, 2009, for moral damages, and from the date of this judgment for punitive damages.

[286] THE WHOLE with costs against the Defendant.

__________________________________

DANIEL DORTÉLUS, JTDP

Me Maurice Drapeau

Vizkelety Drapeau Bourdeau

360, rue St-Jacques ouest, 2ème étage

Montréal, H2Y 1P5

Avocat de la partie demanderesse

Me Stephen Angers

405, rue St-Dizier, bureau R-02

Montréal, H2Y 2Y1

Avocat de la partie défenderesse

Dates d’audience :

Les 15 et 16 avril 2010, ainsi que le 5 octobre 2010


[1] R. c. Lusk Gordon, 104 307 079.

[2] R. v. Walker, 500-01-012018-013.

[3] Résidences-hôtellerie Harmonie inc. c. Résidences-hôtellerie RGL, s.e.c., 2009 QCCS 5250 ; Centre hospitalier Robert-Giffard c. Gestion Francis Carrier inc., 2009 QCCS 3131 .

[4] Code de procédure civile, L.R.Q., c. C-25, art. 54.1 et suiv.

[5] Précité, note 4, art. 75.

[6] C.D.P.D.J. c. Doucet, T.D.P.Q., 1999 CanLII 54 (QC T.D.P.), J.E. 99-662 ; Boulé c. Québec (Ministère de la Sécurité publique), J.E. 2002-1554 ; Turenne c. Québec (Procureur général) (Sûreté du Québec), 2007 QCTDP 30 , D.T.E. 2008T-106 ; C.D.P.D.J. c. Québec (Procureur général), 2006 QCTDP 20 , J.E. 2007-160 , D.T.E.2007T-61.

[7] Précité, C.D.P.D.J. c. Doucet.

[8] Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse c. Centre de la petite enfance Les Pandamis [2006] R.J.Q. 1727 (T.D.P.) paragr. 30.

[9] Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse c Centre de la petite enfance ‘‘le château des adorable [2009] QCTDP 22 paragr. 61.

[10] Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse c. Société des casinos du Québec inc. [2010]  QCTDP 11 .

[11] Les objectifs visés par la création du Tribunal des droits de la personne en 1990, sont décrits par le ministre de la justice Rémillard : « Une plus grande accessibilité à la justice : Le Tribunal des droits de la personne permet un accès à la justice particulièrement efficace pour les citoyens-nes en ce qui regarde les droits et libertés, pierre d’assise de notre stabilité sociale et de notre démocratie, accès que les autres tribunaux ne sauraient assurer avec autant d’efficience, compte tenu de leurs multiples fonctions. », Débats de l’Assemblée nationale (10/12/1990) à la page 5978.

[12] Matic c. Trottier, 2010 QCCS 1466 .

[13] Pogan c. Barreau du Québec (FARPBQ), 2010 QCCS 1458 (CanLII).

[14] Yves-Marie MORISSETTE, Abus de droit, quérulence et parties non représentées, (2003) 49 R.D. McGill 23 à 58;

[15] Barreau du Québec c. Srougi, 2007 QCCS 685 (CanLII), 2007 QCCS 685 , paragr. 26, Dubé c. Commission des relations de travail, 2007 QCCS 4276 (CanLII), 2007 QCCS 4276 , paragr. 17-18, Droit de la famille – 091286, 2009 QCCS 2462 (CanLII), 2009 QCCS 2462 , paragr. 36, F.L. c. Lesage, 2010 QCCS 117 (CanLII), 2010 QCCS 117 , paragr. 82 et suiv., et Dahan c. Delderfield, 2009 QCCS 5840 (CanLII), 2009 QCCS 5840, paragr. 45.

[16] Voir, au même effet, Bellemare c. Abaziou, 2009 QCCA 230 (CanLII), 2009 QCCA 230 , paragr. 9 de l’opinion du J. Beauregard.

[17] R. c. Lusk Gordon, 104 307 079.

[18] Précité, note 4, art. 54.2.

[19] Précité, note 4, art. 151.1.

[20] Weinberg c. Ernst & Young, l.l.p., 2010 QCCA 1727 .

[21] Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse c. X, 2008 QCTDP 13 .

[22] Précité.

[23] R. c. S. (R.D.), [1997] 3 R.C.S. 484 , paragr. 44, 46.

[24] Committe for Justice and Liberty c. L’Office national de l’énergie, [1978] 1 R.C.S. 369 .

[25] Rapport de consultation du Groupe de travail mixte contre l’homophobie, « De l’égalité juridique à l’égalité sociale ». Vers une stratégie nationale de lutte contre l’homophobie, Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse, mars 2007.

[26] Le 1 er juin 2005, à l’occasion de la Journée nationale de lutte contre l’homophobie, le ministre de la Justice a confié à la Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse le mandat d’assurer la coordination des activités et la préparation du rapport de consultation du Groupe de travail mixte contre l’homophobie. Le mandat confié à la Commission consistait  entre autres à : brosser un bilan de la situation relative à l’homophobie dans le contexte québécois; dresser un inventaire des problématiques engendrées par l’homophobie.

[27] Léger Marketing, L’homophobie au Québec: mythe ou réalité? Étude omnibus, avril 2003, dossier 12717-004; Léger Marketing, Perception et opinion des Québécois à l’égard des personnes homosexuelles, Étude omnibus, mai 2004, dossier 12717-006.

[28] Précité, note 25, pages 15, 16.

[29] Précité, note 25, p. 23, 24.

[30] Précité, note 25, p. 52.

[31] M c. H (1999) 2 R.C.S. p. 3; Egan c. Canada, 1995 CanLII 98 (C.S.C.), (1995) 2 R.C.S. 513 .

[32] Projet de loi no 32, c-14 (Loi modifiant diverses dispositions législatives concernant les conjoints de fait) adopté le 10 juin 1999, sanctionné le 16 juin 1999.

[33] Précité, note 25, p. 25.

[34] Club de golf Laval-sur-le-Lac et Butler,  2009 QCCLP 724 , SOQUIJ AZ-50582038 , paragr. 20.

[35] Précité, note 24.

[36] Québec (Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse c. Montréal (Ville),   2000 CSC 27 (CanLII), [2000] 1 R.C.S. 665 .

[37] Commission des droits de la personne et des droits de la jeunesse c. Périard, 2007 QCTDP 10 .

[38] CDPDJ c. X (T.D.P.Q.), J.E. 2008-1193 .

[39] Précité, note 17.

[40] CDPDJ c. Périard, 2007 QCTDP 10 .

[41] Métromédia CMR Montréal inc. c. Johnson, [2006] R.J.Q. 395 (C.A.); J.-L. BAUDOUIN et P. DESLAURIERS, La responsabilité civile, voir note 24, paragr. 350.

[42] de Montigny v. Brossard (Succession), 2010 SCC 51 (CanLII).

[43] Précité, note 42.