In December, FrumForum wrote about the case of a libertarian summer conference that was facing a $50,000 fine because of red tape:
Every year, Peter and the non-profit Institute for Liberal Studies organize a gathering, the Liberty Summer Seminar, to celebrate individual liberties… But after nine years without conflict, a complaint is now threatening the event, and Jaworski’s parents face a fine of up to $50,000.
Before the event this year, health department officers contacted the Jaworskis and told them that their kitchen and cleaning facilities were not up to code. The event had to be catered. At great expense, they catered this year’s seminar.
Two weeks after this year’s event, the Jaworskis were charged anyhow – with running a commercial conference center on land zoned agricultural. This despite the event being organized by a non-profit, and, well, basically resembling a large BBQ.
For full background details, see the FrumForum piece here.
The Canadian Constitutional Foundation – the Canadian equivalent of America’s Institute for Justice – took up Institute for Liberal Studies’ case and filed a notice of constitutional question with the judge presiding over the case. In their notice, they asserted that the bylaw in question conflicted with the constitutional right to assemble peacefully.
With today came excellent news from the foundation: the municipality which had charged the Jaworskis has withdrawn all charges. The lawyers for the municipality had taken a look at the Canadian Constitutional Foundation’s contentions, and not only backed down, but further admitted that “their use of the property was purely for the purpose of a peaceful assembly and expressive activity”.
“We’re very happy to see that we have the freedom to celebrate freedom in the municipality of Clarington, Ontario,” Peter Jaworski told FrumForum this afternoon. “The charges were devastating and crippling. Confronting a $50,000 fine when you’re already having a financially difficult time thanks to the economic crisis is going to take its toll. My mother suffered a great deal in terms of lost sleep and worry.”
The irony of the whole ordeal still reverberates: a libertarian summit threatened by onerous fines because of overreaching government regulations.
But happily, the situation was settled, as the organizers might say, with a blow for liberty.
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