COMMENTARY BY CLIVE EDWARDS
Imagine you are motivated enough, after careful and sober consideration, to challenge
what you and millions of other Canadians consider to be an ill-conceived law. There are
many such laws, so take your pick. You research the particular law that galls you. You
find it was rammed through parliamentary and senate committees without respect for
dissenting voices. You find the minister sponsoring the legislation lied in the press and in
the house in order to get his pet law passed. You even find strong indicators that "straw
man" lobby groups were created, paid for by laundering government grant money
through reputable organizations, so that the minister and his staff could collude with
"concerned citizens" to assure passage of this particular law. You source statistics in
order to determine whether the law is achieving its stated goals; you find the law has in
fact had the opposite effect. You also know, from networking with those who have spent
years trying to defeat this bad law, that writing letters, attending rallies and working on
government committees have not had the desired effect of having this bad law repealed,
even though more letters to MP's and Senators have been written and more concerned
citizens have protested on Parliament Hill than ever expressed their support for the law.
You decide to dedicate a great deal of time, energy and as much money as you can afford
trying to defeat the government that supports the bad law. After three or four federal
elections during which the ruling party always seemed to come from behind in key
ridings to maintain power you decide that you can't fight Tammany Hall on the political
front. You decide to trust the courts and research techniques of peaceful civil
disobedience. You carefully, in consultation with your family and friends, engineer
transparent acts of disobedience to the law. You write letters to the prime minister, the
various federal ministers, their provincial counterparts and responsible bureaucrats
including the local police and all levels of news media outlining your pending illegal
activities under the law and challenge them to arrest you. You are as good as your word
and non-violently disobey the law quite publicly. Your mind races, your stomach churns
as you wait to be arrested. Nothing happens. You are ignored. The powers that be, their
faces rubbed in their bad law by your disobedience to it don't seem interested in giving
you a soapbox from which to preach. They seem even less interested in allowing you to
require the courts, especially the Supreme Court, to rule on the legality of the bad law in
respect to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Canadian Bill of Rights.
You continue for a year and a half to publicly and peacefully flaunt your lack of
compliance. Eventually a minor functionary, one suspects with the intent of currying
favour with his masters, orders your arrest. Finally your protest looks like it will be taken
seriously and your Supreme Court Challenge is on its way. You comply with the courts,
eager to expedite the process. You and your wife criss-cross the country speaking about
the law and the reasons you oppose it and the reasons you audience should oppose it too.
Listeners rally to your cause and open their wallets; you raise a respectable war chest
that, together with the equity in your home, should squeak you through to the expected
$300,000 cost of paying lawyers and legal costs associated with seeking a Supreme Court
Ruling. You realize your opponent has bottomless pockets because after all, the
government uses your tax money and that of all Canadians against you, but you have
already accepted that those are the rules of the game.
You then find that the prosecution controls the pace at which you will proceed. You
believed you had a right to a speedy trial before a jury of your peers. That, it would
seem, happens only in the movies. The police and the prosecution conspire to get you in
trouble with the Canada Customs and Revenue Agency by denying you access to tax
documents they seized along with the computer you do your accounting on. You cannot
work in many professions because of the criminal charges, even though you brought them
on yourself. Bonding and licensing are problematic. You and your family survive doing
whatever you legally can. You graciously accept the support of friends and neighbours
from time to time. You wonder whether your son's student loan will come through;
without it he cannot attend university. You have a large circle of friends from coast to
coast now. You have their moral and financial support. Yet your ethics dictate that all
the funds you raise for your Charter Challenge be accounted for in trust. Nothing is spent
on personal or family expenses: unlike the politicians and bureaucrats you are fighting.
You have a case management team in place. You have your "Freedom Fundraisers"
group who are there to help in any way they can. Some have teamed to set up and
maintain a web site so the public, and the government, can keep abreast of issues and
events related to your legal challenge. It's still hard on your family but you have come
this far. Millions of Canadians have risked death with many paying that price fighting to
keep Canada free. All you face is the loss of all you own, bankruptcy, incarceration and
separation from your family and friends, some of whom may share your fate. Nobody
said it would be easy. And nobody expected the government to play dirty.
You receive notice the Attorney General for your province, under the signature of a
minor functionary, has placed a lien on your house, claiming you paid for it with the
proceeds of crime. You find this hilarious because you have lived your life with
exceptional deference to all laws, save the one you cannot in good conscience support
and have decided to publicly challenge. You have never been charged with any other
crime, let alone a violent crime - ever. You have certainly never been associated with
any criminal organization. Further, you reflect that your home was paid for in full years
before you embarked on your legal endeavour, thanks to money from parents. There is
no way the lien will stand up in court. You attend court and the judge won't let you
contest the lien. You are told the trial judge will determine that disposition. The
government has now boxed you into a catch-22. You cannot mortgage your house,
because of the lien, in order to pay your legal expenses that will free up your house so
that you can present your case. The prosecution knows your house is "clean". They
know you are not a criminal in any ordinary sense of the word. They know you are a
principled and determined citizen, demanding your day in court, and they are very, very
afraid. Your name is Bruce Montague, and your website is http://www.brucemontague.ca.
You know millions of Canadians are paying attention to your case. The Canadian
Government knows this too. It shows just how corrupt this government is that they fear
your success in the courts more than they fear what will happen if you lose.
DISCLAIMER: BruceMontague.ca is maintained by friends and
supporters of Bruce Montague.
It is NOT an official mouth-piece for Bruce
Montague's legal defense.