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Thursday, January 01, 2009

Western Standard’s “Liberty 100” Top 10 for 2008

It has been said that “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” and 2008 was no exception for Canadian friends of liberty.

Many Canadians worked hard in 2008 to fight the advance of big government and the erosion of economic and personal liberty. Some worked in relative obscurity in their own communities, while others were high profile or filled leadership roles in prestigious organizations – but all were important.

The Western Standard is putting the finishing touches on “Liberty 100,” a list of 100 Canadians who distinguished themselves in 2008, or over a lifetime, in the defence of liberty.

Creating the "Liberty 100" list wasn’t difficult. Ranking the 100 friends of liberty who made this list according to the significance of their contribution has, however, been extremely difficult. The "Liberty 100" will be released soon, but we need your help. Below is our Top 10 list, but we are asking our readers to let us know who they think deserves to be recognized for their contribution to economic or personal liberty.

“Liberty 100” Top 10 list:

1. Ezra Levant

The issue that dominated 2008 was the attack on freedom of speech and expression by human rights commissions across Canada, and Ezra Levant was at the centre of this issue as a pro-free speech newsmaker, advocate, lawyer and blogger. Levant has written "Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights." His single-minded defence of free speech makes him the Western Standard's choice for the #1 spot on our Liberty 100 list for 2008.

2. Dr. Michael Walker
The Fraser Institute

Dr. Michael Walker is a senior fellow of The Fraser Institute and president of the Institute’s Foundation. He served as executive director of The Fraser Institute from its establishment in 1974 until 2005. He has done more in his lifetime to advance economic liberty than any other Canadian.

3. Marc Emery
Cannabis Culture

Marc Emery is the Vancouver-based publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine and an internationally recognized opponent of drug prohibition. He faces a possible lifetime in an US prison for openly selling marijuana seeds, should he lose his extradition hearing scheduled for early this year.

4. Mark Mullins
Fraser Institute

Mark Mullins is executive director of The Fraser Institute, Canada's largest and most important free market think tank. His efforts and the work of the Institute are essential to the freedom movement.

5. Peter Jaworski
Institute for Liberal Studies

Peter Jaworski is editor of the Western Standard, executive director of the Institute for Liberal Studies and the organizer of the annual Liberty Summer Seminar, an event that has energized the pro-liberty youth movement. He is Canada's most important and prominent libertarian activist.

6. John Williamson
Manning Centre for Building Democracy

John Williamson is a Manning Centre for Building Democracy fellow and outgoing federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, resigning in 2008 for academic pursuits. Williamson continues to keep pressure on the Harper Conservatives to reduce taxes and government spending.

7. Peter Holle
Frontier Centre for Public Policy

Peter Holle is the founding president of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He is a consistent advocate for policy reforms that enhance personal and economic freedom.

8. Dennis Young
Libertarian Party

Dennis Young is leader of the Libertarian Party. A veteran of NATO operations in Bosnia, Young's personal experience as a soldier has made him a capable and credible advocate for a libertarian non-interventionist foreign policy. His law enforcement background has also made him an effective critic of the war on drugs.

9. Mark Steyn
Maclean's Magazine

Mark Steyn is an internationally recognized columnist and the author of "America Alone." Excerpts from "American Alone" published in Maclean's magazine were the subject of a human rights complaint, which Steyn and Maclean's successfully fought. Steyn has put Canada's struggle for free speech in the international spotlight.

10. Jean-Serge Brisson
Ontario Libertarian Party

Jean-Serge Brisson is former leader of the Libertarian Party who made news in 2008 by winning his personal court case against the mandatory bilingual sign bylaw in Russell, Ontario. He was also sentenced to 90 days in prison for his ongoing refusal to wear a seatbelt while driving. He is currently serving his time on weekends.

Congratulations to the “Liberty 100” Top 10 – and thank you for your work in the defence of liberty.

Stay tuned for the complete "Liberty 100."


Matthew Johnston
Western Standard

Posted by westernstandard on January 1, 2009 | Permalink


You've gotta be shittin' me. Do you guys have any connection to the real world, whatsoever?

Posted by: dp | 2009-01-01 6:33:20 PM

OK, so who do you think make an important contribution to economic and personal liberty in 2008, dp?

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-01 6:58:06 PM

You know, regardless of the merits of the people listed, there is something rather ... incestuous ... about putting the founder of the Western Standard, the current editor of the WS, and a couple of columnists for the WS on your list.

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-01-01 8:25:03 PM

I thought about that, Fact Check, but excluding people BECAUSE they are associated with the Western Standard makes the list a less accurate represention of the freedom movement. The list would be incomplete without Peter Jaworski, for example. Peter has played a leadership role in the freedom movement for a long time.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-01 8:48:39 PM


Yeah, but making it a little less accurate is a small prioce to pay for looking credible. It would have been far better to have just excluded WS insiders and noted that fact when announcing the list. As it is, the list looks like a lot of self congratulation.

Can we expect you and the the other main contrubutors to this site to all be on the top 100 list? How exciting for you!

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-01-01 9:21:38 PM

Fair comment. You can judge the list when it's released, Fact Check.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-01 9:31:42 PM

In the spirit of addressing a a phenomena challenging the core values of Canadians, I am speaking of the vociferous Muslim lobby groups refusing the western concept of separation of religion and state. We have a few brave souls from the Muslim community who speak with a secular voice, Tarek Fatah and Salim Mansur come to mind. Their brave voices challenges the orthodoxy at the peril of ostracism and threats from the Canadian Islamic establishment.

Posted by: gama | 2009-01-01 11:03:52 PM

Thanks for the suggestions, gama.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-01 11:12:41 PM

In the public policy and think tank world, CTF people should be high up on the list. Though they may get less media attention, I see them playing a greater role in everyday advocacy for economic freedom in public policy than the Fraser Institute or the Manning Centre, Frontier also does great work. People associated with the Canadian Constitution Foundation (e.g. Carpay) should be recognized for their good work in advocacy, litigation, and building an intellectual climate interested and favourable to liberty in Canada. Its great to see Emery and Levant on the list, but Bruce Montague, the third witch as Pierre Lemieux dubbed him, is another brave hero. http://www.westernstandard.ca/website/article.php?id=1434

Posted by: Kalim Kassam | 2009-01-02 12:42:30 AM

I second Kalim's suggestion. Bruce Montague should definitely be included, as the right to self defense is an important component of liberty, and few Canadians have sacrificed as much for this right as Bruce Montague.

Speaking of which, I think Montague's lawyer, Doug Christie, also deserves a place on the list, and possibly even in the top ten. He has been one of Canada's most consistent free speech advocates (often working for little or no pay), and has done quite a number of tax evasion cases, while also standing up against abuse of power by the police.

Posted by: Jeremy Maddock | 2009-01-02 2:29:33 AM

Thanks, Jeremy and Kalim. Excellent suggestions.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-02 10:18:50 AM

3. Marc Emery

"... He faces a possible lifetime in an US prison for openly selling marijuana seeds, should he lose his extradition hearing scheduled for early this year..."

.........................._and charged with money laundering
..........................._and charged with manufacturing marijuana

for which the Prince of Pot openly pleaded guilty to on TV

Posted by: 419 | 2009-01-02 3:18:08 PM

n the spirit of addressing a a phenomena challenging the core values of Canadians, I am speaking of the vociferous Muslim lobby groups refusing the western concept of separation of religion and state.
Posted by: gama | 2009-01-01 11:03:52 PM

I've got an even better idea. END ALL MUSLIM IMMIGRATION.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-01-02 3:27:18 PM

Yeah, that No. 3 guy is kinda suspect.

Posted by: set you free | 2009-01-02 3:27:30 PM

The top ten is a worthy list. It would have been interesting to have a top 10 - 100 list by WS bloggers to compare to.

Posted by: peterj | 2009-01-02 5:50:36 PM

how does breaking the drug laws advance anybodys' liberty?
last time we looked, that sort of behaviour seriously compromised liberty- His Majesty seems to be wasting liberty: actually throwing it away like kleenex

The Prince of Pot is internationally known because he is the only drug ring leader we know of who has a website, and does bong hits for the TV cameras.

Posted by: 419 | 2009-01-02 6:24:31 PM

Pot is not a drug. Pot is merely the object between people and a government that can never admit it is wrong. 76% of the canadian population see nothing wrong with pot. The other 24 are brainwashed. Pot in moderation is no worse than beer in moderation. The government has learned long ago that if you tell a lie often enough, it becomes the truth.(Hitler was also a great fan of this theory). To call pot a drug is a insult to the real drugs, like meth, cocain, heroin and the like. The worst thing pot has ever done is give people the munchies.

Posted by: peterj | 2009-01-02 7:26:05 PM

"How does breaking the drug laws advance anybodys' liberty?"

Because these laws are unjust, 419.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-02 8:35:33 PM

The worst thing pot has ever done is give people the munchies.

Posted by: peterj | 2009-01-02 7:26:05 PM

don't you think that the overall use of pot does in fact lead to security issues? I mean what will we do if no Canadian can leave their Doritos ungaurded? I think this is a national security matter....we need to take the safety of "munchies" much more seriously. Good lord man think of the costs of legalized pot! Next thing you know we'll have to show ID to buy munchies and if that doesn't work...a national munchy registry.

Posted by: JC | 2009-01-02 8:43:17 PM

JC.. funny but probably true. Knowing government I'm sure another dept. will be created to handle such a crisis.

Posted by: peterj | 2009-01-02 8:50:26 PM

"...Because these laws are unjust, 419.."

thanks for clearing that up

Posted by: 419 | 2009-01-02 8:56:59 PM

No problem. :-)

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-02 9:08:02 PM

dp...dp..dee pee... hmmm...must be an anagram of "dipsomanic progressive".

Posted by: WL Mackenzie Redux | 2009-01-04 11:42:14 AM

The Prince of Pot as a defender of liberty my ass. He should be on a list for those who commit crimes against humanity. But, saying that would make me a "hater?"

Posted by: anselm | 2009-01-04 2:04:55 PM

Ok I had to look this one up, as I vaguely remembered it from several years ago: Gwen Jacobs. Fought for equal rights for women...to go topless in public. Not exactly in 2008 though.

Posted by: Not applicable | 2009-01-04 8:06:09 PM

Uhh, I cringe to say this. John Tory. Wanted all religions to equally waste our money on different schools. So that is one for personal liberty (at the expense of losing an election) and one against for economic liberty.

Posted by: Not applicable | 2009-01-04 8:13:16 PM

Gen Hillier, the CF, the fallen and their families.

Posted by: Not applicable | 2009-01-04 8:16:11 PM

Robert Oullet head of the CMA. Personal and economic liberty.

Posted by: Not applicable | 2009-01-04 8:22:07 PM

This may be a sensitive one for some dyed in the wool libertarians.

The OMA doctors that finally got smoking banned in cars with kids. Children should have the right to be reasonably free from preventable diseases that this would cause.

Posted by: Not applicable | 2009-01-04 8:26:50 PM

The author of this website: http://www.magma.ca/~fyst/index.htm

It is such a good site that I will always challenge any minor infraction that I have been cited with. Before, I would have just paid the tickets.

Posted by: Not applicable | 2009-01-04 8:32:26 PM

Not applicable:

If you believe the activist crap about second hand smoke then it's already too late for you. Makes global warming look like the absolute truth.

Posted by: peterj | 2009-01-04 8:38:25 PM


Haha, I assume you are talking about science and evidence.

Unlike anthropogenic global warming models, the science behind second-hand smoke makes testable predictions that are confirmed.

And, pot is a drug. Just like aspirin is a drug and morphine and ketamine and cocaine and alcohol.

And do you truly think that '[t]he worst thing pot has ever done is give people the munchies'? Does it impair you at all? If so, it must have some consequences on driving, work, judgement, or social perfomance don't you think?

Posted by: Not applicable | 2009-01-04 9:46:52 PM

Not applicable

The word , again , is moderation. No one is arguing that pot has consequences. The arguement is that in MODERATION it is no worse than beer or wine. As far as second hand smoke is concerned the WHO in 92 came out with a study that stated anyone living in any large city (1 OOO 000 +/-) inhaled pollutants equivelant to smoking one pack a day. Quite frankly I don't give a rats butt as I don't smoke , but bullshit has always intrigued me. Activists of any stripe will always get the statistical proof the want for their cause. Much like global warming...garbage in...garbage out.

Posted by: peterj | 2009-01-05 11:24:41 PM

lol how ironic that you all are putting your personal & biased opinions above the whole point of this list; why do you think the main thing being argued on here is the marajuana controversy? Because its is the most controversial & we all have had propaganda forced down our throats by government & on the other hand personal experience & common sense. Funny how everyone is focusing on marc emery when you look down a little farther you'll see dennis young & this is what it says about him "His law enforcement background has also made him an effective critic of the war on drugs." There is no biased on this list in the area of drug use,if there is both a marajuana activist & a former cop in the top ten.

Posted by: Tara Anderson | 2009-02-14 3:33:25 PM

I came to the bar following him and found fiesta online money was so cheap. After that, I also go to play game with him.

Posted by: fiesta online money | 2009-04-28 1:20:28 AM

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