Saturday, September 21, 2019

'Fake news' section of Elections Act challenged

Canadian Constitution Foundation launches constitutional challenge against elections censorship law - Canadian Constitution Foundation:

September 18, 2019 - "On Monday Sept 16th, the Canadian Constitution Foundation (CCF) served documents on the Attorneys General of Canada and Ontario challenging the constitutionality of section 91 of the Canada Elections Act (CEA), which prohibits certain types of 'false statements' during a federal election period. This provision allows the government to censor what it considers to be 'fake news'.

"The CCF is deeply concerned about the harm that this law has on freedom of expression in Canada, particularly the freedom to engage in political speech, as guaranteed under s. 2(b) of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. Section 91 of the CEA violates the right of Canadians to express their political views freely, particularly during an election period, without fear of reprisal....

"These provisions, which were recently amended, make it an offence to attempt to influence an election by making or publishing certain types of 'false' statements about political candidates and other public figures during the election period. The prohibition leaves important words like “false”, “public figure”, and “associated with” undefined. Further, the state need not prove knowledge of falsity: a person or entity who made or published an allegedly 'false' statement, such as by posting or re-posting a comment on social media, can be prosecuted even if they honestly believed the statement to be true, and even if there was a reasonable basis for this belief....

"Violating this law carries a maximum penalty of a $50,000 fine and five years in prison. As a result, the law forces Canadians into an unacceptable choice: they can soft-peddle their expression or self-censor their views in an attempt to avoid saying anything that the state may deem to be “false”, or they can exercise their right to express themselves and risk prosecution and severe punishment. Too many Canadians will choose the former. This chilling effect will lead to a muted social and political discourse and, in turn, serve only to undermine the integrity and effectiveness of the democratic election process.

"Inevitably, false information is, intentionally or not, disseminated during an election. The constitutionally permissible response to this inevitability is not to sanction speech, but to promote media and information literacy and foster open discourse so that Canadians can make up their own minds about what to believe and who to vote for. Censoring and punishing free speech is not a constitutionally acceptable solution in a free and democratic society....

"CCF Executive Director, Joanna Baron, stated... 'To take just one example, Canadians may disagree about whether Prime Minister Justin Trudeau obstructed justice in his handling of the SNC-Lavalin prosecution. But the Charter gives every Canadian the right to allege that he committed that crime without fear of punishment. That’s why the government’s attempt to criminalize "fake news" must be declared unconstitutional.'"

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Friday, September 20, 2019

18 Libertarians cut from ballot in Erie Co. NY

Erie County Libertarians knocked off ballot after nomination certificates invalidated | WBFO - Tom Dinki::

September 19, 2019 - "Libertarians finally gained automatic ballot access in New York state last year, but you won’t see any Libertarians on the ballot for Erie County races this November. The Erie County Board of Elections invalidated the entire party line’s certificates of nomination earlier this month, saying there were deficiencies on the forms that violate state election law.

"Four of the 18 would-be Libertarian nominees challenged the Board of Elections in a validation proceeding Wednesday, but state Supreme Court Justice Frank A. Sedita III upheld the decision, saying the Board of Elections simply followed state election law.

"Erie County Libertarian Party Chairman Duane Whitmer told WBFO the deficiencies were technicalities that should have not been held against the party. He alleged Erie County Democrats and Republicans conspired to knock Libertarians off the ballot.

“'This is an example of the two parties coming together and suppressing the third parties,' he said after Wednesday’s court proceeding. 'They have the time and resources. The (elections) commissioners are paid $120,000 a year in taxpayer funds to make sure that third parties can’t compete.' Whitmer specifically accuses Erie County Democratic Elections Commissioner Jeremy Zellner, who’s faced renewed criticism in recent months for also serving as chairman of the Erie County Democratic Committee....

"Erie County Republican Elections Commissioner Ralph Mohr said Libertarians met most of the requirements under state election law 6-128, which deals with new party’s certificates of nomination, but did not meet two of what he called the most important requirements: a certified copy of the party’s rules and sworn affidavits from party officials.

"Mohr previously met with Libertarian Party officials to show them what was wrong with their certificates, and even gave them a copy of a correct certificate to follow. However, he said the forms were still not valid when the party submitted them a second time. The deadline to submit validated certificates of nomination was Sept. 3....

"Many of the 18 would-be Libertarian nominees are already cross-endorsed by the Republican Party, like county executive candidate Lynne Dixon, but some ... were counting on their Libertarian nomination to get on the ballot. The Libertarian Party of New York State gained automatic ballot status after Libertarian Larry Sharpe earned more than the required 50,000 votes in last fall’s gubernatorial race."

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Thursday, September 19, 2019

Bernier makes it into leaders' debates

Maxime Bernier invited to participate in official commission debates | CBC News - Aaron Wherry:

September 16, 2019 - "The official Leaders' Debates Commission has decided to invite Maxime Bernier, leader of the People's Party of Canada, to participate in the English and French debates that will be televised next month. 'You have satisfied me that you intend to field candidates in 90 per cent of ridings and, based on recent political context, public opinion polls and previous general election results, I consider that more than one candidate of your party has a legitimate chance to be elected,' David Johnston, the former governor general who leads the commission, wrote to Bernier on Monday.

"Bernier was not initially included among the leaders invited to participate in the debates. Instead, he was asked to provide more information as the commission considered his case.

"'Canadians will be able to see all the options before voting the 21st of October. And it is important,' Bernier told supporters at a meeting in Saint John, N.B. 'I must say to Mr. Johnston that he took the right decision for the future of our country....'

"'I think it's wrong to give Mr. Bernier the platform to spread his hateful and divisive message," NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh said during a campaign stop in Montreal....

"'It's no big surprise that Justin Trudeau's hand-picked debate panel used a Liberal-friendly pollster who attacks Andrew Scheer to ultimately justify Mr. Bernier's attendance at the debate,' said Daniel Schow, press secretary to the Conservative leader — apparently referring to Frank Graves of Ekos....

"The commission was charged with considering three criteria as it decided on a final list of debate participants: whether a party is represented in the House of Commons by an MP who was elected as a member of that party; whether a party is planning to run candidates in at least 90 per cent of ridings; and whether a party has a "legitimate chance" of electing more than one MP. To be included in the debates, a party must satisfy at least two of those criteria.

"Bernier and the People's Party have nominated candidates for more than 90 per cent of the country's 338 ridings, but the party has not yet elected an MP under its banner (Bernier was elected as a Conservative MP in 2015). That left the commission to decide whether the People's Party had a 'legitimate chance' of electing multiple MPs this fall....

"In addition to Bernier's riding of Beauce, the commission reviewed opinion polling results for the Ontario ridings of Nipissing-Timiskaming, Etobicoke North and Pickering-Uxbridge, and the Manitoba riding of Charleswood-St.-James-Assiniboia-Headingley. The results of those riding-level polls, conducted for the commission by Ekos, showed that between 24.5 per cent and 34.1 per cent of respondents said it was 'possible' that they would vote for the People's Party candidate."

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Wednesday, September 18, 2019

New Ukraine gov't plans 'economic revolution'

Ukraine’s libertarian revolution - Atlantic Council - James Brooke:

September 10, 2019 - "Kyiv is ground zero for the most significant economic revolution in the region today. In a libertarian reshaping of Ukraine’s post-Soviet system, the new government plans to approve the largest farm land market in Europe, the biggest post-Soviet privatization fire sale in a generation, and the opening of roads, railroads, ports, airports, oil and gas to private investment. Casino gambling and amber mining are to be legalized. Foreign exchange controls are to be lifted. Labor laws are to be liberalized.

"In a whirlwind of legislative activity reminiscent of Franklin Roosevelt’s First 100 Days, Ukraine’s new government is creating opportunities for billions of dollars of foreign and national investment in the 2020s. In a move bound to unleash years of pent up investment, the central bank promises to cut interest rates in half by the end of next year. Putting small government in practice, Ukraine’s new Prime Minister, Oleksiy Honcharuk last week cut the number of ministries by one third — from 25 to 17....

"Volodymyr Zelenskyy won an open, multiparty presidential race, emerging with ... 73 percent of the final presidential vote in April. Three months later, in parliamentary elections, he won a clear majority — 60 percent of Rada seats. In late August, Zelenskyy’s trust rating was 70 percent, according to a survey by the Ilko Kucheriv Democratic Initiatives Foundation. On the campaign trail, Zelenskyy was short on promises and short on interviews. Voters elected a black box. Last week, he jumped out of that box and proved to be a 41-year-old libertarian.

"Part of the shakeup is a generational turnover. The post-post-Soviet generation now run Ukraine. With the youngest cabinet in Europe, average age 39, Ukraine’s cabinet members order their food online, order their taxis online, order their vacations online, and pay in stores with contactless bank cards. Faster adapters to new technology, Ukrainians bought 56 percent of their railroad tickets online this summer....

"Creating the 'state in the smartphone,' is the task of Mykhailo Fedorov, Ukraine’s new deputy prime minister and minister for digital transformation. At 28, he shares the title of Europe’s youngest minister with Virginius Sinkevicius, Lithuania’s economy minister. Encapsulating Kyiv’s ambitious plans to create Estonia-style e-citizenship, Fedorov tells the Kyiv Post: 'Eventually, people will stop noticing the government. They’ll be using it like they use Uber or — only when they need it.'

"Press reactions range from ho hum to skeptical to hostile. 'Vulgar libertarianism,' sniped one Kyiv economist. Traditional political scientists, trained to identify a revolution as a worker-peasant alliance taking over the telegraph office, do not see anything special going on. Many Ukrainian free marketers are sulking in the sidelines because they misread the Zelenskyy movement last spring. But with the government’s goals and deadlines clearly set, the prime minister reports that more and more Maidan-era talent are signing up to help."

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Tuesday, September 17, 2019

People's Party loses a candidate

B.C. candidate expelled from PPC asks Maxime Bernier to denounce racism |

September 11, 2019 - "Brian Misera was the PPC candidate for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam until Wednesday, when he received an email explaining that his status as an approved candidate has been revoked. His name no longer appears on the party’s website, which no longer links to his Twitter and Facebook profiles.

"Misera tells Global News the email came as a shock, and believes it was sent after he called out Bernier and the party for not disavowing the support of racists and far-right groups. He says he sent an email to Bernier directly, asking him to 'please do more to help us disassociate from far-right groups that really have no place in our society.' 'I wanted him to do more to make it very, very clear that we don’t represent them, we don’t want their support,” he said.

"Soon afterwards, he says he received the email from the party, which Misera shared with Global News. 'You will not be allowed to participate further in the electoral process as the PPC Candidate for Coquitlam-Port Coquitlam,' the email reads. 'We hope you will continue to support the People’s Party of Canada.'

"Misera, who has a business degree from Simon Fraser University, says he ... supported Bernier’s platform and ideas.... But he says he regularly heard from people on the campaign trail who called him a 'Nazi' and 'racist' when they found out he was a PPC candidate. He received similar comments after becoming more active on social media, posting videos of his time meeting with voters. He became further troubled after seeing people with ties to far-right groups and ideologies either express support for the party or become members themselves, to which commenters also alerted him....

"After following up on the comments and doing his own research, Misera said he wanted to ensure the party he was running for didn’t support people with views to which he says he’s very much opposed....

"In an email to Global News, PPC executive director Johanne Mennie said Misera’s candidacy was revoked after he admitted to acting as his own financial agent, a violation of Elections Canada rules. Misera says that’s not true, arguing he doesn’t have any team at all to help him collect donations.... Further questions to the PPC, including why those issues weren’t addressed before Misera was acclaimed as the candidate for the riding, have not been answered. The party has also not responded to whether Bernier received a message from Misera, or if the party leader has a response to Misera’s criticisms.

"[I]n Edmonton in July ... Bernier said people who don’t share the PPC’s values aren’t welcome. 'People who are racist and anti-Semitic, they’re not welcome in our party,' he said. Also in July, five Winnipeg PPC members left the party over allegations the federal party is harbouring racists, anti-Semites and conspiracy theorists."

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Monday, September 16, 2019

BC Libertarian welcomes PPC competition

Burnaby Libertarian sees Bernier's People's Party as allies, not a threat | Burnaby Now - Dustin Godfrey:

September 15, 2019 - "New Westminster-Burnaby’s Libertarian Party candidate says there are no existential questions for his party with a competing libertarian-leaning brand with broad coverage in the upcoming election. Neeraj Murarka, New West's B.C. Libertarian Party candidate 2017 and B.C. director of the federal Libertarian Party, is replacing Rex Brocki in New West-Burnaby, with Brocki set to run up against NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh in Burnaby South under the Libertarian banner.

"Brocki tallied 2.6 per cent of the vote in New West-Burnaby in 2015, which Murarka admitted will be a challenge to meet.... His own name recognition won’t be the only challenge to the Libertarians in New West-Burnaby, though. The People’s Party of Canada, run by former Conservative Party leadership contender Maxime Bernier, has received significant press coverage in the year since its September 2018 formation. That’s particularly true, given the PPC hasn’t even breached the five per cent mark in either CBC’s poll tracker or fellow poll aggregate 338Canada since the party’s creation.

"That name recognition could steal what little sway the Libertarians wield. But although the Libertarians considered a merger with the PPC last year, Murarka said the party doesn’t have any question about where it stands with a competing libertarian brand in the mix.

"Murarka called the People’s Party a more 'practical rendition of his own party. Where the PPC could conceivably snag a seat or two in October, Murarka sees his party as the more principled libertarian brand. 'They’re basically doing whatever is necessary to get into office,' Murarka said.

"While he said the PPC concedes parts of a libertarian platform to get into office, Murarka says the party could push libertarian ideals into the mainstream.... 'If they manage to disrupt things, just manage to get a seat, I would be, honestly, very happy,' Murarka said. I don’t see them as the enemy; I’m not going to vote for them because I’m running, myself. But I think that both of our parties are kind of on the same level'....

"Murarka said his main issue this election is getting more voter involvement in the choices of government – more referendums and more decentralized control of Parliament. 'I want ,,, the voters to get to make those decisions, whether it relates to taxes, foreign policy, foreign intervention, military, spending, welfare – all those things.'”

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Sunday, September 15, 2019

Five rap beats for liberty

Five Hip Hop Beats For Reppin Liberty in Your Hood - Caleb Shumate, Libertarian Republic:

August 20, 2019 - Are you an OG libertarian who loves rap music and hates government overreach? If so, here are five tunes with a message that anyone who reps liberty can enjoy.

1. "The Ancap Rap Part 1" by Eric July. This freestyle rap over the beat to 'You Should Know' by the frontman of the libertarian rap/metal band BackWordz hits all the main issues libertarians care about in four-and-a-half minutes. From the out-of-control national debt to government extortion through taxation, July ... hits on how both major parties are warmongers that exploit their constituents through pandering to gain power and then turn their backs on the same people who put them in office....

2. "F[*]ck the Police" by N.W.A. This classic protest anthem against police brutality speaks on everything from abuse of power by the police department to racial profiling..... The song resulted in N.W.A. being put on the FBI watch list and their album 'Straight Outta Compton' being banned from airplay by some radio stations.

3. "Changes" by 2Pac. This tune is a deep one, covering a wide range of issues which are important to those of us who care about personal liberty – from the broken communities created by the Welfare State to the federal government’s war on drugs. He speaks on America’s terrible foreign policy while the black community hurts. He also speaks on the need for prison reform and how “We the People” need to learn to practice a little more love and understanding when dealing with each other....

4. "Jesus Walks" by Kanye West ... talks about people struggling day to day in the ghetto, trying to survive their own hell from personal struggles to the problems facing the community at large created by bad economic policy.... Mr. West talks about how Jesus loves everyone no matter who they are and where they come from. He even takes a stab at media censorship, talking about how his record won’t get played in the mainstream for mentioning Jesus.

5. "Good Cop, Bad Cop" by Ice Cube. Much like 'F[*]ck the Police' by N.W.A., this bagging beat shines a spotlight on police brutality and the wrongful incarceration of citizens by corrupted law enforcement. Ice Cube explained in an interview with Bill Maher that his song was not anti-police, but instead was an appeal to ... turn in the bad cops who are causing his community to hate the police....

"All these jams address problems that lovers of liberty care about in a raw and uncensored way that only hip hop can. This alone should command the attention of anyone who wants freedom to reign in their hood."

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