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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Hotties and naughties for 2008: BCCLA

The Western Standard has a made an effort to cover the work of the British Columbia Civil Liberties Association (BCCLA) in 2008.

The organization defends liberty – as they understand it – without compromise or prejudice. When it comes to protecting free speech, due process of law and other legal rights, or freedom of mobility, the BCCLA goes to the mat every time.

But this group of civil libertarians don’t always get it right. Missing from their vision of liberty is a complete understanding of property rights. In its mission statement, the organization states:

In today's democracy, our civil liberties may be threatened not only by the state, but also by powerful private organizations and employers. The B.C. Civil Liberties Association works to protect citizens from both government and private sector intrusions into our lives.

It seems like a pretty innocuous statement – and, of course, private organizations can violate our rights. But private organizations don’t – or shouldn’t -- have the same obligation as the state to treat everyone equally or fairly. 

A private business owner should be able to hire a family member instead of better qualified prospect, and live with the consequences of his poor hiring practices. A magazine publisher should be able to exclude viewpoints that conflict with his worldview even when his worldview is based on ignorance. A landlord should be able to refuse to rent to pot smokers, the Irish, pet owners, ex-cons or anyone else his prejudice or experience tells him might be a bad tenant.

Property rights -- not democracy -- provide a just foundation for authentic authority, and separate private affairs from public affairs, which is the legal basis for limited government and liberty.

That’s the way is see it, anyway.

If you want to know how the BCCLA see things, read its Hotties and Naughties list for 2008 below:



The Portland Hotel Society & the Vancouver Network of Drug Users

For bringing on the case that gave North America’s first legal supervised injection site constitutional protection from prosecution under narcotics laws.  

Peter Tinsley, Chair of the Military Police Complaint Commission 

For ordering a full hearing into the military transfer of Afghan detainees at risk of torture - the first hearing of its kind since the Somalia incident.  

Vancouver’s New City Council

For promising to give the heave-ho to Project Civil City and a bye-bye to public funding of private security guards in public space. 

Jack and Judy Aasen

Victims of an outrageous SLAPP suit, the Aasens defended themselves against a defamation claim by a private utilities owner who was involved in a dispute with several Vernon residents about utility rates.  The Aasens won at the initial hearing and then got re-SLAPPed with an appeal which found that statements made by Jack in his own home that were secretly recorded by a private detective hired by the utilities owner to entrap the Aasens were defamatory.  We salute the Aasens for fighting the good fight against libel chill (for who we do not salute, see “Naughty Number 2”).

Province of Manitoba

For instituting civilian investigation of police incidents in cases of in-custody death or serious injury.  Here’s hoping BC gets inspired. 

Victoria’s Tent City

For initiating the case that brought us the landmark legal ruling that struck down a bylaw preventing homeless people from erecting temporary shelters. 


The BC Government – Election Gag Laws

For trying to gag all the little people who might want to exercise their free speech rights during an election period.  Citizen-muzzling certainly quiets things down but it’s no way to run a democracy, folks. 

Wally Oppal, BC Attorney General 

Who says the government has no plans to change the laws to protect people like the Aasens against outrageous lawsuits designed to chill free speech on matters of public importance.  Shame on you. 

BC Transit Police

First, the tasering of fare-evaders and now, proposed police dogs on skytrains. Way to go winning those hearts and minds… 


For the appalling and unforgivable campaign of character assassination attempts against Polish immigrant, Robert Dziekanski, who died at YVR after being repeatedly tasered by RCMP officers. 


For the Mega-Bucks Censorship manoeuvre of purchasing all the outdoor advertising spaces in Vancouver for the duration of the Games so that no one can get out any anti-Olympics messaging.  Because speech isn’t free when you buy it all. 

The Federal Government

Trying to justify introducing invasive and sweeping police search practices under a secret “trade” agreement?  Continuing to transfer Afghan detainees to Afghan authorities despite the high probability of torture?  Trying to impose mandatory minimum sentencing for non-violent drug offenders?  Failing to implement the recommendations of the Arar Commission? Oh gosh, it’s like a box of assorted chocolates:  so many choices and so hard to pick just one…

You can read Western Standard coverage of the BCCLA here, here, here and here.

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on December 24, 2008 | Permalink


David Johnson and his followers, like the BCCLA, seem to me to be the pawns of communist fascists to whom freedom and liberty are what they and only they permit. I believe they are similar to what would be called "useful idiots." As far as DJ is concerned, in his philosophy, people should be able to urinate on his sleeping bag while he is sleeping in it. In my opinion, that kind of act would demonstrate the true nature of DJ's libertarian philosophy. Of course, DJ would deny that kind of behaviour because it is an odious thing perpetrated on him as opposed to his behaviour on others. DJ's attitude represents a mental posture, designed by Satan, to create Hell on earth. That is why DJ, among others, have an excellent chance of going to Hell. On pain of wasting my blessing, may I wish DJ and all BCCLA suporters a merry Christmas, even though their behaviour seem to me to be antipodal to that wish.

Posted by: dewp | 2008-12-24 9:20:30 PM

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