A response to law professor Peter Sankoff‘s Twitter thread led me to an article about the Alberta legal case MEAD V. MEAD. It describes reasoning of the sort employed by freedumb protesters of 2022, a collection of individuals who support exercises of authority only if those uphold preferred dogmas.
Associate Chief Justice Rooke of the Alberta Court of Queen’s Bench issued Meads v. Meads, a very unusual, and arguably unprecedented, 736-paragraph decision. [It] responded to a collection of unorthodox documents and arguments advanced by the husband, Dennis Larry Meads. He purported to name the case management justice his fiduciary, unilaterally imposed a scheme of fines on anyone who would interact with him or use his name, and detailed a contract between himself and himself… Needless to say, this was all nonsense.
Nevertheless, this was not unique nonsense, and so the Court responded to Mr. Meads with a decision that compiled over a decade of Canadian jurisprudence, American academic research, and the Court’s own encounters with persons who held beliefs parallel to those of Meads. Meads described and refuted a collection of concepts grouped under a novel label: “Organized Pseudolegal Commercial Arguments” (OPCA).
These ideas are pseudolaw, a collection of motifs that sound like law and often involve legal terminology, but which lead to legally incorrect results. Most pseudolaw is designed to defeat or bypass state, police, court, and institutional authority.
…Meads is that most exotic of creatures — a court judgment read by the public for educational and informational purposes. Maclean’s magazine described Meads as a “Court decision with a cult following.” 6 Any Internet search will identify Meads referenced in a diverse range of online forums. This decision has become a principal reference for academics, and is also cited as a restatement for broader principles of law...
Mead v. Mead will be cited again as arrested blockaders defend themselves in court against a variety of charges. But Postmedia newspapers will be more sympathetic to Meads’ nonsense than they were seven years ago:
Politicians devoid of principles exacerbate the stupidity seen on Canadian streets. Many Conservatives support protesters so they share responsibility for ugly acts. I wonder if demonstrators spitting at news people were encouraged by RCMP officers who arrested journalists improperly, ripped off face masks so pepper spray could be directed onto uncovered faces of victims, and then lied about the actions.
Alison Creekside’s list had me wondering if demonstrators blockaded White Rock’s Marine Drive, established occupation camps on the waterfront promenade and blocked trains full of American thermal coal headed for export through BC ports, would Conservative Kerry-Lynne Findlay be there to the applaud the exercise of freedom?
No, right-wing support for civil unrest is not about citizen rights to free expression. It is about the hope of gaining political advantage and, more importantly, political power. In the aftermath of World War I, a small group of Germans had similar ideas. They fostered instability and encouraged fears and frustrations.
Anti-democratic moves ultimately led to economic destruction, genocide that killed vast numbers, and six years of intense warfare that eliminated directly and indirectly about three percent of the world’s population, up to eight-five million souls.
It is sad that in 2022, Canada’s second largest political party has stopped believing in community responsibilities and cooperation, mutual respect between individuals, the rule of law, and democracy itself.