Right to self-defence? Nope

Since the reign of Pierre Trudeau, the notion that people are simply wards of the state has grown. For any problem, we turn to government to solve it.

Even supposed conservatives like Stephen Harper preach the gospel of central planning and Keynesian economics. The government grows larger every day, while our liberties decline proportionally. It is a zero sum game.

This hopeless dependency on the state is beginning to affect other aspects of Canadian life outside of the economy, backed by an apathetic public that is not willing to say enough is enough. I am speaking of the gradual elimination of each and every Canadian’s right to self-defence.

Recently, the farmhouse of Ian Thompson of Port Colbourne, Ontario came under attack by three masked men. They threw upwards of six Molotov cocktails in an attempt to burn him alive inside his own house.

Thompson grabbed a revolver and shot in the direction of the attackers to scare them away. After he turned his security camera tapes over to the police, they charged him with pointing a firearm and two counts of careless storage of a firearm. They then proceeded to seize his guns from his home — his private property. The Crown has asked for jail time.

The cases, however, don’t end there. Bobby Knight, an Albertan farmer, confronted three burglars on his farm. Two of them fled, but the third stole his All-Terrain Vehicle (ATV). Knight chased him down in his truck and forced him off the road. As the suspect fled the scene, Knight shot his shotgun in the air and the thief was struck by pellets in the leg. Knight held the thief until the police arrived. He was charged with seven criminal charges, including assault, criminal negligence causing bodily harm and dangerous driving. The thief is set to serve a 30-day sentence; Knight faces up to ten years in jail.

The police have come out in favour of such prosecutions by linking the right to self-defence to “vigilante justice.” This is patently absurd. People aren’t roaming the streets in gangs looking for criminals to beat down. Nor do many people outside the mental asylum aspire to be Batman.

People simply want the ability to defend themselves and their property from harm; it isn’t about suppressing crime or extracting vengeance.
Ian Thompson correctly put it that the choice for him would have been to be in a body bag or dragged in front of a court. No Canadian should have to make that choice.

Canadians have delegated their defence to the police, but this does not mean we have absolved ourselves of the right to defend ourselves. This is all the more important because the government isn’t particularly good at anything it does, including the police protecting the citizenry from harm, though the cops are effective at rounding up unarmed protesters en masse.

This is largely a function of poor policy choices by federal and provincial governments. The police are entrusted with more than just our security. They are also tasked with enforcing a logically baseless nanny state, whether it’s arresting kids for smoking pot, enforcing an unenforceable ban on cell phone use while driving or implementing soon-to-be-established mandatory breathalyzer testing.
And with all these extra duties, Canada ranks 19 out of 23 developed nations in number of police on the street — 23 per cent fewer than Great Britain, according to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The simple fact is the police are stretched to the limit and, especially for those isolated in the countryside, are too few and far between to provide assistance. It is simply wrong to expect people like Ian Thompson to sit by and watch his house burn knowing the police were nowhere nearby. He had to take action.

There is a two-fold solution to this problem. First, fund the police properly by bringing Canada in line with the OECD average amongst developed nations. The money for this can be found, plus some, by scrapping Harper’s costly and illogical “tough-on-crime” policies, including his doubling of the corrections budget. It will also require us to roll back the excesses of the nanny state, including ending the War on Drugs. This would ensure the police are properly funded and have more time to do what they are supposed to do: serve and protect.

Secondly, it is also necessary to entrench the ability of citizens to defend themselves. A good first step is the recently proposed citizen’s arrest legislation proposed by the Conservatives that appears to have multi-partisan support. What is also needed is legislation to send a message to Crown prosecutors and police that citizens have the inalienable right to defend themselves: the “Castle Doctrine.”

Found in many American states, this would allow people to use potentially deadly force to defend their residence and those inside it from violent attack, or intrusion that might lead to violent attack.

It is a sad state of affairs in this country when those inside the justice system need to be reminded of one of its founding principles: that of self defence. The march towards big government is robbing us of more than our prosperity and liberty, but our security as well.

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