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Willow Pond

Victory!

(UPDATED with coverage below)

We won!

The Municipality of Clarington agrees with the Canadian Constitution Foundation’s argument that the Liberty Summer Seminar would be protected by the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. More in a bit, but here’s the video summary from the Canadian Constitution Foundation:

And here’s the press release from the CCF announcing the victory:

Liberty Summer Seminar & Jaworski Family Win Freedom of Assembly

The Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) today announced that it has succeeded in getting charges dropped against Marta and Lech Jaworski for hosting the Liberty Summer Seminar on their rural property in the Municipality of Clarington.

Background

The Liberty Summer Seminar (LSS) has been held annually outdoors at the Jaworskis’ home for 10 years. The seminar brings together university professors, think-tank executives, and liberty-minded activists to speak to an audience consisting primarily of students about political and economic freedom.

The Jaworskis, who fled Poland in 1984 while it was still a totalitarian regime, were astonished to find themselves charged in August, 2010 with an offence under Ontario’s Planning Act, merely for hosting the seminar on their 20-acre property. “We left Poland seeking freedom, but when we tried to help celebrate freedom in Canada, we found ourselves being treated like suspected criminals,” said Marta Jaworski, 57.

The Jaworskis retained a local lawyer to help them fight the charges but Clarington refused to budge.

Freedom of Peaceful Assembly

In December, 2010 the CCF took on the case. The CCF is a registered charitable organization that engages in public interest litigation in selected cases where it perceives government bodies to be breaching citizens’ constitutional rights.

The CCF filed court documents maintaining that the forbidding of the LSS would constitute a breach of the Jaworskis’ constitutional right to freedom of assembly under the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
The municipality informed the CCF last week that the charges against the Jaworskis would be withdrawn, in recognition of the fact that “their use of the property was purely for the purpose of a peaceful assembly and expressive activity”.

CCF Litigation Director Karen Selick said, “We are very satisfied with this result, and we’re particularly pleased that Clarington conceded the Jaworskis’ constitutional rights instead of putting them through the ordeal of a trial”.

News & blog coverage:

Feb. 14:
National Post Full Comment: Canadian Constitution Foundation saves the Liberty Summer Seminar
Toronto Sun: Seminar cleared of ‘improper land use’
FrumForum (U.S.): Libertarian summit overcomes red tape
Frontier Centre for Public Policy: Victory for property rights and free expression in Ontario
Gerry Nicholls: A win for freedom
Marven Whidden: V Day means Victory Day to the Jaworski family
The Volunteer: Jaworski family wins court battle with help from the CCF
Dr. Roy: Victory!!!
Free Dominion: Liberty Summer Seminar & Jaworskis win Freedom of Assembly
Canada Free Press: Ontario Landowners Association applauds victory for land owners
Five Feet of Fury: Victory for liberty, private property in Canada! You CAN fight city hall.
Freedom is my Nationality: Jaworski family wins court battle with help from CCF
Moose and Squirrel: Victory for the Jaworskis and the Liberty Summer Seminar!
The Political Animal: Liberty Summer Seminar & Jaworski Family Win Freedom of Assembly
Prairie Tory: Congratulations to the Jaworski family

Feb. 15:
Clarington This Week: Clarington drops charges against Orono couple
Ontario Landowners Association: OLA today praised the Jaworski family for winning a key victory for the rights of land owners
Small Dead Animals: Jaworski victory
Toronto Star: Hosts of liberty fest freed from charges
Libertas Post: Victory for the Liberty Summer Seminar!
Reason Hit & Run: Canadian City Reluctantly Agrees That It’s Permissible To Celebrate Your Freedom on Your Own Property Without First Getting Government Approval
The Agitator: Canadian City Reluctantly Agrees That It’s Permissible To Celebrate Your Freedom on Your Own Property Without First Getting Government Approval
Institute for Justice: Free Assembly Victory in the Great White North
The Federalist Society: Important Decision on Right to Peacefully Assemble in Canada
The Blog of Walker: A Victory for the Liberty Summer Seminar
SUN: Landowners gear up to protect their rights

Feb. 16:
CTV: Couple will not be charged for holding freedom festival (it disappeared… here’s the Google cache)
Dave Rutherford show (radio): Interview with Peter Jaworski & Chris Schafer by Rob Breakenridge
Wendy McElroy: Good news! Congratulations to the Jaworskis!
the Commons: Victory for the Liberty Summer Seminar
Maclean’s: Good News, Bad News (under “common sense”)

Feb. 18:
Health Freedom Network News: Liberty Summer Seminar and Jaworskis win Freedom of Assembly

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