Nadine-lockdown protest

Nadine Wellwood (Image Credit: Western Standard and Nadine Wellwood)

Despite an unprecedented court injunction outlawing protests, the Whistle Stop Café saw 1,500 Albertans come out in support of owner Chris Scott over the weekend. The spark moving Scott from merely refusing to close his café, to protesting, was a move by the Alberta government to seize his private property. It was a decision that left him and his family without an income or livelihood.  

Outlawing protests on private property, arresting peaceful demonstrators, and anonymous identities of court prosecutors. Welcome to the ‘new’ Canada, and the Alberta government’s enthusiastic embrace of it.

John Carpay of the Justice Centre for Constitutional Freedom warns, “By way of this injunction, Alberta Health Services now has the court acting as a police force, rather than as the protector of citizens’ Charter rights and freedoms.”

The severe reactions and responses of the political class toward peaceful demonstrators exercising their protected Charter freedoms shows a lack of empathy for their plight, and a disregard for ancient rights. 

Alberta NDP Leader Rachel Notley delights in the actions taken by the RCMP arrests this weekend, tweeting “Finally, some enforcement of the public health laws … why did it take so long?”

Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi believes those who protest lockdowns are “thinly veiled white nationalists.” 

And Alberta Premier Jason Kenney dismisses legitimate questions, calling protestors “unhinged conspiracy theorists.”  

In The Law, Frederick Bastiat writes, “Individuality, liberty, property – this is man.  And in spite of the cunning and artful political leaders, these three gifts from God precede all human legislation, and are superior to it.  

Life, liberty, and property do not exist because men have made laws.  On the contrary, it was the fact that life, liberty and property existed beforehand that caused men to make laws in the first place.”

Governments do not grant rights and freedoms. Government itself is a creation of man for the sole legitimate purpose of protecting the individual rights and freedoms of its citizens.

Alberta’s ‘artful and cunning political leaders’ instead reject freedom as a superfluous nicety, and have embraced authoritarianism. 

Jason Kenney was elected premier in 2019 on a platform titled ‘Strong and Free’, dedicated to core conservative values. But when challenged to uphold these values by the voters who put him in the premier’s office, he “wants a new base.”

There is a growing anger and sense of betrayal amongst Albertans toward the Kenney administration, as evidenced over the last two weekends. The harder Kenney demands these individuals comply, the more they are willing to push back.

Henry David Thoreau, in his essay Civil Disobedience, wrote, “The right to refuse allegiance to and to resist the government when its tyranny or its inefficiency are great and unendurable. Must the citizen resign his conscience to the legislator? A people, as well as an individual, must do justice, cost what it may.” 

The government itself is equally liable to be abused and perverted. This weekend’s events are undeniable evidence of government abuse and the perversion of the law.

Mr. John Carpay wrote before the arrest of Scott, “Rather than relying on regular law enforcement, it’s far more effective, and far more efficient, to terrorize Albertans with an injunction like that issued by Justice Rooke on May 6, which leaves citizens unable to assert their Charter freedoms upon being arrested and imprisoned.”

The arrest of a small business owner, two pastors, and a multitude of fines issued to those defending their Charter protected rights and freedoms, is not freedom. It is authoritarianism. 

In The Law, Bastiat continued, “Socialists desire to practice ‘legal plunder’ and to make the law their weapon.  When socialism enters law, it does not fear courts or your prisons … in fact, it calls upon them for help. The choices that lay before us:

  1. The few plunder the many.
  2. Everybody plunders everybody.
  3. Nobody plunders anybody.” 

For all his rhetoric of a “strong and free” Alberta, premier Kenney has embarked on a dangerous path that is in direct confrontation with the values of a majority of Albertans. The more he tightens his grip, the more control will slip between his fingers. 

Nadine Wellwood is a Correspondent for the Western Standard

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