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Monday, February 18, 2008

Lemieux: Losing our freedoms

Pierre Lemieux used to be a regular columnist with the print edition of the Western Standard. Well, he's back with a regular, weekly column published here and at Liberty in Canada, an online news source and project of the Canadian Constitution Foundation edited by Pierre.

Pierre is many things--professor, author, journalist, and economist--but his most salient character-trait is his unabashed and radical love of liberty.

In his first column, Pierre gives voice to what many of us are thinking: Our country, founded on a deep reverence and respect for individual liberty, is seeing many of those liberties erode on a daily basis. Why are we letting it slip through our fingers? Did we forget to keep our powder dry?

An excerpt:

"We have lost traditional liberties in property rights and freedom of contract, certain areas of free speech, certain lifestyle choices, personal security, privacy and, despite the charters, legal protections (think about the often reversed burden of proof or the arbitrary enforcement of laws by bureaucrats). This assault on our liberties has been financed by making us pay twice in taxes what we paid a hundred years ago (as a proportion of our incomes)."

Posted by westernstandard on February 18, 2008 in Western Standard | Permalink


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Welcome to the Shotgun, Pierre.

I always looked forward to Pierre in the Western Standard until one day, Pierre was no longer carried.

Now however between the Shotgun, Liberty Canada, Kate's SDA, Mark Steyn, Ezra Levant, Steve Janke's Great White North, Kathy Shaidle's Five Feet of Fury, to name a few, a measure of truly conservatism and Libertarian voices will begin to counter the long smothering "Leviathan" of Canada - MAINSTREAM LEFTIST MEDIA in concert with overreaching governments at all levels.

It isn't going to be easy to turn the nanny monster around, (after three generations - and counting - of entitlement inculcation into our young) and if the internet can remain free of state control, we may even regain some ground from Leviathan.

Posted by: Joe Molnar | 2008-02-18 7:51:19 AM

I wrote the article below in 2002. Since then the, I believe, loss of freedom in Canada has steadily gotten worse. SJG.

The Loss Of Freedom In Canada
By Stephen J. Gray

"Freedom can primarily be characterized by the absence of coercion or constraint. If a person is compelled by the state or the will of another to a course of action or inaction which he would not otherwise have chosen, he is not acting of his own volition and he cannot be said to be truly free."

Chief Justice Bryan Dixon in the " Big M Drug Mart Ltd." decision.

Substitute the judiciary for "the state" in the above quote and we realise we are not "truly free."

To understand how we lost our freedoms we have to go back a number of years to the beginning.

The loss of personal freedom in Canada had its roots in a decision by an appointed Supreme Court judge. His name was Ivan C. Rand. This judge brought compulsory union dues to Canada in 1946. This assault on personal freedom was known as the Rand Decision.

The rationale behind his decision was that trade unions needed money for collective bargaining and since workers benefited from negotiated agreements all persons in the union had to pay compulsory dues. There should be no freeloaders. Collective bargaining evolved into collective coercion and trade unions became a tax free money machine for numerous political, social and moral issues that had nothing whatsoever to do with the workplace. Support of abortion, homosexuality, radical feminists, socialism and numerous other causes became the agenda of trade unions.

There are over 2 million compulsory union members in Canada. These people just like everybody else in society have different social, moral, political and religious beliefs yet they are forced to support non work issues with their forced union dues. Even union members personal views on society are under attack. Chris Kempling, a member of the B.C. Teachers Federation (BCTF), was disciplined by the British Columbia College of Teachers (BCCT) for "conduct unbecoming a member." What was Mr.Kempling’s crime? On his own time, he chose to write letters to the newspapers criticizing the homosexual agenda of the BCTF. We have reached a dangerous crossroads in Canada when a person can be disciplined by a union for expressing their opinions in letters to the newspapers. Whatever happened to "freedom of expression" in this country? The union bosses say all these non work issues are decided democratically at conventions. This begs the question: How can anything be democratic if membership and dues are compulsory? And what does this say about our so called Charter of Rights and Freedoms? When a person is in a forced association, how can they have freedom of association?

More Union Involvement:

We also have the Vriend decision where the Canadian Labour Congress (CLC) was an intervenor -what a system this compulsory union dues has become. Another intervenor in this case was the Women’s Legal Education Action Fund (LEAF). Leaf has received money from trade unions and also receives government grants. The CLC and LEAF are in favour of "democracy" and "equality" but have no problem taking compulsory union dues to finance their agendas. Recently we saw the furore over the Durham School Boards attempt to stop a homosexual youth taking his homosexual date to the school prom. The Canadian Auto Workers Union(CAW) issued a press release in favour of the homosexual couple stating: " We have pushed employers, legislators and courts in our demand for equality." The press release was signed by union boss Buzz Hargrove. This is hypocrisy talking about "equality" while being funded by compulsion. Buzz and his union buddies obviously have clout when they boast they can push "legislators" and "courts" to comply with their demands.

More on Judges

What started with Judge Rand and his edict of compulsion has now opened a whole judicial can of worms that is eating away at tradition, normalcy and morality.

We have a judge in the Nesbitt and Egan case "read in" words that are not written in the constitution. We have, The Singh decision and Pushpanathan ruling that has resulted in criminals being allowed to stay in Canada. We have another judge declaring a pervert’s work has "artistic merit." Now we have another piece of judicial tripe from a judicial threesome in Ontario on homosexual marriage: " The restriction against same sex marriage is an offence to the dignity of lesbians and gays because it limits the range of relationship options available to them." (Judge Harry LaForme quoted in National Post of July 13, 2002. the other two judges "concurred" with him.) The judges gave Parliament 24 months to change the "legal definition of marriage." Our elected representatives are now being given ultimatums by the non-elected. One could call this a judicial coup d’etat. Somebody once said the law is an ass, now the law is three asses braying in unison. As mentioned earlier some of these court cases have some trade union involvement. It would be interesting to see how much union time and money has been diverted to intervening in cases that are unrelated to the workplace. The Canadian Union of Public Employees(CUPE) is on record as saying that it "leads the labour movement in its support of lesbian and gay issues." (CUPE Quarterly, October 1992). CUPE has also been to court on behalf of "same sex" pensions. Morgentaler, Canada’s foremost abortionist has received money from unions. Which is evidenced by the following: "... the Ontario Federation of Labour has donated thousands of dollars to the Morgentaler defence..." ( The Charter of Rights and the Legalization of Politics in Canada, page 301.)

Other ways we are losing our freedoms are through appointed human rights commissions. These non elected bodies have also imposed bizarre decisions. The National Post of July 26, 2002, had a headline on page 2 that stated "Rights commission tells Ottawa ‘do what’s right’ on gay unions." These non elected commissars are in existence due to the cowardice of elected politicians who have abdicated responsibility to these kangaroo courts.

There are two common threads to the loss of freedom in Canada, by compulsion and by appointment. The trade unions weapon is compulsion. The Judiciary’s and Human Rights Commission’s weapon is appointment. All have one thing in common, they are anti- democratic. We live in a pretend democracy. The Charter of Rights and Freedoms has become a judicial monster that devours freedom, morality and decency and vomits compulsion, filth and depravity.

In this country the peoples’ own money, compulsory union dues and tax dollars are used to fund this loss of freedom. The Court Challenges programme is one example where the politically correct interest groups receive funding from our tax dollars to take their cases to court.
Meanwhile people who are opposed to these groups have to raise their own funds to oppose them. Canada has become a country where the majority are dictated to by an appointed minority, where tax free unions, funded by compulsion, dictate to their forced membership and use union dues as they see fit courtesy of an appointed judge. Where the Parliamentary system has become subservient to judicial tyranny under the guise of " independence of the judiciary." A more appropriate phrase for these judicial outlaws would be "the perversion of the judiciary."

Robert Bork in his book The Tempting of America-The Political Seduction of the Law, wrote, "Once the judges make the law, the democratic process is at an end." His words aptly sum up what is happening in Canada today.

(Note: the Court Challenges Program has now been abolished. But the damage it caused has already been done.)SJG Feb. 18, 2008.

Posted by: Stephen J. Gray | 2008-02-18 10:24:16 AM

I'll admit to not making a point of noting the names of the many fine writers of the "Western Standard." I didn't have the presence of mind to expect the magazine would close down, and I just considered it ALL good stuff which would be easy to find (i.e. open my mail box).

I'm glad you returned, Pierre Lemieux (Gosh, how did I breeze over such a beautiful name?)!

Regarding your column, all the examples listed will certainly be enlightening as you flesh them out or delve further in future. The single "throw away" that you left most vaguely undetailed was the concept that we have "lost" "certain lifestyle choices." Huh?

Sorry to be narrow focused, but it seems to me that the only thing "gained" (or more accurately, exchanged) was the homosexual "lifestyle" "Rights" which now take the place of everything normal and constant and beneficial concerning institutional support for natural human life and society and culture.

This seemed sort of an elephant in the room, but I can appreciate your background in economics would obviate greater focus on central banking and securities insider disclosures rather than the venial matters (which unfortunately have had such destructive effects).

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2008-02-18 10:26:05 AM

I have a bad memory, particularly for bad news. Certainly, somewhere on this blog, I've been called dumb or stupid, but now I'm starting to appreciate it.

I now realize that some (many?) of the commenters on this blog are in fact recognized published authors. I use an anonymous "nick name" to post here and I've sort of (stupidly) assumed that the other names (or most of them) of fellow bloggers were all phony too, or maybe made allusion to great men of Canadian history, etc. Yikes! (palm hits forehead).

Stephen J. Gray, your article was excellently enlightening.

I realize that you folks have TONS of work to do, regarding Canada, but any time that you want to write about how the "great" John F. Kennedy, brought into existence (exactly at the time when normal industrial unions were losing worker allegiance) the slick funnel of "public employee's unions" (which were illegal until his "great" contribution to America) which vastly inflated the pay of government "workers" in America, and then easily extracted abundant dollars for deposit directly into the campaign coffers of Democrat Party activists, for use in absolute bribes paid to sitting elected officials for the purpose of greater government paycheck-pensions (e.g. California Governor Gray Davis got a $100,000,000 campaign contribution from the California Teachers Union immediately prior to his last election campaign and he immediately tripled the teachers pensions before leaving office, setting the stage for impending bankruptcy of the State of California), blown all out of proportion to the rest of our economy, and which now are literally bankrupting various municipalities, school districts, etc. at the same time as utter incompetence of "teachers" (for example) endeavor to erode the mental acuity and basic morality of our (voting) populace, well have at it!

Best regards,

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2008-02-18 11:22:15 AM

I guess Muslims lost the right not to be defamed!

Posted by: notloz | 2008-02-18 11:27:58 AM

not loz of brains,

I guess if you consider printing cartoons many people find humorous in a country that practices democracy and free speech as being "defamation", then yes, they have lost that right.

Or they could try growing up a little and just try to fit in. In fact most do.

Bottom line is, it is not our duty to change our lifestyle or freedoms to accommodate them.

The onus is on them to adapt to this countries lifestyles and freedoms.

Posted by: deepblue | 2008-02-18 12:00:48 PM

Conrad - USA - Mr. Lemieux did the unpardonable - he suggested that smoking cigarettes in a public place was his right as a free citizen. Tobacco haters in the Conservative corner did not want to hear this....even Conservatives think that some 'freedoms' are not worth preserving because they, personally, do not like tobacco smoke. I am happy to report that our Prime Minister is against stupid bans too, he stated that in Ontario before the 2004 election. PMSH is not a smoker but he has stated that he is not supportive of smoking bans - he thinks that the owner of the property can make that decision for him/herself - as Mr. Limieux and I do.

First they came for the Jews, I was not Jewish so I did nothing....I have not always been a smoker and I have never been a liqueur drinker but if someone wants a beer or a vodka or wine at my house, I have some on hand and I will join them for a drink if I think that my guest will feel awkward if I don't - sometimes I just pour orange juice into a glass! When I was a non smoker I always had a box of cigarettes on hand for my smoking friends; in case they ran out! I am not saying that I am a milquetoast, I would not allow any guest of mine to snuff up illegal drugs (through nose or veins) on my premises. I don't like drugs..and I would not allow anyone to blasphemy the Good Lord on my premises...so I guess we all have our priorities..I just happen to agree with the Libertarian views of Mr. Lemieux so I am a dedicated fan of his too!

Posted by: jema54j | 2008-02-18 1:40:10 PM


Defamation of muslims is different than defimation of a muslim.

Posted by: TM | 2008-02-18 2:02:00 PM

jema54j -

All of my reading and responses to your posts just quickly drift off into flirting with you, and I understand that you are married (but a lot of difference that makes, I frequently proposed marriage to Ann Coulter and she ignored me completely, until my wife - of 36 years - gleefully informed me that Ann married some "other" guy not long ago).

But, I'll take your comment as solid endorsement of Mr. Lemieux, and a good answer to my wily concerns that he didn't lambaste the "lifestyle choices" issue.

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2008-02-18 2:03:35 PM

Spot on jema54j.

By the way there is an excellent book by an acclaimed and veteran psychiatrist, Lyle H Rossiter, Jr., called "The Liberal Mind - The Psychological Causes of Political Madness". Here are a few excerpts from him which are certainly applicable to Canada.

"Like spoiled, angry children, they rebel against the normal responsibilities of adulthood and demand that a parental government meet their needs from cradle to grave."

"A social scientist who understands human nature will not dismiss the vital roles of free choice, voluntary co-operation and moral integrity - as liberals do. A political leader who understands human nature will not ignore individual differences in talent, drive, personal appeal and work ethic, and try to impose economic and social equality on the population - as liberals do. And a legislator who understands human nature will not create an environment of rules which over-regulates and over-taxes the nation's citizens, corrupts their character and reduces them to wards of the state - as liberals do."

"The roots of liberalism - and its associated madness - can be clearly identified by understanding how children develop from infancy to adulthood and how distorted development produces the irrational beliefs of the liberal mind. When the modern liberal mind whines about imaginary victims, rages against imaginary villains and seeks above all else to run the lives of persons competent to run their own lives, the neurosis of the liberal mind becomes painfully obvious."

Finally he says that the liberal agenda preys on weakness and feelings of inferiority in the population by:

-creating and reinforcing perceptions of victimisation;
-satisfying infantile claims to entitlement, indulgence and compensation;
-augmenting primitive feelings of envy; and
-rejecting the sovereignty of the individual, subordinating him to the will of the government.

Sound familiar?

Posted by: Alain | 2008-02-18 3:12:36 PM

I always went straight for the Pierre Lemieux column when the WS was in print. I hope to see him a lot on here.

Posted by: Veteran | 2008-02-18 3:31:43 PM

To Conrad - U.S.A.: Thanks for the compliment on my article and the information on Americam Trade Unions.

Posted by: Stephen J. Gray | 2008-02-18 3:54:58 PM

Conrade and Alain - I think that we are on the same page and I thank-you for the lovely compliments.

Conrad -USA - I think that your wife is a very fortunate lady to be married to a man who proposes to Ann Coulter, you are intrepid and you have impeccable good taste. I am doubly flattered that you would even mention me in the same sentence! I am definitely going to show your post to my better half who is a wild Irishman. He will state that you know not of what you speak, as he does not always appreciate (hearing)my views on things! He is very outspoken and opinionated and I love him immensely (as you so obviously love your wife of 36 years). It is very flattering for an old lady to have someone flirt with her - makes me feel young!!

Alain - I like that book excerpt - I shall look for it so I can read the whole thing.

Posted by: jema54j | 2008-02-18 4:38:14 PM

Something I always found silly is the fight between the left and the right. Both want big gov't and both are built on fear. One side fears losing health care and hand outs. The other side fears brown people. In the end, both sides give us a welfare/warfare state. No one wants freedom. The USA is dead as far its original principles are concerned. No rabid, blonde vermin or dark skinned communist are going to change that.

Posted by: Veteran | 2008-02-18 9:23:36 PM

Veteran, you are wrong in stating that the other side "fears brown people". I know of no one like that. To expect immigrants to respect their host country and its laws and to expect immigrants to seek to assimilate is a naturally and reasonable expectation, which has nothing to do with colour.

The sickness or mental disorder to which I referred above is indeed wide spread and we have about three generations raised in that environment. I would also say that I see no major political party at present which does not suffer from this sickness. True it is worse on the Left (Liberals, NDP, Greens, etc.) but it is also present within the Conservative Party. This is sad and unfortunate.

Posted by: Alain | 2008-02-18 9:40:02 PM

Stephen J. Gray -

I'm glad to have piqued your interest, BUT you must be forewarned that I am a dubious source of scholarship. The timing of changes in U.S. regulations concerning political activity by government workers and the creation of labor unions for government employees was close or coincident with JFK's term in office. As you well know, legislation could have been in the mill for years-decades and even passed without his signature, etc.

The creation of government worker unions has been almost an oximoron, but it has also led to a huge change in the conduct and reach of government, in America, wherein many high pay (skilled labor, etc.) jobs of industry have been blown away via deceitful "rights" to let a zillion ILLEGAL aliens enter and eclipse ordinary economic forces, while, thoroughly protected government "workers" jobs get a huge boost in compensation for less and less and less productivity.

If you investigate this "issue" I'm confident you will find that I have at best only a part of the truth, but then, I'm not pretending to be other than a free speech (quasi-informed) citizen, who plays strictly by the rules.

jema54j -

I'm half Irish. ; - )

Posted by: Conrad-USA | 2008-02-19 9:24:48 AM

"Bottom line is, it is not our duty to change our lifestyle or freedoms to accommodate them."
How ignorant! so Globalization is only the will of the North American?
Well they don't like heroin, materialism and child pedophilia! But that all OK in our society!
Cause it makes money!
And anything goes in our society as long as their is capital acquisition!

Posted by: notloz | 2008-02-19 2:44:58 PM

Notloz- there is a difference between accepting the offers of a corporation like McDonalds and having a culture forced on one by law or by supreme court fiat. Material acquisition is natural and beneficial. When some people go overboard in their thirst for acquisition it is easy to ignore them for what they are. Your allusion to pedophilia is a non-sequitor and not worthy of further comment.

Posted by: DML | 2008-02-20 10:56:42 PM

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