Sunday, September 17, 2006

Caging Government

I visited Montreal recently and had the pleasure to meet Dan Romano, an interesting guy who has also set up an interesting organization called Citizens Against Government Encroachment, or C.A.G.E.

And what's really cool is this acronym also works in French -- Citoyens Anti-gouvernement Envahissant.

Anyway, C.A.G.E. "promotes the idea that happiness and good health, in that order, are best pursued by responsible, educated and well-informed adults in control of their own choices. It opposes state-directed harassment of those who do not choose to follow all aspects of the 'officially approved healthy lifestyle,' or the imposition of coercive legislation to force behavioural compliance."

This is my kind of group, not only for its promotion of individual freedom but also because I personally do not choose to follow an "approved" lifestyle.

Now if you will excuse me, I am off to sit on the couch watch TV and have some salty potato chips.


Anonymous said...

Test question for one of the (lost?) 5 top political minds:

Where do you end up when you attempt to travel left and right simultaneously, at high speed?

Hope you hand-delivered gift copies of your previously-recommended book "Alexis in Charterland" to ALL owners of websites that CAGE recommends, Gerry (along with an extra copy to Wajsman sidekick Julius Grey)?

Anonymous said...

Sept. 14 2005, by INGRID PERITZ Quebec lawyer to challenge smoking ban
..."Julius Grey, a lawyer known for championing high-profile civil-rights causes, is going to Quebec Superior Court on behalf of two Montreal bar owners to try to block the new provincial legislation.

Mr. Grey viewed the restrictions as an example of "paternalism" and said the problem of second-hand smoke can be solved with ventilation in separate smoking rooms."


...Interestingly, this CAGE-allied lawyer for these bar owners appears to agree with “the enemy” anti-smoking lobbyists on the fact that SHS is a “problem” (“beyond individuals’ ability to resolve for or between themselves” might be inherent?). He appears to disagree with Anti-smoker claims only on one thing: Grey must accordingly believe that SHS is only a danger to non-smokers (since smokers segregated within a DSR are still exposed to [the “problem” of] SHS)...

Within his personal statement on the CAGE website as it was launched,
Daniel Romano said:
"When I agreed to launch CAGE, I did it for the principles of freedom of choice, of greater personal responsibility, and of a smaller and less intrusive government."


One might best compare the philosophy underlying Daniel's above
statement with the philosophy that is evidenced in statements made by Julius Grey in his commentary titled: Orwellian
Prophecy and Our Time:The Compromise of Human Spirit and the
of Conformity
- published in The Gazette/Montreal on 27 December 2002
and featured on the website of the Institute for Public Policy of
"Orwell showed, the state can threaten civil liberties,
private interests are even more dangerous and harder to control. The
return to political awareness, to voter participation and to a belief
that politics matter would be a first step in opposing the new 1984. It
is therefore essential that the democratic state not further abdicate
its role, and that we resist siren calls for smaller, less obtrusive

We should remember that the 1984 state provided few services other than
the security network. Social justice is usually an inherent part of
freedom. The government's role as a major actor in society, far from
creating a risk of totalitarianism, is rather a guarantee of freedom.


As for Beryl Wajsman and his recent commentary regarding the Quebec bar
owners' lawsuit and the CAGE-allied organizational and individual
high-profile forces that have apparently co-committed to backing the

Beryl's guest op-eds published in Toronto Free Press may suggest the
correct perception to be that he is a freedom fighter and in
philosophical opposition to current, Liberal-style governance.
this is not the same perception that was provided by media reports of
his own statements as recently as mid-May of 2005 during the Gomery
Inquiry - see Norman's Spectator archives:

...Beryl Wajsman quote, as reported by William Marsden of the Gazette:
"I want to restore the party to the roots of Trudeau liberalism," he
said outside the hearing."


...and what about this quote, as reported by
Kathryn May of The Citizen:
"In theatrical and almost bombastic testimony, the flamboyant Mr.
denied he was paid by Mr. Brault and insisted the lunch was to help Mr.
Brault tap into the anglophone business community. But Mr. Wajsman said
he couldn't introduce Mr. Brault with his "Elvis Presley" haircut and
"little moustache" to his contacts."

"Mr. Wajsman testified, however, that Morselli later gave him a $5,000
cheque as a contribution to the Institute for Public Affairs of
Montreal, an organization Mr. Wajsman founded."


... further enlightening remarks by Christie Blatchford
of the Globe and Mail:
"When Beryl Wajsman blew into the inquiry yesterday like a big old hot
wind, decorum and stately rules of procedure all but flew out the door
even as his pugnacious self pushed through it. Look up “control freak”
in any dictionary and there surely will be a picture of Mr. Wajsman:
Short, stocky, greying hair rolling in oiled waves, black-rimmed
jauntily atop his head, red-lipped mouth working overtime.

In short order, Mr. Wajsman slagged the wife of one former boss, Irwin
Cotler, now federal Justice Minister (“I had a lot of problems with his
wife”); tagged another, former public works minister Alfonso Gagliano,
as a bit thick (Mr. Gagliano didn't have “the intellectual capability”
of Jean Marchand or Marc Lalonde, and had on a scale of 1 to 10 “an
emotional range of 1 to 3”); dissed the food at Restaurant Frank (a
favourite hangout of Mr. Gagliano and friends); called one former party
staffer lazy and another a thief and gaily blamed a receptionist for
alleged error that for a time had listed, under the Liberal Party of
Canada name in the Montreal phone book, his own phone number.

But the best moment, surely, came when Mr. Wajsman engaged in that most
fundamentally Liberal of epithets and cheerfully labelled Daniel
Dezainde, the former executive director of the party's Quebec wing and
the man who fired him, a racist.
Sept. 2005: Support being sought for a recently-launched lawsuit by some Quebec bar owners and CAGE insiders, who allegedly intend to challenge the proposed provincial smoking ban legislation Loi 112 as being constitutionally illegal, to be represented by constitutional expert Julius Grey acting as their lawyer. Potential supporters may perceive some worrisome contradictions between and/or within this lawsuits’ key proponents’ (or is it key co-beneficiaries’) philosophies?


With friends and apparent "Court Party" supporters like this Quebec-based cabal, Canadian smokers might as well support the Anti's.
Once again, we see evidence that birds of a feather flock together ...

...the only question left in my mind, Gerry, is where you are flying and with whom...I'll watch for a posting of clarification, very soon.

Beryl Wajsman said...

It is interesting that anonymous had neither the courage to tell us his name nor the integrity to quote the 90% of coverage of my testimony that was balanced and fair.What Brault's attempted sliming has to do with this argument I cannot fathom. I was not named for any blame and it was proven that I took no money though it was a moot point since I had left the party some two months before.

Trudeau liberalism was grounded in civil liberties. There is very little “liberal” about the current Liberal party. Instead of real policies addressing the political and distributive issues of the day they engage in statocratic engineering.

This kind of governance needs to be opposed. In order to pursue social justice you have to commit the “crimes” of criticizing government when it curtails basic privacy rights and compromises due process of law with McCarthyite witch-hunts.

It is time for Canadians to wake up to the near Stalinist statocratic government we had under the Liberals who abridged our most basic freedoms and engaged in the politics of guilt by association and drive-by character assasination. Obviously in "anonymous" they found a ready audience.

It is timely that George Clooney’s movie on the battles between famed reporter Edward R. Murrow and Sen. Joseph McCarthy entitled “Good Night and Good Luck” is opened last year.It reminds all citizens of what can happen when the instruments of state are used to destroy a person’s character through innuendo, rumour and hearsay. Murrow won his battle with McCarthy. But it raises the troubling questions of what protections can be afforded ordinary citizens from the encroachments on their rights who do not have access to any voice. At the heart of what we now call McCarthyism was nothing more than political brinkmanship played before a national television audience to settle political scores and raise McCarthy’s image. He was finally brought down by a simple sentence from Boston attorney Joseph N. Welch who had had enough. He asked of McCarthy, “Senator, have you no shame. Have you no decency left?”

Canadians need to ask the same questions in their ready acceptance of the Gomery Commission's findings based on a very selective choice of evidence. This Canadian lethargy can lead to greater dangers to our civil liberties.

At an Institute conference a Member of Parliament once characterized Canada as a “controlled democracy”. Under the Martin Liberals, and those at some provincial levels,Canada may well be on the road to becoming a terrorizing democracy institutionalizing a culture of victimization and fear.

It is time to turn the timidity of Canadians around. A timidity that has led to obsequious obedience when Federal Ministers corrode a citizen’s reputation in open pronouncements; when the RCMP raids a reporter’s home in violation of a judge’s order; when Revenue departments compromise longstanding privacy protections on taxpayers files through information exchange with other departments and other levels of government; when CRTC judgments decide what words we are allowed to hear and what images we are allowed to see.

All these matters, if allowed to go unchallenged, will set precedents that will open the door to practices that exist in other societies where state authorities routinely compromise anyone of interest on any pretext. And these issues cannot just be the subject of court challenges. They take too long and damage done cannot be undone. They need to be challenged with the full panoply of weapons including the law, the media and a vigorous public advocacy that threatens to expose what the 18th century legal philosopher Becarria called “… this tyranny of the mindless…” and arrest this triumphant march of the mediocre.

Ottawa must be made to recognize the inherent right of every citizen to an equal claim of presumptive tolerance from the state. That each member of a free society has as a birthright, in Lord Acton’s words, to the “…equity of just consideration…”. This government has been systematically abrogating that birthright. Law cannot be continually used, and abused, as a two-edged sword of craft and oppression. It must become the staff of the honest and the shield of the innocent. Elected officials cannot be allowed to marginalize its citizens without restraint of consequence.

We are a society of laws and not of men. But when bad men make bad laws, or when unprincipled officials compromise good ones, then it is time, as Gandhi said, to stand up and exercise “responsible agitation” to stop governments from “…staggering drunkenly from wrong to wrong in order to protect their own immortality…” Let us never become so falsely pious that we forget that today’s laws are merely the limits on our actions placed by those in power who profited from a yesteryear when these laws did not exist, and now seek to protect their own gains by limiting access for others.

The heart of the matter is whether we can afford to sit idly by while this nation continues the restriction and reversion of rights that has been it’s hallmark over the past several decades, or whether we will chart a return to the proper course for this land, that of meeting a liberal democracy’s primordial obligation of protecting and expanding the amount of liberty and dignity which all human beings have a right to expect.

The state tried to victimize me. I fought back and grew stronger. But tomorrow the victinm could be you and without the political resources I had to fight back.And our epitaph as a country will be that used by Murrow in one of his concluding programs on McCarthyism, “The fault dear Brutus lies not in the stars, but in ourselves.”

~ Beryl Wajsman