Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Professional Victim Number 6,724 at the HRTO

Well, OK, we're not sure of the exact number. But allow the corgis to introduce you to Richard Grainer. Mr. Grainer is the subject of a feature article in today's Ottawa Citizen. It describes his long running battle with his landlord and his neighbors over fumes from a clothes dryer that he alleges have triggered 22 asthma attacks in his three year old son.
Now, asthma is a serious business, as Doggerelle well knows. And if, let's say, the landlord had been uncooperative and unconcerned, perhaps there might be grounds for Mr. Grainer to feel aggrieved. But the Citizen makes clear that the landlord has bent over backwards to accommodate Mr. Grainer and his son. They have moved the dryer vent to several different locations. They have attempted to locate and seal points in Mr. Grainer's apartment where the fumes might enter. Neighbors have experimented with not using softener sheets. And in the end Mr. Grainer is not satisfied, so off to the Human Rights Tribunal he goes.

Coincidentally, I am also the parent of a three year old boy. And also by coincidence, I have recently had first hand the experience of watching him stop breathing, albeit for only about 30 seconds. But I can tell you, that if I knew something in the environment where I was living meant that I would have to live those 30 seconds again, along with the 911 call, the ambulance ride, the anxious time in the ER... I would be out of there with my family before you could say "Barbara Hall." Even if I felt that my landlord hadn't taken care of things, care for the child trumps all principle, all stubbornness, all pride.

Not so for Mr. Grainer. This is a man who has already harassed one neighbor out of the triplex over a dog. Now he's on the Great Dryer Vent-etta, aided and abetted by all the usual Human Rights Industry suspects. Mr. Grainer won't move his son out of danger because, he says, he "likes living" where he is.

If only there were a Commission looking out for this little boy's right to responsible parental care.