It has been said that “Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty,” and 2008 was no exception for Canadian friends of liberty.
Many Canadians worked hard in 2008 to fight the advance of big government and the erosion of economic and personal liberty. Some worked in relative obscurity in their own communities, while others were high profile or filled leadership roles in prestigious organizations – but all were important.
The Western Standard is putting the finishing touches on “Liberty 100,” a list of 100 Canadians who distinguished themselves in 2008, or over a lifetime, in the defence of liberty. Creating the “Liberty 100” list wasn’t difficult. Ranking the 100 friends of liberty who made this list according to the significance of their contribution has, however, been extremely difficult. The “Liberty 100” will be released soon, but we need your help. Below is our Top 10 list, but we are asking our readers to let us know who they think deserves to be recognized for their contribution to economic or personal liberty.
“Liberty 100” Top 10 list:
1. Ezra Levant
The issue that dominated 2008 was the attack on freedom of speech and expression by human rights commissions across Canada, and Ezra Levant was at the centre of this issue as a pro-free speech newsmaker, advocate, lawyer and blogger. Levant has written “Shakedown: How Our Government is Undermining Democracy in the Name of Human Rights.” His single-minded defence of free speech makes him the Western Standard’s choice for the #1 spot on our Liberty 100 list for 2008.
2. Dr. Michael Walker
The Fraser Institute
Dr. Michael Walker is a senior fellow of The Fraser Institute and president of the Institute’s Foundation. He served as executive director of The Fraser Institute from its establishment in 1974 until 2005. He has done more in his lifetime to advance economic liberty than any other Canadian.
3. Marc Emery
Marc Emery is the Vancouver-based publisher of Cannabis Culture magazine and an internationally recognized opponent of drug prohibition. He faces a possible lifetime in an US prison for openly selling marijuana seeds, should he lose his extradition hearing scheduled for early this year.
4. Mark Mullins
Mark Mullins is executive director of The Fraser Institute, Canada’s largest and most important free market think tank. His efforts and the work of the Institute are essential to the freedom movement.
5. Peter Jaworski
Institute for Liberal Studies
Peter Jaworski is editor of the Western Standard, executive director of the Institute for Liberal Studies and the organizer of the annual Liberty Summer Seminar, an event that has energized the pro-liberty youth movement. He is Canada’s most important and prominent libertarian activist.
6. John Williamson
Manning Centre for Building Democracy
John Williamson is a Manning Centre for Building Democracy fellow and outgoing federal director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation, resigning in 2008 for academic pursuits. Williamson continues to keep pressure on the Harper Conservatives to reduce taxes and government spending.
7. Peter Holle
Frontier Centre for Public Policy
Peter Holle is the founding president of the Frontier Centre for Public Policy. He is a consistent advocate for policy reforms that enhance personal and economic freedom.
8. Dennis Young
Dennis Young is leader of the Libertarian Party. A veteran of NATO operations in Bosnia, Young’s personal experience as a soldier has made him a capable and credible advocate for a libertarian non-interventionist foreign policy. His law enforcement background has also made him an effective critic of the war on drugs.
9. Mark Steyn
Mark Steyn is an internationally recognized columnist and the author of “America Alone.” Excerpts from “American Alone” published in Maclean’s magazine were the subject of a human rights complaint, which Steyn and Maclean’s successfully fought. Steyn has put Canada’s struggle for free speech in the international spotlight.
10. Jean-Serge Brisson
Ontario Libertarian Party
Jean-Serge Brisson is former leader of the Libertarian Party who made news in 2008 by winning his personal court case against the mandatory bilingual sign bylaw in Russell, Ontario. He was also sentenced to 90 days in prison for his ongoing refusal to wear a seatbelt while driving. He is currently serving his time on weekends.
Congratulations to the “Liberty 100” Top 10 – and thank you for your work in the defence of liberty.
Among the “Liberty 100” Top 50 for 2008:
27. Mark Milke
Frontier Centre for Public Policy
Mark Milke is director of research with the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, an author and a lecturer in political science at the University of Calgary.
Stay tuned for the complete “Liberty 100.”