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Individual Rights & Property Rights

If I were to point to one concept that captures the Canadian dream, that would be the concept of property rights. Up until the 90's, Canada allowed a person to come to this country, buy a house, start a company, and live their life free from government intervention. That dream is rapidly vanishing.

As citizens, we Canadians go through life with a desire to obtain property, including things such as land, cars, or money. We then believe that that property is ours forever. This illusion is shattered when our governments reduce our property value through zoning, or they outright take it from us through civil forfeiture. To find out whether we, like our neighbors to the south, have inalienable rights, we need only look to our history.

When war broke out in 1775, the thirteen Colonies effectively rebelled, and then overthrew the monarchy. In its place, they established a form of government based entirely around the concept of individual rights. Canada, then also a set of colonies, could have similarly joined the Americans. However, partly due to being a younger colony and partly due to the then recent transfer of ownership from French imperial rule, it chose to remain loyal to Britain. What emerged was a form of classically liberal society that more closely resembled the British Monarchy than the American, republican system. Therefore, although we share the classically liberal, Lockean foundation which spawned America, a country where its citizens draw their rights from God, we, tragically, draw our rights from government. We are starting to see the effects of this minor, foundation shortcoming, as we are witnessing the government over regulation of all forms of our property, be it our homes, our businesses and everything in between.

This is another issue that will never be properly addressed until, somewhere down the line, the Section 1, Reasonable limits clause of the Charter is repealed, and the Charter is further amended to include absolute property rights. However, even if that happens, the important issue, right now, is to address judicial activism, whereby the Prime Minister controls the executive, the legislature, and appoints all the judges. What we need, instead, is to adopt the system the Americans had, prior to the Seventeenth Amendment, whereby all Premiers must approve the judges first, and a 51% majority vote is necessary. Beyond these two approaches, what is needed is for more parents to educate their kids, even through homeschooling if necessary, of the importance of individual, God given rights.

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