Monday, December 17, 2007
By Pierre Lemieux
After his four-week criminal trial ended this month in Kenora, Ont.,
Bruce Montague was found guilty of several paper crimes for activities
that were totally legal a few decades ago and, often, only a dozen
years ago. His wife Donna was also convicted of possession of a firearm
without a licence.
Sentencing, which could send the Montagues to jail for many years, is
scheduled for March 17.
Bruce Montague was involved in the civil disobedience movement launched
in 2002 by the Canadian Unregistered Firearms Owners Association
(CUFOA). These Canadian heroes have openly refused to obey the firearm
registration and licensing requirements put in the Criminal Code in
1995. The Montagues are the first of CUFOA's core group to fall.
At a time in western history when people entertained a healthy mistrust
toward the state, the legal principle developed that somebody could not
be charged twice for the same crime. Otherwise, the state, with its
virtually limitless resources, could simply bring an accused to trial
as often as necessary until he was convicted. The trick now used to
circumvent this old rule of law is to file so many charges that one is
bound to stick with the jury. The state threw more than 50 charges at
Mr. Montague. Several stuck.
Of course, with the liberticidal laws governing us, pulling a large
number of charges is never difficult, even for bureaucrats.
Bruce Montague is a good, honest, simple man. He is persuaded that he
is right and that, therefore, he must win under the law. He is the sort
of man Henry David Thoreau was talking about in his On the Duty of
Civil Disobedience: those "heroes, patriots, martyrs, reformers in the
great sense, and men," who "serve the state with their consciences
also, and so necessarily resist it for the most part." Bruce's wife,
Donna, shares this honour, too.
The police found Bruce's guns in a hidden room in the family house. The
state prosecutor (I won't say "Crown prosecutor," in order not to sully
the Crown), who would obviously do anything to earn a living, is quoted
as saying, in his closing argument, "It's not normal to build secret
rooms." This deep reflection reminded me of the Nazis' 1938 ban against
attic storage which Professor Robert Proctor mentions in his book, The
Nazi War on Cancer. It is not normal to hide things from the state.
The way things are going, we will end up in a society like the Village
in Patrick McGoohan's famous TV series The Prisoner (now available in
DVD): everybody doing only normal things, being nice and cheerful,
playing obediently any game imposed by the authorities, and with
nothing to hide.
We will be a nation of licence holders. A typical charge against Bruce
Montague read, "And further that William Bruce Montague on or about the
11th day of September 2004 at the Township of Rugby in the said Region
did possess firearms without being the holder of a licence under which
he may possess them contrary to Section 91(1) of the Criminal Code."
Fortunately, the jury did not retain the charges claiming "a purpose
dangerous to the public peace," which would likely have kept Bruce in
jail until his sentencing. The Montagues will appeal their convictions,
and be able to pursue the constitutional challenge that the judge threw
out before their criminal trial began (see www.brucemontague.ca).
In the meantime, Bruce's lifestyle has been destroyed. This is the
state in all its glory: crushing some individuals in order to please
I fear that the Montagues won't be the last Canadians to be persecuted
for defending our traditional liberties. But civil disobedience may be
the only way to reclaim them, and I hereby propose Bruce and Donna
Montague for the Order of Canada.
Pierre Lemieux is an economist in the Department of Management Sciences
at the Université du Québec en Outaouais.
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.