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Canadians have a theoretical right to defend themselves and their property, but you wouldn’t know it judging by how the authorities treat people who dare to exercise that right. When an incident occurs involving a citizen using – or even threatening – force to protect themselves from intruders, the person defending themselves is almost always charged. The crown then pressures the newly ‘accused’ to force them to plea to a lesser charge. If the accused refuses, they are dragged through the courts for months or even years before the charges are either dropped or a jury fully acquits the defendant.

The process itself is the punishment. The state knows well that they rarely win when self-defence cases go to trial.

We watched the disgusting actions of the crown prosecutor as they dragged young Okotoks, Alberta father Eddie Maurice before the courts every two weeks for months in hopes that he would cave-in and plea guilty. The crime? He injured an intruder with a ricochet from a warning shot as he defended his home and child from a pair of intruders. When it was clear that Maurice wasn’t giving up and that public support for him was building, the crown dropped all charges and skulked away. While Maurice was never convicted of anything, his life was turned upside down for months and the stress was unimaginable as it appeared that he may face years in prison. It was an unforgivable act of bullying and cowardice from a state justice system that jealously protects what it sees as an exclusive right to use force in the prevention of crime.

The usual suspects claimed that dropping the charges against Maurice was due to the catch-all accusation of “systemic racism”, as though fending off violent criminals was a racist act.

In Collingwood Ontario, Cameron Gardiner just had manslaughter charges dropped against him. Gardiner and his girlfriend were tied up by three armed, masked home intruders. Gardiner managed to break free and in the ensuing melee, shot and killed two of the invaders with their own shotgun while the third leaped from a window. The crown began with murder charges against Gardiner in 2019. They dropped those charges to manslaughter when it became evident that he was not backing down, and would never obtain a conviction. Now they have dropped the manslaughter charges.

Gardiner wouldn’t back down and plead guilty, so the crown dropped the charges and scurried away before a jury could acquit him and humiliate the racket in public. Again, a person’s life was seriously disrupted as the police and crown prosecutors tried to use the process itself to order to punish a man who had broken no laws, and committed no injustice.

In the 2016 case of Gerald Stanley in Saskatchewan, the crown went the distance. A group of young people went on an impaired, armed, and criminal rampage. After attempting to rob a neighboring farm, the gang showed up on the Stanley property. Chaos ensued as the criminals tried to steal property and rammed one of Stanley’s vehicles. It was a dangerous circumstance causing Stanley to fear for the safety of his family.

The incident ended tragically as Colten Boushie was fatally shot. A young indigenous man had been shot by an older white man. To some people, that is a case of racism, regardless of who was the good guy, and who was the bad guy. The crown decided to join in and show just how progressive it was, and so they charged Stanley with second-degree murder.

The jury however, would have none of it. They acquitted Stanley in February of 2018. The defence was based on a possible hangfire in the handgun used, but the jury certainly took self-defence into consideration when they freed Stanley.

Just last week in Granum, Alberta, invaders tried to rob a man’s home and found themselves held by citizens arrest after a warning shot was discharged by the homeowner. The crown is still investigating and is actively considering charges against the homeowner.

Those charged with leading our justice system have little sense of justice.

The time has come to more clearly enshrine in law the unambiguous right to defend ourselves, our families, and our property. The benefit of the doubt must be given to the person in their home when charges are considered. We must make clear that if criminals are going to consider entering a property with nefarious intent, they will be doing so at their own risk. Law-abiding citizens must be able to make life-and-death decisions under pressure without the prospect of long prison sentences hanging over them.

The clear right to defend oneself and property is normally called ‘castle doctrine.’ It recognizes the need for a person to be able to stand their ground in their place of residence and to use force if necessary.

To be clear, castle doctrine-inspired laws do not give license to homeowners to shoot anybody stepping foot on their property without reason. It must still be be established that the intruder had criminal intent and that the homeowner felt that their property or person was at serious risk. Most homeowners have no interest in harming a person, and would only see the use of a firearm as an option of last resort. But homeowners must know that that option of last resort is available without the government coming down on them.

The thug-huggers tell us, “It’s just property, and property is never worth someone’s life.”

The thugs themselves disagree. They clearly value stealing someone else’s property more than their own lives. Their decision to take this risk is protected by our upside-down justice system.

Declining to protect ourselves and our property is asking us to roll over and let criminals take the fruit of our labours from us. It is demanding that we work, abide by laws, and sacrifice our time in order to acquire property, only to have a criminal take it from us without recourse. That is not reasonable. It should be noted that rural property crime has gotten so bad in some areas that insurance companies will no longer cover losses. Importantly, the police rarely recover stolen property. They write a report, file it in the system, and pull it up again if they happen to stumble across the thief later. When your property is stolen, it is probably lost forever.

The criminal apologists assume that most home invaders are ultimatley harmless and simply want to take our property. We are to assume that they will not rape, assault or murder the residents of the home once they have them under control. The legal assumptions here must be in favour of the resident’s safety. Free citizens have every right to assume that a home or business invader is violent without a lengthy interview.

I have personal experience with this.

In 2019 a small gang of young criminals went on a crime spree over the course of a few weeks through the Foothills region just south of Calgary. They repeatedly robbed a number of businesses and properties, causing tens of thousands of dollars in damages and losses, along with putting the entire region on edge. One of those businesses was my own pub. The first time they hit us, they stole several thousand dollars worth in products, and did many more thousands in damage. Ten days later, they hit our place again. We had taken precautions and so they took nothing, but did thousands of dollars worth in damage to demonstrate their frustration before they left. I missed intercepting them quite literally by minutes as I drove out to respond to the alarm. In hindsight, this was a good thing.

While the criminal careers of this gang were prolific, they weren’t very good at it. In a matter of weeks – thanks to video footage – seven people from a property near Airdrie, Alberta were charged. They were then of course released to await court, even though many of them had prior offences.

One of those charged was a fellow named Hunter Van Mackelberg. He was charged with murdering 19 year old Kalix Langenau within a month of his having been released.

Another two who had been charged with robbing my place were Ian Abercrombie and Shane Smith. After they were released, an incident occurred where Abercrombie fatally shot Smith, and then allegedly rolled his body in a carpet and disposed of it in the Bow River. You may remember the “Justice for Shane” campaign as they tried to find the body. Abercrombie claimed that the death was accidental the crown took his word for it. They allowed him to plea down to criminal negligence causing death. Abercrombie also pled guilty to the numerous charges including robbing my place. Shamefully, those convictions will be served concurrently with his prior conviction so that he will be out in less than six years.

Six years for murder and serial robbery. Canadian justice.

This issue is only going to become more acute as we see an addiction epidemic continue and even harder economic times approaching. Criminals are becoming bolder and police simply can’t keep up with them.

Loudly and publicly enshrining the right to defend property by force with a more clear-cut law will provide some deterrent upon those considering victimizing people in their homes. Our catch-and-release justice system certainly isn’t sending the message.

Cory Morgan is the Alberta Political Columnist and Host of the Cory Morgan Show for the Western Standard

Opinion & Broadcast Editor

Cory Morgan is the Opinion & Broadcast Editor of the Western Standard and the Host of ‘Triggered’ based in the Calgary Headquarters. He has worked in independent media and the Alberta oil and gas industry.

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