“For 10 summers in a row, a group of freedom-loving libertarians and small-c conservatives flocked to a remote acreage outside of Orono, Ont., pitched a tent and were treated to a weekend of entertainment, stimulating speakers and home-cooked meals.
United by the common belief that decisions are best left to the individual, rather than being dictated by the government, participants of the Liberty Summer Seminar embodied what former prime minister Wilfrid Laurier once said about our country: “Canada is free and freedom is its nationality.”
But as everyone was reminded last year, that freedom is constantly under threat by an ever-expanding nanny state. Just prior to last year’s event, municipal inspectors showed up on the property, which is owned by the Jaworski family and serves as a bed and breakfast the rest of the year.
There’s just no way you can cater the event yourself, said the inspectors. Doing so would mean that local businesses don’t get a cut of the action — the kind of businesses that pay property taxes. And there were more requirements that the municipality imposed, all of which were complied with.
By all accounts, the event was not as good as it had been before the government got involved. Campers longed for the home-cooked Polish meals the Jaworski’s had made in previous years, while choking down Subway sandwiches and cold pizza that cost organizers more money and generated significantly more waste.
Even though all the senseless regulations were complied with, the municipality still tried to fine the Jaworski’s $50,000 for using their land for something “other than permitted residential use; namely for a commercial conference centre.”
The Jaworski’s — whose son Peter runs the non-profit that puts on the event — immigrated from communist Poland in 1984 to escape that country’s brutal regime. The irony that 25 years later they would be persecuted by the government of a supposedly free country for celebrating freedom on private property was certainly not lost on anybody. But for nine months, their lives and futures were mired with uncertainty….”