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Friday, January 02, 2009

Western Standard’s “Liberty 100” Top 25 for 2008

The Western Standard’s “Liberty 100” Top 10 list released yesterday is a diverse collection of pro-freedom activists, journalists, think-tankers and partisans.

Former Western Standard publisher, Ezra Levant took the #1 spot for his ongoing battle against Canada’s human rights commissions, which culminated in 2008 with his book "Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights."

While the Top 10 list is diverse, a theme does emerge: civil disobedience.

This group includes Marc Emery and Jean-Serge Brisson, who, much like Levant, have distinguished themselves by their willingness to use civil disobedience to challenge unjust laws.

Levant did not make a case for his innocence during his human rights tribunal hearing; he made a case for his guilt. When asked by the tribunal investigator “What was your intent?" in publishing a selection of Danish cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Mohamed in the Western Standard, Levant answered:

"We published those cartoons for the intention and purpose of exercising our inalienable rights as free-born Albertans to publish whatever the hell we want, no matter what the hell you think."

More importantly, though, Levant refused to “plea bargain” and insisted the record show that he published the cartoons in an “unreasonable” manner with the intent to offend. Why did Levant do this? Because he wanted to meet the standard of guilt set by Alberta’s human rights law in order to challenge the law itself:

“I reserve the right to publish [the cartoons] for whatever offensive reason I want....I reserve for the right to publish the cartoons for every offensive thing [the complainants] claim is in my heart.”

Watch Levant's testimony before the tribunal here.

Similarly, Marc Emery, who took the #3 spot, has openly challenged Canada’s prohibition of marijuana. He publishes Cannabis Culture magazine, which was once a crime in itself. He leads the B.C. Marijuana Party. He operated a marijuana seed business in Vancouver before it was shut down by the US DEA. And he openly smoked marijuana on the court house steps of every major city in Canada during his “Summer of Legalization” Tour in 2003 to challenge the constitutionality of marijuana laws.

Jean-Serge Brisson has also made skilful use of peaceful, civil disobedience. Brisson received a fine from the municipality of Russell, Ontario for putting up a sign on his business in French-only in violation of a bylaw passed in June making it mandatory for all exterior signs to be in both official languages. But this was no unfortunate incident. When the bylaw was passed, Brisson, a Francophone, immediately set out to erect a French-only sign to challenge the law itself.

Among the Top 25 list found below, is another conscientious objector of sorts -- Bruce Montaque. Montague, a member of the Canadian Unregistered Firearms Owners Association, had been challenging police to arrest him under the Firearms Act for more than a year before getting his wish in 2004. His arrest on gun charges has mobilized opposition to Canada's increasingly restrictive gun laws.

Those who put themselves in harm's way to peacefully bring attention to injustice will always a place on the Liberty 100 list.

Here’s the “Liberty 100” Top 25 list, with the remaining 75 on the way:

1. Ezra Levant

The issue that dominated 2008 for the freedom movement 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 is pushing back against Canada's human rights commissions with his new book "Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights." Levant's single-minded defence of free speech in 2008 makes him the Western Standard's choice for the #1 spot on our Liberty 100 list. Levant is the former publisher of the Western Standard.

2. Michael Walker
Fraser Institute

Dr. Michael Walker is a senior fellow of the Fraser Institute and president of the Fraser Institute Foundation. He served as executive director of the organization from its establishment in 1974 until 2005. Walker has likely done more in his lifetime to advance economic liberty than any other Canadian. This has earned him the #2 spot on the Liberty 100 for 2008.

3. Marc Emery
Cannabis Culture magazine

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 selling marijuana seeds, should he lose his extradition hearing scheduled for early this year. Emery's upcoming extradition battle will likely push drug policy reform into the headlines this year and Emery into the #1 spot on the Liberty 100 list in 2009. Emery is a columnist with the Western Standard.

4. Mark Mullins
Fraser Institute

Mark Mullins is executive director of the Fraser Institute, Canada's largest and most important free market think tank. The work of the Fraser Institute is essential to the freedom movement as there is virtually no opposition in Canada to the Keynes-inspired stimulus packages and new finance and banking regulations currently being proposed.

5. Peter Jaworski
Institute for Liberal Studies

Peter Jaworski is the editor of the Western Standard, the executive director of the Institute for Liberal Studies and the organizer of the annual Liberty Summer Seminar. Jaworski is arguably Canada's most prominent libertarian activist.

6. John Williamson
Manning Centre for Building Democracy

John Williamson is a fellow with the Manning Centre for Building Democracy and the outgoing federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, resigning in 2008 for academic pursuits. Williamson's columns appear often in the Western Standard.

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 failed war on drugs. Young will be working with Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP) in 2009 as a speaker.

9. Mark Steyn
Maclean's magazine

Mark Steyn is an internationally recognized columnist and the author of "America Alone." Excerpts from "America Alone" published in Maclean's magazine were the subject of a human rights complaint, which Steyn and Maclean's have aggressively defended. Steyn has helped to put Canada's struggle for freedom of speech and expression in the international spotlight. Steyn was a columnist with the Western Standard from 2004 to 2007.

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 ongoing refusal to wear a seatbelt while driving.

11. John Carpay
Canadian Constitution Foundation

John Carpay is a lawyer and the executive director of the Canadian Constitution Foundation. He has been active in defence of freedom of speech and expression, intervening in the William Whatcott appeal before the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal among other cases.

12. Bruce Montague
Bruce Montaque Court Challenge for Liberty and Rights

Bruce Montaque is a gun rights activist whose arrest in 2004 on gun charges has mobilized opposition to Canada's increasingly restrictive gun laws.

13. Salim Mansur
Canadian Coalition for Democracies

Salim Mansur is an associate professor of political science at the University of Western Ontario in Canada and a senior fellow with the Canadian Coalition for Democracy. Mansur is a Muslim critic of radical Islam whose columns have appeared in numerous Canadian publications including the Western Standard.

14. Kevin Libin
National Post

Kevin Libin is a columnist with the National Post a former editor-in-chief of the Western Standard.

15. Wendy McElroy

Wendy McElroy is an Ontario-based freelance columnist and editor of many books including "Liberty for Women." McElroy also operates the website ifeminist.com, an individualist, feminist website that rejects the collectivist, feminist orthodoxy.

16. Paul McKeever
Freedom Party of Canada

Paul McKeever is the leader of the Freedom Party, a blogger and a radical for capitalism. McKeever's columns appear often in the Western Standard.

17. Rona Ambrose
Member of Parliament

Rona Ambrose is the Member of Parliament for Edmonton-Spruce Grove and a self-described libertarian and Ayn Rand enthusiast. Ambrose was voted the Hill Time's sexiest MP for 2008, but she is much more that just another pretty face.

18. Rob Breakenridge
CHQR 770 Radio

Rob Breakenridge is the libertarian-leaning host of The World Tonight on AM QR77 in Calgary.

19. Terence Corcoran
Financial Post

Terence Corcoran is editor of the Financial Post and one of Canada's leading free market business writers and editors.

20. Lorne Gunter
National Post

Lorne Gunter is a columnist and editorial board member at the National Post and a columnist with the Edmonton Journal. Gunter is a global warming sceptic, a defender of gun rights and generally a harsh and able critic of big government.

21. Doug Christie
Western Block Party

Doug Christie is a free speech lawyer and advocate, and leader of the Western Block Party, a western separatist movement.

22. Pierre Lemieux

Pierre Lemieux is editor of www.libertyincanada.com, a project of the Canadian Constitution Foundation. He is also a freelance writer whose columns appear in the Western Standard and other publications.

23. David Eby

David Eby is the newly-appointed acting executive director of the B.C. Civil Liberties Association. Eby is a defender of free speech and due process of law.

24. Jan Narveson
University of Waterloo

Dr. Jan Narveson is Canada's Robert Nozick, an internationally recognized libertarian scholar and author. Narveson is a member of the Order of Canada and a columnist with the Western Standard.

25. Scott Reid
Member of Parliament

Scott Reid is a Conservative Member of Parliament and a libertarian. Reid has been underutilized in the Harper cabinet, serving as Deputy Government House Leader.

Congratulations to the Top 25 of the “Liberty 100.”

Posted by Matthew Johnston

Posted by westernstandard on January 2, 2009 | Permalink


WOW!!! Seven of the fifteen names you added to the list have a direct affilliation with the WS!!! What are the odds?!?!

Excuse me while I go start a blog and delcare myself "The Greatest Canadian of all Time". Step aside, Tommy Douglas!

Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-01-02 9:53:01 PM

If the choice is between you and Tommy, you've got my vote, Fact Check.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-02 10:01:03 PM

What's the connection between No. 3 and this dopey list?

Posted by: set you free | 2009-01-02 10:27:15 PM

I don't follow, set you free.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-02 10:31:50 PM

Is it just me, or were about a dozen comments swished off this page within the last hour or so - Sat/ 1 am EST - and, as well, some of the bios of the top ten heros of liberty were re written..

Liberty is the freedom to rewrite and edit..

Posted by: 419 | 2009-01-02 11:06:04 PM

... oh, and as the rewrite Bio of candidate number three says--the Prince of Pot will likely be number one on the list of liberty wholesalers in a short time-- thats just great-

-I have a loop of recorded applause , where can I send it ?

and then what--
will the WS make him a decimal designation after that ?

Posted by: 419 | 2009-01-02 11:13:37 PM

If comments were deleted, it is due to ongoing problems with Typepad, 419.

The bios in the Top 10 post are slightly different than in the Top 25 post, but not materially so. The list was put together quickly so you can expect changes to the bios, but not to the order of list or those on it.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-02 11:13:41 PM

Ok...we had a fun thing going here, so what happened to all the posts ??

Posted by: peterj | 2009-01-02 11:16:22 PM

Ohhhk...Found original posts further down on main page

Posted by: peterj | 2009-01-02 11:30:41 PM

Good to hear, peterj. I think Typepad has fixed the comment problem.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-03 12:33:58 AM

Thanks Matthew, explanation appreciated accepted and confirmed.

Is there any way to insert the _star signs/ horoscopes of your esteemed candidates in the next rewrite? it would be a big help to us mouth breathers and a boon to liberty and freedom everywhere.
You're up against facebook you know,

Posted by: 419 | 2009-01-03 8:37:16 AM

Just out of curiosity, how was this list put together? i.e. was it just Matthew choosing people or did other people from the Standard make suggestions/vote? Apologies if this was explained somewhere and I missed it.

Posted by: Alex T | 2009-01-03 9:58:28 AM

Any list with Rona Ambrose in it cannot be taken seriously.

Posted by: epsilon | 2009-01-03 12:44:39 PM

I'll take any list with a hot woman on it seriously.

However, I'm skeptical of any list that would print comments made by epsilon.

Posted by: Duder | 2009-01-03 1:15:20 PM

She has accomplished exactly nothing.

As Environment Minister, she was an utter failure.

And by the way, have you seen her lately? She is tired, overweight and haggard looking. Hardly the "sexiest MP".

That dubious homour must surely fall on the equally suspect Dr. Dhalla.


Posted by: epsilon | 2009-01-03 3:56:25 PM

You bring up an interesting question, epsi: did Ambrose mishandle the environment file, or was she struggling to advance a principled conservative position that was subsequently abandoned by Baird for something more palatable?

Ambrose and Palin were both accused on blundering, when both were really just persecuted by the press for being conservative (or libertarian).

Could anyone survive in the environment portfolio while advancing a conservative agenda? Baird has a substantially easier sales job since the Conservatives decided to give up ground on this issue. Ambrose looks bad, Baird looks good – but who did a better job advancing a rational environmental agenda?

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-03 4:12:26 PM

Rona Ambrose was in way over her head as an environment minister. Not really her fault, she was too young and just plain inexperienced.

She was overwhelmed, lost, indecisive and ultimately ineffective.

There are serious environmental problems in this country that require rational and effective public policy that encourages business and protects public health and prosperity.

Doing nothing and calling it "LLibertarian" and quoting Ayn Rand did not fool anybody. Except you and your top 25 list!

Posted by: epsilon | 2009-01-03 5:07:10 PM

What about David Warren?

Posted by: ANON | 2009-01-03 5:43:30 PM

*yeesh* What fatuous nonsense.

Get it together, for God's sakes.

Posted by: Conservative | 2009-01-03 10:48:39 PM

"She is tired, overweight and haggard looking."

I don't know if she should be on this list or not, but i suspect you won't be getting anywhere near a woman of her quality. Do you spend a lot of time by yourself?

Posted by: wyatt salt | 2009-01-04 6:54:20 AM

Matthew... seriously, Marc Emery!

Do you have any familiarity with the drug culture? If you did, it would not escape you that every word this guy spews to the press is the usual self justification and platitudes blown out by your average pot-head. He's an addict, a smart addict true, but an addict none-the-less. It is simply the manipulation of the soft headed liberal ethos so pervasive in our culture that would shill for such a cause. Islamists, freshly landed in Canada, are doing it... perpetually aggrieved. Emery's ridiculous cause appeals to the same emptyheadedness within our lamentable liberal society.

If you ever worked with addicts or ever knew the effects of pot addiction, you would scratch Emery from the list pronto.

Posted by: las | 2009-01-04 9:09:55 AM

Ias, drugs are bad, but prohibition is much worse for many reason. The minute we end prohibition, I'll join you in campaigning for abstinence from drugs. Heck, I'll join you now -- but Emery stays on the list. Sorry.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-04 9:27:38 AM

I think this list is a great idea. Some personal comments for next time:

Add Jim McIntosh. The organizational strength behind the Libertarian Party of Ontario (and strong contributor to others) and one of it's more eloquent spokespeople.

John Carpay should be higher up the list. The CCF are not just talking as are some people higher on the list - they are taking effective action. With all due respect to the eloquence of the talking some of the people higher on the list do: talk is cheap. Action is rare but action is the only way to progress.

Temporarily out of front line action for a couple of years Mary Lou Gutscher is active again as of last year and while internationally focused she will be a dynamo in Canada too I'm sure.

I strongly disagree with Mark Steyn's inclusion on the list, and I weakly disagree with Scott Reid being on the list.


Posted by: John Shaw | 2009-01-04 9:55:00 AM

On further reading I see Mary Lou is included on a lower list - move her up!

Posted by: John Shaw | 2009-01-04 10:06:32 AM


You make silly assumptions.

I am a woman and no, I am not a lesbian, which I am sure is what is going through your neanderthalic cerebellum.

Also agree the pathetic Emery should not be on this list. He is nothing but a self promoting and self deluded messiah-comlexed failure.


Posted by: epsilon | 2009-01-04 11:16:38 AM

Matthew… I was really tongue in cheek about Mr. Emery being on the list. But I still think he is not a fit. Here’s why: I understand the gravitas in terms of civil liberties, intrusion of the state, the state’s punitive remedies, and open recognition of pot as a social reality… and yes government must leave responsible people alone to do what they want… even if doing what they want is to behave irresponsible.

Yes, there are even substances out there that are good, but illegal. In my druggie days I was a huge supporter of the medicinal use of GHB against depression. How little did I understand then that my drug use of GHB and other drugs was to usher into my own life the very ills I thought could be eliminated by drugs. Drug use stripped down is really just self medication. That is the nature of addiction. It is an obsession which contains a concomitant drive to explore, defend, trumpet and advocate its use. And that use includes the push to legalize. Emery exemplifies this push in spades.

However keen, and in many respects, however compelling Emery’s activism, an altered state is the worst platform from which to launch a defense for advocacy. And I say this also in spite of the advocacy for medicinal pot. And no, I am not an advocate for the US war on drugs.

Do I have an answer for this all too prevalent partaking of drugs? No! But it is a danger to advocate on libertarian terms for what will in effect be an even greater green light for drug culture. Therein lays my skepticism championing Mr. Emery.

Posted by: las | 2009-01-04 11:22:52 AM

Doug Christie???

Wasn't he the lawyer for Jim Keegstra the Jew Hater and holocaust denier?

Although, Mark Emery's battle for freedom to be lethargic, lazy, useless and craving sweets is .. well I guess mmm, well, cough cough. Whatever ...

Posted by: John V | 2009-01-04 11:54:54 AM


How did you guess arrive at the top 100 list?

Inquiring minds want to know.

You do believe in freedom of information?


Posted by: John V | 2009-01-04 11:57:07 AM

Sorry that should read ...

How did you 'guys' arrive at the top 100 list?

Posted by: John V | 2009-01-04 11:58:25 AM

There is no serious metholody here, John V. I just compilied a list of 100 people who I thought had made a contribution to liberty in 2008 and then tried to ranked them.

Doug Christie is a free speech lawyer. He's represented some awful people but that's what lawyers do.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-04 12:31:39 PM

Sorry, but as much as I admire the Western Standard and Ezra Levant, I have to strongly disagree with your selection of Marc Emery, Paul McKeever, and others of the Freedom Party's ilk who would legalize drugs, and not only marijuana, but heroin (former FP Prez Bob Metz openly advocated this in the FP magazine "Consent"), legalize any and all pornography, and legalize prostitution.

Posted by: Lissa | 2009-01-04 5:35:52 PM

Pathetic. Most of your 'friends of liberty' are statist lackeys - any standards or qualifications here (other than being a thinktanker, mp or blogger) or does anything go?

Posted by: rbk | 2009-01-04 9:34:14 PM

Statist lackeys, rbk? How so?

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-04 10:33:03 PM

Th BC Three Story, starring Marc Scott Emery..

hey what about the two other co accused in heck with the Prince of Pot? Aren't they champions of liberty as well?
They did the same crime/public service as his majesty- shipping out pot seeds to US grow opps and washing the financial proceeds, disregarding, as Mr Johnson puts it- "Unjust" laws every step of the way..

We say, expand your list to 102 and add his whole gang to the pile of
" special " people..

At least they are not statist lackeys
........dope fiends never are !

Posted by: 419 | 2009-01-05 9:58:47 AM

That's a nice thought, 419, but it is Emery who stands out for his lifetime of libertarian activism. He fought censorship when he owned a bookstore; he fought unionism during a garbage strike; he found against Sunday shopping bans; and how he fights prohibition. (I think you might like much of his activism if you took a closer look, 419.)

I've had the pleasure of getting to know Michelle Rainey, one of the Vancouver Three who were charged. I consider her a friend. I've met Greg Williams many times, and he certainly does not deserve to go to jail -- and very likely will not go to jail as far as I know.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-05 10:13:09 AM


I agree with your sentiments.

There's definitely a credibility gap that's widening among certain contributors to this once-credible blog.

Posted by: set you free | 2009-01-05 11:46:18 AM

I'm sorry if you both – 419, set you free – feel that way, but the Liberty 100 is a very diverse list. Sure, it includes drug policy reformers, but many, many conservatives have grown tired of prohibition. Ezra Levant, our #1 choice, penned a column for the Calgary Sun criticizing the Alberta government for its policy of confiscating children when marijuana grow-ops are found. He is also a critic of asset forfeiture, another legal tool of the war on drugs. Ezra is just one example, but I could go down the list and find drug war sceptics among the conservatives.

I think you would find that most of the staff at all the “conservative” think tanks across the country no not support the war on drugs. (They know too much about how markets work.) Certainly, the Fraser Institute has been outspoken on the failure of the war on drugs.

In fact, I know of virtually no conservative intellectuals who support the war on drugs...conservative politicians? Sure. But not genuine, independent intellectuals. And even the politicians know it’s a failed policy.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-05 1:02:38 PM

Ezra advocated free speech and I'm 100% in agreement with his choice as No. 1.

Emery at No. 3 as the champion of freedom from responsibility? What particular positive contribution to society is there in promoting a potentially harmful substance?

My curiosity was piqued at today's stories about the increased incidence of Alzheimer's and dementia symptoms appearing earlier than it has in the past.

It would not surprise me in the least if a connection is eventually made to the consequences of long-term use of the substance to the early onset of dementia.

I have no scientific proof for making this statement, but just an hunch. As we've been told, science fiction somehow has a way of coming true a lot of times.

I'll keep an interested eye on this and we'll see if those dementia sufferees, or those close to them, will be able to establish some connection. I'd be willing to put money on it.

Posted by: set you free | 2009-01-05 2:04:24 PM

"... (I think you might like much of his activism if you took a closer look, 419.)..."

Yo Soul Brother Mathew..

with this sort of buttery smooth fact free comeon
you should be selling condos from floorplans in a vacant lot.

Posted by: 419 | 2009-01-05 4:04:09 PM

ABC...always be closing. :-)

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-05 4:14:57 PM

I have nothing to say about who WS chooses to put on its own 100 list.

However, I must respond to Lissa with a few fact corrections and comments:

1. Consent magazine is a journal of ideas on individual freedom. It is not a statement of Freedom Party policy etc.. I disagree with several of the articles that have been printed in it over the years, and quite agree with others. My point to you - and to all social conservatives - is that a better method of flaming, trolling, or otherwise attacking Freedom Party is to point to something in Freedom Party's actual constitution, policies, or election platform. The rest is an attempt at guilt by association.

2. Hint #2: the best way to prevent people from Freedom Party is to say nothing about it at all. In my experience, when - as in the past - other political activists have played the drugs-pornography-prostitution card against FP, it has been painfully obvious that they are concerned about disgruntled Progressive Conservatives leaving the PCs and joining FP. Creating an online discussion about Freedom Party is something I can only thank you for.

3. Marc Emery has not been associate with Freedom Party for 17 years. If you have a beef with him, take it up with his BC Marijuana Party.

4. In case - as is usually the case - you intend to suggest that Freedom Party of Ontario has a policy/platform on drugs-pornography-prostitution: (a) it does not, and (b) such a policy would be somewhat silly, given the Division of Powers set out in Canada's constitution. Those who have concerns with drugs-pornography-prostitution cannot, on those bases, object to Freedom Party of Ontario.

5. Freedom Party of Canada - which has never run a single candidate in any election, but has (only in 2004) issued election platform proposals for the consumption of other parties (Paul Martin adopted the elimination of foreign contribution limits in RRSPs; Stephen Harper's Conservatives, in 2004, lacking an election platform that year, scooped FPC's proposal to end the CRTC's censorship role...interesting that you take no issue with the Conservatives, on that count), does have a policy on Marijuana, but has no policy or platform on heroine, pornography or prostitution. Freedom Party, as a rule, does not make proposals on fringe issues. It sticks to big-ticket items.

5. Incidentally, prostitution is not illegal in Canada: soliciting for the purposes of prostitution is what is illegal. Ironically, the law does not apply to your comments on this discussion board. Presumably, those who wrote the law were comfortable with soliciting others to sell their souls in non-sexual ways.

6. Re: pornography. It is already legal. I'm not sure what you are talking about. Like the Conservatives, Liberals, NDP, Greens, etc., Freedom Party has no proposals to start throwing people in jail for selling to others the opportunity to watch them have their way with other people. I can only assume that those politicians who would like to make pornography illegal do not propose making it illegal as a means of keeping themselves out of jail: I suspect they would find it harder to draw the sexual/non-sexual distinction I refer to above (see "soliciting for the purpose") when it comes how they are depicted, on the news, daily, having their way with Canadian taxpayers.

7. My own view on drugs is that a person should know what they are buying. If it is poison, for example, the label should say so. Unlike you, I am not content to have people permanently injured or murdered by those who take money for one product, and provide a different one (e.g., those who spike marijuana with angel dust). When physicians and pharmaceutical companies no longer have the ability to skin the consumer with protectionist laws and guilds, children will stop unintentionally poisoning themselves, and pharaceutical vendors will no longer see the upside in shooting people.

7. With all of your apparent dislike for things that - I agree - are vices, and that it is morally wrong for people to engage in, perhaps you could enlighten me on why your call for bans and warning labels does not apply to certain holy books that, like drugs, disconnect ones minds from the facts of reality and cause one to act in a self-destructive fashion; that, like prostitution, order one to sell their souls - and call upon government to force everyone to do so - for the promise of an after-life paycheque.


Paul McKeever
Leader, Freedom Party

Posted by: Paul McKeever | 2009-01-06 6:53:31 AM

My apologies for numbering/grammatical/spelling errors in the above post. Is there no edit feature available on the WS forums?

Posted by: Paul McKeever | 2009-01-06 7:21:58 AM

I have to join in the criticism of Rona Ambrose in the top 25. Certainly she's done less than Scott Reid for liberty, if nothing else. As far as I can tell being a self-professed libertarian and reading Atlas Shrugged are her most significant contributions to liberty.

That isn't to say Rona did nothing for liberty in 2008 - she may have blocked some really terrible legislation that I'm just not aware of, but her high placement on the list seems tough to justify.

Posted by: Janet | 2009-01-06 1:18:23 PM

Thanks for the comment about Rona Ambrose's inclusion in the Liberty 100 and her high ranking, Janet.

I’ll admit it’s a questionable inclusion and ranking, but here’s my thinking: Ambrose is a poised, attractive, intelligent, prominent member of the government -- and she is also a libertarian, or at least claims to be. While I'd like to see her take some action toward the advancement of liberty, that can be said of the entire Harper caucus, including Scott Reid.

What value is Ambrose to the freedom movement in comparison to, say, Jean-Serge Brisson? Brisson is a scrappy activist who I admire, but Ambrose is positioned to do some real good and she gives the movement some mainstream recognition.

So mainstream respectability is what Ambrose brings. What's that worth?

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-06 1:57:43 PM

You're a radical for capitalism at a time when that is desperately needed, Paul.

Welcome to the Liberty 100.

Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-01-06 1:58:31 PM

If you ever worked with addicts or ever knew the effects of pot addiction, you would scratch Emery from the list pronto.

The effects of pot addiction? Whatever you are on must be a halucinogen. The effects of pot addiction? if that even exists, are far less harmful than the effects of persecution, and imprisonment/criminalization. Anyone who thinks they have the right to cage someone for growing or using a plant is a huge enemy of Liberty. No person who advocates criminalizing drug use has no business calling themselves a friend of Liberty.

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-01-07 8:30:00 PM

So your list of freedom defenders consists mainly of Western Standard Employees and affiliates, along with one conservative MP (though why Rona other than looks I wouldn't know) and one outright fascist (who is certainly entitled to his freedom of speech, but isn't exactly someone we should be proud of). Could you possibly be more inane and self-serving?

Posted by: Ted | 2009-01-14 11:08:48 AM

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