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Friday, September 03, 2010

Family to be bankrupted for hosting a barbecue

Every year the Jaworski family host a weekend of barbecue and lectures. People come from all around the world to hang out in their backyard and discuss and celebrate the principle of freedom. The Jaworskis have cause to know the importance of freedom, they fled communism to find liberty here in Canada. So in memory of their former oppression they help their son host the aptly named Liberty Summer Seminar.

As many of you already know the Jaworski family is being fined $50 000 for hosting the Liberty Summer Seminar. The by-law official is accusing them of holding a commercial conference center outside of the permitted zone. The idea that LSS is a commercial event is absurd. Considering the caliber of speakers that they attract and the relatively low cost of attending, I doubt they have ever made a profit.

So to bankrupt these honest and hard working people (I have met them several times) on such a flimsy claim that the LSS is somehow commercial is arbitrary and cruel. The bylaw officer that charged the family did not even have the courtesy to talk to either of the Jaworski parents or even one of the event’s organizers.

The local mayor suggested that the Jaworskis “[…] have a discussion with the bylaw officer, sort of like beg for forgiveness, say ‘I didn’t realize’. Or they can work it out with lawyers.” If the bylaw officer was not willing to talk to them before he charged them, why would he behave reasonably now? Also what kind of free society gives people the choice between begging some petty official to forgive them for using their own land to host a barbecue and going bankrupt?

The mayor is trying to stay out of the incident, and I agree with the general principle that politicians should not interfere with legal proceedings. But this is such a clear case of the misuse of bylaws. No reasonable person would think that bankruptcy is an appropriate punishment for hosting a barbecue. I hope that the mayor takes a moment to reconsider not only his position but what exactly his duty is to his constituents.

Posted by Hugh MacIntyre on September 3, 2010 | Permalink

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