Oligarchical despotism

Most of our large banks have operations in the United States…

How many American banks have operations in Canada?

How many American telecom players operate in Canada?

How many American dairy producers have access to the Canadian market or vice versa?

How is political power concentrated in Canada versus the American system?

What are the barriers to entry in the Canadian market versus the American market?

How competitive is the Canadian market versus the American market?

Oligarchical despotism is a form of governance characterized by a small group of powerful individuals or families, known as an oligarchy, who hold effective control over a society or state. In this system, the ruling elite often exercises despotic or tyrannical power, often serving their own interests at the expense of the broader population.

— The Family Compact, a network of influential individuals in Upper Canada during the early to mid-1800s, epitomized oligarchical despotism. These loyalists monopolized political, economic, and social power and set the stage for the framework that would govern Canadian society in the future. Their control extended over legislative, bureaucratic, and judicial realms, stifling democratic reform and responsible government.

Originating from political appointments made to unelected branches of government — something Canadian subjects certainly witness in abundance today — they upheld a hierarchical class structure favoring their interests. The Family Compact, characterized by close relations and preferential treatment, enforced loyalist ideology and resisted democratic influence.

Contrasting this historical oligarchical dominance to today, the top 87 wealthiest Canadian families each hold thousands of times more wealth than an average family. This concentration of wealth surpasses that of the bottom 12 million Canadians combined, highlighting the persistence of oligarchical structures albeit in a modern economic context.

COVID further exacerbated this gap, with Canadian billionaires growing their wealth by 51% since the pandemic began, while at the same time those in the bottom half of the income distribution saw their average total income decline by nearly 7%. Such disparity underscores a system wherein a select few maintain immense economic power to the detriment of the majority.

Key features of oligarchical despotism include:

Concentration of Power: Power is concentrated in the hands of a few individuals or families who control key institutions of the state, such as government, military, and economy. This concentration enables the ruling elite to make decisions unilaterally and without accountability.

— The Prime Minister and the Cabinet wield significant power in Canada’s political system, often at the expense of parliamentary oversight.This can lead to accusations of executive dominance and a lack of accountability. That the current office holder is part of a political dynasty of unilateral operators certainly doesn’t detract from the optics of tyranny.

The Prime Minister possesses certain prerogative powers, such as the authority to dissolve Parliament and call elections, as well as the power to appoint senators, judges, and thousands of other key officials including the head of state that supposedly restrains his office, all without the advice and consent of parliament.

Limited Political Participation: Oligarchical despotism typically restricts political participation and representation to a select few, excluding the majority from meaningful involvement. Elections, if they exist, may be manipulated to ensure the continued dominance of the ruling elite.

— Canada’s unilateral executive appointments, lack of direct election for the executive, absence of term limits, and executive control over election timing reduce citizens’ influence over government composition and policies. Without direct election, citizens have limited control over the executive, potentially leading to prolonged incumbency and a lack of fresh perspectives.

Executive control over election timing raises fairness concerns. Absence of subnational constitutions limits citizen rights assertion and subnational government accountability. Limited electoral choice further restricts citizen influence. These characteristics indicate a political system with limited citizen participation, input, and influence, raising concerns about democratic legitimacy, representation, and accountability across various government levels.

Suppression of Dissent: Opposition is often met with repression, censorship, or violence. Freedom of speech, assembly, and association may be severely curtailed to prevent challenges to the status quo.

— The court ruling on the government’s use of emergency powers to suppress the “Freedom Convoy” protests found it unreasonable and a violation of Charter rights, indicating governmental overreach. Prime Minister Trudeau’s use of emergency powers, including protester arrests and bank account freezes, coupled with plans to appeal the ruling, suggests a tendency to quash political dissent through legal avenues.

Additionally, Bill C-63’s proposal for civil penalties for hate speech, alongside existing criminal laws, not to mention its ex-post-facto provisions raises free speech concerns, potentially leading to self-censorship and stifling legitimate discourse. The history of misuse of hate speech complaints by the Canadian Human Rights Commission (CHRC), yet another body unilaterally appointed by the executive, highlights the risk of further suppression of dissent and infringement on free speech for political purposes. Financial incentives for complaints and subjective interpretations of hate speech exacerbate worries about curtailing free expression and association.

Corruption and Cronyism: Oligarchical despotism is characterized by widespread corruption and cronyism, where opportunities are reserved for those with ties to the ruling elite.

— With so many examples to choose from it’s hard to know where to begin on this front, but the SNC-Lavalin affair is as good as any. The RCMP’s investigation into the SNC-Lavalin affair faced obstacles due to limited access to crucial information, notably cabinet confidences, raising concerns about transparency and accountability. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s alleged attempt to influence legal matters undermines judicial independence and may serve political or corporate interests unfairly.

Partisan influences, evidenced by the adjournment of the parliamentary committee meeting, hinder accountability efforts and perpetuate a culture of impunity. The RCMP’s handling of the investigation, constrained by restricted information and perceived superficial examination, calls into question the integrity of law enforcement agencies. This situation highlights how corruption and cronyism thrive through opaque decision-making, political interference in legal proceedings, and the prioritization of partisan agendas over justice and accountability.

Suppression of Economic Freedom: Oligarchical despotism involves heavy government intervention in the economy, restricting economic freedom.

— Canada’s supply management system for egg, poultry, and dairy products illustrates the limitations on economic freedom through various factors. Price fixing and control hinder market responsiveness, leading to higher consumer prices and reduced choice. Protectionist measures shield domestic producers, stifling competition and innovation while maintaining incumbents’ dominance.

Regulatory capture by industry stakeholders perpetuates the system, disadvantaging consumers. The system’s inequitable impact disproportionately affects lower-income households, contradicting social welfare goals. Despite criticism, bipartisan political support and vested interests impede reform efforts, hindering market-oriented approaches. Overall, the system restricts economic freedom, distorts price signals, and perpetuates inefficiencies, detrimentally affecting consumers and societal welfare.

Distorted Price Signals: Price signals may be distorted due to government manipulation, leading to inefficient resource allocation.

— Canada’s single-payer health system, acting as a monopoly, distorts price signals by eliminating market competition. With the government as the sole insurer and controller of healthcare financing, there’s no competitive pressure on providers to innovate or control costs, while at the same time, many provinces sink a third of their budgets or more into financing them.

This lack of market dynamics can lead to arbitrary pricing decisions, inefficiencies, and limited patient choice. Patient outcomes are dead last among ‘developed’ countries on a wide variety of metrics while at the same time adverse effects and malpractice affect 1 in 4 users over their lifetime and remains the third leading cause of death.

Without the feedback mechanism of competitive pricing, resources may be misallocated, leading to underinvestment in certain areas and overutilization in others. As a result, the system may struggle to adapt to changing healthcare needs and advances in medical technology, impacting both quality of care and cost-effectiveness.

Rent-Seeking Behavior: The concentration of power creates opportunities for rent-seeking behavior, diverting resources away from productive uses.

— Rent-seeking behavior in the Canadian economy is evident in various forms, hindering innovation and economic growth. Canada’s sluggish GDP growth, coupled with stalled productivity, reflects a persistent lack of innovation and weak competitiveness. Instead of fostering a competitive environment, government policies often cater to specific industries through regulations, tariffs, and subsidies, shielding them from competition. This reliance on government protection fosters a business environment where firms seek favors rather than competing on merit.

Consequently, Canada experiences a loss of business dynamism, with fewer new firms entering the market and leading corporations losing global competitiveness. To address this, Canada needs to reevaluate its public policies, prioritizing competition, innovation, and entrepreneurship over rent-seeking behavior and protectionism. Such a shift is essential for fostering economic growth and ensuring long-term prosperity.

Barriers to Entry: Oligarchical despotism erects barriers to entry in the marketplace, protecting incumbent firms and stifling competition.

— Barriers to entry in the Canadian economy are substantial, with the country ranking high in terms of regulations and restrictions on foreign investment. The OECD’s Product Market Regulation and FDI restrictiveness indices highlight Canada’s position as one of the most regulated and restrictive economies. These barriers include limitations on foreign businesses, state-owned monopolies, and explicit regulations limiting competition.

Industries such as air transportation, telecommunications, and agriculture face significant restrictions, hindering competition and innovation. Conservative estimates suggest that over one-third of the Canadian economy is shielded from competition, suppressing incentives for productivity and innovation. Removing these barriers could significantly enhance productivity growth and improve living standards for Canadians.

The deliberate increase in immigration levels by the current government amidst the pandemic, despite housing market constraints, benefited specific groups, particularly those involved in housing investment, while exacerbating socioeconomic challenges. Homeowners, leveraging their properties through reverse mortgages, reap profits, consolidating wealth and power while working-class families are displaced and young individuals remain unable to afford homeownership.

Such policies reflect a manipulation of governmental policy for self-interest, fostering corruption and collusion. By exploiting vulnerable populations and widening socioeconomic gaps, this underscores the oligarchical nature of Canadian governance, wherein a select elite perpetuates its dominance at the expense of the well-being of the populace, using a pandemic in order to solidify power and tilt the scales towards their favor.

Canada’s reliance on unchecked immigration and temporary foreign workers has not only exploited vulnerable workers but has depressed wages for low-skilled workers, amplifying the wealth chasm between the affluent and the working class. The prioritization of business interests over worker welfare has eroded governmental accountability, shielding elites from scrutiny.

Ill-planned immigration has served to exacerbate urbanization and housing crises, reinforcing policies favoring corporate interests over social cohesion, neglecting immigrant and citizen welfare alike.

The prevalence of oligarchical despotism in Canada, characterized by concentrated power, limited political participation, suppression of dissent, corruption, and economic restrictions, has profound implications for the nation’s governance, economy and future. Historical precedents, such as the Family Compact, illustrate the enduring nature of elite control, regardless of supposed partisan involvement, over Canadian society and institutions.

Contemporary manifestations of oligarchical dominance, exemplified by the concentration of wealth among a select few, further exacerbate socioeconomic disparities, particularly highlighted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The manipulation of governmental powers, as seen in policies favoring specific groups at the expense of the broader populace, underscores the oligarchical nature of Canadian governance.

Moreover, the distortion of market forces through monopolistic privileges enjoyed by entities like crown corporations and the healthcare system impedes competition and innovation, hindering economic growth and prosperity for all Canadians. Barriers to entry in the marketplace, rent-seeking behavior, and distorted price signals perpetuate inefficiencies and stifle entrepreneurial spirit.

The maple syrup is sweet, but it’s all aboot where you live, who you know and who you’re related to. Since 1867 Canada exists, not as a country, but as a proprietary colony — a exercise in racketeering vis a vis the American market — created primarily to serve as a protection racket for the benefit of a handful of oligarchical interests, to insulate them from any ‘dangers’ a broader competitive marketplace might present.

Ultimately, oligarchical despotism contradicts the principles of a free market economy, where voluntary exchange, competition, and individual freedom are paramount. Instead of fostering prosperity for all, it consolidates wealth and power in the hands of a privileged few, perpetuating socioeconomic inequalities and hampering the well-being of the broader population. Thus, addressing these systemic issues is crucial for ensuring a more prosperous future for Canadians.

“Fed Chair Powell delivers remarks at the Washington Forum on the Canadian economy”, April 16, 2024. https://www.youtube.com/live/QqwuXkUUJwc

Ran Away


From the subscriber, Daniel Craney, a black man, a regular indented servant, whoever is found harbouring or employing the said Daniel, will be prosecuted to the utmost rigour of the law – he is between 40 and 50 years of age, of middle stature and stout made. Whoever will bring the said man back, shall be handsomely rewarded for their trouble. James Norris. Fort Ellis, Nov. 6.

Acadian Recorder, 2 December 1815, Volume 3 Number 49. https://archives.novascotia.ca/newspapers/archives/?ID=906&Page=201113611

Securities And Exchange Commission: Annual Report Of Province Of Nova Scotia, 1997

An interesting document for a number of reasons. What stood out to me most of all was the proviso regarding Quebec secession. The specter of Quebec separation clearly did a number on the other provinces, who had to decide what they would do in such a scenario. Perhaps this is especially true of the Atlantic provinces, who would be cut off from the rest of Canada, and who might not have the resources and economy to survive on their own. Then there’s Quebec’s generally expansionist stance both physically, culturally and ideologically within Canada over the years, which seems to come in fits and starts.

Most recently, you can see it at work in a logo put forth by the Bloc Quebecois.

“Bloc Québécois Leader Yves-François Blanchet addressed supporters of Quebec’s federal sovereignty party on Sunday, speaking at a podium adorned with a map that removed the border between Quebec and Labrador, making it look as if it were all Quebec.”


This kind of taunting continues, recently more overt. To be sure, this messaging isn’t by accident.

Screenshot 2024 04 07 113006

Quebec separation is an issue which comes up time and again, and if current polling holds true into the future, might present itself yet again as the impetus for serious constitutional change for points to the east.

“As a province of Canada, Nova Scotia could be affected by political events in another province. For instance, on September 7, 1995, the Government of Quebec presented a Bill to the National Assembly entitled An Act respecting the future of Quebec (the “Act”) that included, among others, provisions authorizing the National Assembly to proclaim the sovereignty of Quebec. The Act was to be enacted only following a favorable vote in a referendum. Such a referendum was held on October 30, 1995. The results were 49.4% in favor and 50.6% against.

In 1996, the Government of Canada, by way of reference to the Supreme Court of Canada (the “Supreme Court”), asked the court to determine the legality of a unilateral secession of the Province of Quebec from Canada, either under the Canadian Constitution or international law. On August 20, 1998, the Supreme Court of Canada ruled that the Province of Quebec did not have the unilateral right of secession, and that any proposal to secede authorized by a clear majority in response to a clear question in the referendum should be construed as a proposal to amend the Constitution, which would require negotiations. These negotiations would have to deal with a wide array of issues, such as the interest of the other provinces, the Federal Government, the Province of Quebec, and the rights of all Canadians both within and outside the Province of Quebec, and specifically, the rights of minorities, including Aboriginal peoples.”

Province of Nova Scotia, 2017. “FORM 18-K For Foreign Government and Political Subdivisions Thereof SECURITIES AND EXCHANGE COMMISSION Washington, D.C. 20549 ANNUAL REPORT Of PROVINCE OF NOVA SCOTIA CANADA (Name of Registrant) Date of end of last fiscal year: March 31, 2017” https://novascotia.ca/finance/PDFs/Form-18-K-2017.pdf

“On the Nature of Sovereignty”

I don’t agree with Webster’s conclusion, that the Constitution isn’t a compact between sovereign states, but I do certainly agree with his feelings in terms of the unsuitability of monarchy and European forms of governance anywhere on this continent—that the source of all political power is the people, that it is they who bestow sovereignty on State governments and through them, the sovereignty and legitimacy of the Nation itself, which is its safeguard.

Daniel Webster Photograph edited

“Mr. President, the nature of sovereignty or sovereign power has been extensively discussed by gentlemen on this occasion, as it generally is when the origin of our government is debated. But I confess myself not entirely satisfied with arguments and illustrations drawn from that topic. The sovereignty of government is an idea belonging to the other side of the Atlantic.

No such thing is known in North America. Our governments are all limited. In Europe, sovereignty is of feudal origin, and imports no more than the state of the sovereign. It comprises his rights, duties, exemptions, prerogatives, and powers.

But with us, all power is with the people. They alone are sovereign; and they erect what governments they please, and confer on them such powers as they please.

None of these governments is sovereign, in the European sense of the word, all being restrained by written constitutions. It seems to me, therefore, that we only perplex ourselves when we attempt to explain the relations existing between the general government and the several State governments according to those ideas of sovereignty which prevail under systems essentially different from our own.” —Daniel Webster



Nova Scotia Constitutional Timeline

An expanded version of what’s put forth by the Nova Scotia legislature.

1493 – May 4, Alexander VI, Pope of Rome, issued a bull, granting the New World. Spain laid claim to the entire North American Coast from Cape Florida to Cape Breton, as part of its territory of Bacalaos.

1496 – March 5, Henry VII, King of England issued a commission to John Cabot and his sons to search for an unknown land

1498 – March 5,  Letters Patents of King Henry the Seventh Granted unto John Cabot and his Three Sonnes, Lewis, Sebastian and Sancius for the “Discouerie of New and Unknowen Lands”

1502 – Henry VII commissioned Hugh Eliot and Thomas Ashurst to discover and take possession of the islands and continents in America; “and in his name and for his use, as his vassals, to enter upon, doss, conquer, govern, and hold any Mainland or Islands by them discovered.”

1524 – Francis I, King of France, said that he should like to see the clause in Adam’s will, which made the American continent the exclusive possession of his brothers of Spain and Portugal, is said to have sent out Verrazzano, a Florentine corsair, who, as has generally been believed, explored the entire coast from 30° to 50° North Latitude, and named the whole region New France.

1534 – King Francis commissioned Jacques Cartier to discover and take possession of Canada; “his successive voyages, within the six years following, opened the whole region of St. Lawrence and laid the foundation of French dominion on this continent.”

1578 – June 11, Letters patent granted by Elizabeth, Queen of England to Sir Humphrey Gilbert, knight, for “the inhabiting and planting of our people in America”.

1584 – March 25, Queen Elizabeth renewed Gilbert’s grant to Sir Walter Raleigh, his half-brother. Under this commission, Raleigh made an unsuccessful attempt to plant an English colony in Virginia, a name afterwards extended to the whole North Coast of America in honor of the “Virgin” Queen.

1603 – November 8, Henry IV, King of France, granted Sieur de Monts a royal patent conferring the possession of and sovereignty of the country between latitudes 40° and 46° (from Philadelphia as far north as Katahdin and Montreal). Samuel Champlain, geographer to the King, accompanied De Monts on his voyage, landing at the site of Liverpool, N.S., a region already known as “Acadia.”

1606 – April 10, King James claimed the whole of North America between 34° and 45° North latitude, granting it to the Plymouth and London Companies. This entire territory was placed under the management of one council, the Royal Council for Virginia. The Northern Colony encompassed the area from 38° to 45° North latitude.

1620 – November 3, Reorganization of the Plymouth Company in 1620 as the Council of Plymouth for New England, encompassing from 40° to 48° North latitude.

1621 – September 29, Charter granted to Sir William Alexander for Nova Scotia

1625 – July 12, A grant of the soil, barony, and domains of Nova Scotia to Sir Wm. Alexander of Minstrie

1630 – April 30, Conveyance of Nova-Scotia (Port-royal excepted) by Sir William Alexander to Sir Claude St. Etienne Lord of la Tour and of Uarre and to his son Sir Charles de St. Etienne Lord of St. Denniscourt, on condition that they continue subjects to the king of Scotland under the great seal of Scotland.

1632 – March 29, Treaty between King Louis XIII. and Charles King of England for the restitution of the New France, Cadia and Canada and ships and goods taken from both sides. Made in Saint Germain

1638 – Grant to Charnesay and La Tour

1654 – August 16, Capitulation of Port-Royal

1656 – August 9, A grant by Cromwell to Sir Charles de Saint Etienne, a baron of Scotland, Crowne and Temple

1667 – July 31, The treaty of peace and alliance between England and the United Provinces made at Breda

1668 – February 17, Act of cession of Acadia to the King of France

1689 – English Bill of Rights enacted

1691, October 7, A charter granted by king William and Queen Mary to the inhabitants of the province of Massachusetts Bay, in New England

1713 – March 31, Treaty of peace and friendship between Louis XIV. King of France, and Anne, Queen of Great Britain, made in Utrecht

1713 – April 11, Treaty of navigation and commerce between Louis XIV, king of France, and Anne, Queen of Great Britain

1719 – June 19, Commission to Richard Philips to be Governor (including a copy of the 1715 Instructions given to the Governor of Virginia, by which he was to conduct himself)

1725 – August 26, Explanatory Charter of Massachusetts Bay

1725 – December 15, A treaty with the Indians (Peace and Friendship Treaty, ratification at Annapolis)

1727 – July 25, Ratification at Casco Bay of the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1725

1728 – May 13, Ratification at Annapolis Royal of the Peace and Friendship Treaty of 1725

1748, October 7–18, The general and definitive treaty of peace concluded at Aix-la-Chapelle

1749 – September 4, Renewal of the Peace and Friendship treaty of 1725

1752 – November 22, Treaty between Thomas Hopson, Governor in Chief in and over His Majesty’s Province of Nova Scotia and Major Jean Baptiste Cope, Chief Sachem of the Tribe of the MickMack Indians inhabiting the Eastern Coast…

1758 – Nova Scotia Legislature established (consisting of the Lieutenant Governor, his Council and the newly established, elected legislative assembly called the House of Assembly)

1760 – March, Treaty of Peace and Friendship concluded by the Governor of Nova Scotia with Paul Laurent, Chief of the La Heve tribe of Indians

1761 – November 9, Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Jonathon Belcher and Francis Muis

1763 – February 10, France ceded, for the last time, the rest of Acadia, including Cape Breton Island (‘île Royale), the future New Brunswick and St John’s Island (later re-named Prince Edward Island), to British (Treaty of Paris) and it was joined to Nova Scotia

1763 – October 7, Royal Proclamation

1769 – Prince Edward Island established as a colony separate from Nova Scotia

1779 – September 22, Treaty signed at Windsor between John Julien, Chief and Michael Francklin, representing the Government of Nova Scotia

1784 – Cape Breton Island and New Brunswick established as colonies separate from Nova Scotia

1820 – Cape Breton Island re-joined to Nova Scotia

1838 – Separate Executive Council and Legislative Council established

1848 – Responsible government established in Nova Scotia (Members of the legislature had the ability to elect a majority of those in the Legislative council)

1867 – “Union” of provinces of Canada, New Brunswick and Nova Scotia as the “self-governing” federal colony of the Dominion of Canada (British North America Act, 1867 — now known in Canada as Constitution Act, 1867) & the Parliament of Canada established (consisting of the Queen, the Senate and the House of Commons)

1928 – Abolition of the Legislative Council (leaving the Legislature consisting of the Lieutenant Governor and the House of Assembly)

1931 – Canadian independence legally recognized (Statute of Westminster, 1931)

1960 – Canadian Bill of Rights enacted

1982 – patriation of the amendment of the Constitution of Canada & adoption of the Constitution Act, 1982, including the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms (Canada Act 1982)

Jefferson, Thomas. Notes on the State of Virginia. J. Stockdale, 1787. https://tile.loc.gov/storage-services/service/gdc/lhbcb/04902/04902.pdf

Legislature of the State of Maine. “The Revised Statutes of the State of Maine, Passed August 29, 1883, and Taking Effect January 1,1884.”, Portland, Loring, Short & Harmon and William M. Marks. 1884. https://lldc.mainelegislature.org/Open/RS/RS1883/RS1883_f0005-0017_Land_Titles.pdf

Kennedy, William P. Statutes, Treaties and Documents of the Canadian Constitution: 1713-1929. Oxford Univ. Pr., 1930. https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.9_03428

Harvard Law School Library. “Description Legislative history regarding treaties of commerce with France, Spain relating to New Foundland, Nova Scotia, and Cape Breton,” ca. 1715? Small Manuscript Collection, Harvard Law School Library. https://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HLS.LIBR:19686447, Accessed 07 June 2021

Thorpe, Francis Newton. “The Federal and State constitutions: colonial charters, and other organic laws of the States, territories, and Colonies, now or heretofore forming the United States of America” Washington : Govt. Print. Off. 1909. https://archive.org/details/federalstatecons07thor/page/n5/mode/2up

Murdoch, Beamish. “Epitome of the laws of Nova-Scotia” [Halifax, N.S.? : s.n.], 1832 (Halifax, N.S. : J. Howe) Volume One: https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.59437, Volume Two: https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.59438, Volume Three: https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.59439, Volume Four: https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.59440

Marshall, John G. “The justice of the peace, and county and township officer in the province of Nova Scotia : being a guide to such justice and officers in the discharge of their official duties” [Halifax, N.S.? : s.n.], 1837 (Halifax [N.S.] : Gossip & Coade) https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.36869, Second Edition: https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.38224

Livingston, Walter Ross. Responsible Government In Nova Scotia: a Study of the Constitutional Beginnings of the British Commonwealth. Iowa City: The University, 1930. https://hdl.handle.net/2027/wu.89080043730https://archive.org/details/responsiblegover0000livi

Bourinot, John George. “The constitution of the Legislative Council of Nova Scotia” [S.l. : s.n., 1896?] https://archive.org/details/cihm_10453/page/141, https://www.canadiana.ca/view/oocihm.10453/14?r=0&s=1

Laing, David, editor. “Royal letters, charters, and tracts, relating to the colonization of New Scotland, and the institution of the Order of knight baronets of Nova Scotia. -1638“. [Edinburgh Printed by G. Robb, 1867] https://archive.org/details/royallettersc11400lainuoft

Labaree, Leonard Woods. “Royal Instructions to British Colonial Governors 1670–1776“. Vol. I and Vol. II. The American Historical Association. (New York : D. Appleton-Century Company, 1935) https://archive.org/details/royalinstruction0001laba, https://archive.org/details/royalinstruction0002laba

Beamish Murdoch, “On the origin and sources of the Law of Nova Scotia” (An essay on the Origin and Sources of the Law of Nova Scotia read before the Law Students Society, Halifax, N.S., 29 August 1863), (1984) 8:3 DLJ 197. https://digitalcommons.schulichlaw.dal.ca/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1399&context=dlj

Shirley B. Elliott, “An Historical Review of Nova Scotia Legal Literature: a select bibliography”, Comment, (1984) 8:3 DLJ 197. https://digitalcommons.schulichlaw.dal.ca/dlj/vol8/iss3/12/

Legitimacy, or otherwise, of the BNA

Is the BNA illegitimate? Let these facts speak for themselves.

  1. The members of the Legislative Assembly elected in 1863 were only authorized to legislate under the Colonial Constitution and had no authority to make significant changes to it without first obtaining the people’s consent through a vote.
  2. The resolution of April 10, 1867, which preceded the enactment of the British North America Act, was the only authority possessed by the delegates who procured the Act, and it did not empower them to arrange a federal union without including Newfoundland and Prince Edward Island.
  3. The delegation was not legally constituted, as it did not have equal representation from each colony as required by the resolution.
  4. The delegates did not ensure just provision for the rights and interests of Nova Scotia, as mandated by the resolution, and the proposed union would deprive Nova Scotians of their rights, liberty, and independence, furthermore it would expose them to arbitrary and excessive taxation, by a Legislature over which they can have no adequate control.
  5. The scheme of confederation was never submitted to the people of Nova Scotia for their approval before it came into effect, which the resolutions argue is essential for its constitutionality.
  6. The resolutions express dissatisfaction with the way Confederation was forced upon Nova Scotia without their consent and against their will.
  7. The people of Nova Scotia expressed loyalty to the Queen and her government but requested the repeal of the British North America Act as it pertains to Nova Scotia and asked for the revocation of the Queen’s Proclamation regarding Confederation.

Wilkins examines the unique constitutional situation of Nova Scotia, which was granted a constitution by King George II, further developed by his successors on the English throne. Despite its effectiveness, the constitution had some deficiencies, notably the lack of a court for impeaching and punishing political offenders.

He expresses a preference for Nova Scotia’s constitution, molded after British monarchy, which he sees as superior despite acknowledging the United States’ constitutional craftsmanship. The speaker then shifts focus to contrasting Confederation with Canada, which he finds “hateful and detestable”. He argues that joining the United States would afford Nova Scotia more freedom and self-governance than being part of Canada’s oligarchical system.

He highlights the loss of Nova Scotia’s freedom under the British North America Act, which gives Canada extensive power to tax Nova Scotia arbitrarily. He criticizes the lack of control Nova Scotia has over Canada’s legislature, with only 19 out of 253 members representing Nova Scotia at the time, since dwindling to 11 out of 338 members.

He concludes by asserting Nova Scotia’s right to preserve its own constitution, which he claims belongs to the people of Nova Scotia and cannot be taken away by the Parliament of England. He argues that Nova Scotia has never been legally confederated with Canada and asserts that it is up to Nova Scotia to decide its future regarding Confederation.

Speeches delivered by Hon. Martin I. Wilkins, (attorney general) in the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, session 1868, on resolutions relative to repeal of the “British North America Act, 1867”. Wilkins, Martin I. (Martin Isaac), 1804-1881. https://archive.org/details/cihm_23507

On the Nature of a Colonial Constitution

What was Nova Scotia’s colonial constitution?

According to Hon. Martin I. Wilkins, attorney general at the time of the imposition of the BNA, Nova Scotia possessed a chartered constitution, irrevocable except through force. Nova Scotia, once known as Acadia, was possessed by both the French and English, ultimately becoming British territory after a conquest and subsequent cession by Louis XIV to Queen Anne in 1713.

The treaty of Utrecht solidified Nova Scotia’s status as belonging to the British Crown “forever.” This grant to Queen Anne is emphasized as absolute ownership, surpassing typical property titles. Wilkins argues that neither the people nor the Parliament of England had jurisdiction over Nova Scotia at that time; it belonged solely to the Queen and her heirs.

In 1747, under George II, a patent was issued to Lord Cornwallis, granting Nova Scotia a constitution. This constitution mimicked Britain’s, establishing a Governor, Council (Senate), and House of Assembly. Wilkins highlights the power vested in Cornwallis to summon general assemblies and enact laws for the province’s welfare, emphasizing the constitution’s permanence.

However, subsequent governors delayed convening the Legislative Assembly, preferring to govern through the Council. In 1755, Nova Scotians protested, arguing that only the House of Assembly could enact laws under the granted charter. The matter was referred to England, where Attorney and Solicitor Generals affirmed that the Governor and Council alone lacked authority to make laws for the colony.

The irrevocability of the charter is underscored, with a comparison drawn to a similar case in Grenada (now known as Cambell v Hall). After issuing a commission similar to Cornwallis’, the King attempted to impose taxes on Grenada, leading to a legal challenge. The Court of King’s Bench, led by Lord Mansfield, ruled that the King had relinquished legislative authority over Grenada upon issuing the commission, thus invalidating the taxes.

Wilkins asserts that Nova Scotia’s charter is binding and immutable, having been granted by the Crown. The legal precedents cited affirm that once such charters are granted, the Crown relinquishes legislative authority, making any subsequent attempts to impose laws or taxes illegitimate.

Speeches delivered by Hon. Martin I. Wilkins, (attorney general) in the House of Assembly of Nova Scotia, session 1868, on resolutions relative to repeal of the “British North America Act, 1867”. Wilkins, Martin I. (Martin Isaac), 1804-1881. https://archive.org/details/cihm_23507

Sovereign Citizens

Be alert when you hear “sovereign citizen”, it’s a very specific term that both the RCMP and FBI used to identify those who wish to operate outside the mechanisms of the state.

To them, it refers to those who believe “courts have no jurisdiction over people, that the use of certain procedures (such as writing specific phrases on bills they do not want to pay) or loopholes can make one immune to government laws and regulations.” They create their own identification cards, their own States or nation states, they refuse to file taxes and generally don’t feel they are bound to any laws.

As with most things, there is a nugget of truth in the idea, at least in Canada.

In my opinion, agents of the state use this term purposefully in order to conflate “Sovereign citizens” with “Popular Sovereignty”, the idea that “the leaders of a state and its government are created and sustained by the consent of its people, who are the source of all political legitimacy”, in other words, the basis for all political power in the United States. It’s otherwise known as the “consent of the governed”, the same referred to in the Declaration of Independence.

Obviously that isn’t the case in Canada, never has been the case, and never will be the case under such a system as “constitutional monarchy”.

From the start Canada has been an imposition, it has operated as an inversion of the concept of popular sovereignty where “the people” are subjects, not involved in drafting, ratifying or implementing the constitution, where the laws are imposed by a caste of operators with a very specific set of political ideas (adherence to the “the crown” which they have now ruled is synonymous with the Canadian state, even though all the links that previously conveyed royal prerogative still exist), where the legitimization of villeinage and socage as “citizenship” appears to be the priority.

The arbitrary and ad hoc nature of “Canadian ‘democracy'” is best understood through those earlier feudal implementations, not through the American meaning and understanding of “democracy” or a republic, since we are still in a very real sense held as chattel under an 18th century British Whig interpretation of “representation”. It is the crown that is represented, not the people, the perfection of democracy is to be found in the total insulation of the people from political power, not in their participation.

So, in terms of the mechanics of the state, those “sovereign citizens” are on to something, in that Canada operates as if it were a proprietary colony, not as a “democracy” or nation state as we have all been told exists, in order to completely delegitimize the individual in terms of political power.

I don’t say this to suggest anyone refuses to file taxes, though tax protest movements are a legitimate way to thumb your nose at the legitimacy of the state. I don’t suggest anyone should believe those who say the courts have no jurisdiction, since you will find out in short order their sovereignty is absolute.

What I am saying is that there’s a purposeful sleight of hand used to confuse these two terms and the underlying concepts are key to understanding the road to serfdom, which no other nation on Earth might encapsulate better than “Canada”. The breadcrumb trail is there once you start pulling back the clumsy carpentry that’s been holding it together since 1867.


“The Canadian political system iceberg explained”

Well, nice dig at the outset of this video with the “communicated quite poorly” and the playful poke at the end about grasping the intricacies of the Canadian political system. Not sure what to think aboot that.

It’s striking how insistent JJ is on denying any royal connections, while Canada has conveniently left intact all the pre-existing links that historically conveyed royal authority, except for Quebec, which recently ousted its Lieutenant Governor. And then there’s the sly reference to “translating” the King or Queen into the role of Prime Minister…

The disallowance power of the LG was wielded extensively, over 100 times, and one can only wonder if it still lurks in the background, much like other royal prerogatives, quietly nullifying laws behind the scenes, leaving us to witness only a law dying on the order paper.

All these “polite fictions” and convolutions he mentions (privy council, Governor General, Prime Minister, Cabinet, Governor in Council) certainly do pile up. Kudos to him for addressing bilingualism, though he overlooked the fact that the Supreme Court is one of those mandatory bilingual institutions.

The notion of “super protected” rights to travel across the country brought a hearty laugh, especially recalling when Nova Scotia, during COVID, prohibited movement beyond “municipalities,” sometimes even within them, let alone throughout the province or the country. “Super protected rights,” indeed. No laws, no Section 1 or Section 33 applications were required. Is this an example of the charter of disallowance in action?

Props to JJ for highlighting the extensive powers of the executive and the dubious legitimacy of any standards set by the so-called “Westminster Parliament,” a misnomer if there ever was one. Also, the tangled web of constitutional complexities arising from a constitution that nobody can fully grasp, encompassing not only a multitude of documents and royal directive but also abstract “ideas” (as mentioned around the 49:00 mark).

The observation that Trudeau’s “de-colonization” efforts actually reinforce existing colonial structures is a valid one that seems to elude him. It’s almost as if he’s playing a game in these videos, framing discussions of Canada’s constitutional legitimacy as exclusively leftist or as an indigenous-only concern, while simultaneously marginalizing the PPC as far-right “anti-immigration,” which isn’t entirely fair if their focus is on “mass immigration,” a distinct issue altogether.

Thankfully, I’m not beholden to being a “professional Canadian political commentator,” allowing me to express my conviction that Canada is an absurdly tangled mess, tailor-made for perpetuating despotism and tyranny, a charade from top to bottom, suited for those who choose to remain subservient to a foreign crown while pretending they’re a legitimately sovereign country.

But does it have to be this way forever? That’s the lingering question.


Letter of Hon. Robt. J. Walker, on the annexation of Nova Scotia and British America

Letter of Hon. Robt. J. Walker, on the annexation of Nova Scotia and British America

“But, in 1774, our people had been most loyal, and at a time when loyalty to kings was a sentiment; much deeper and more universal than it ever has been since the whole system has been rocking on its base under the teachings and results of the American Revolution.

Our complaint was taxation without representation; but, although this was a great grievance, it does not compare in atrocity with the attempt against your will and protest to transfer you as slaves to a foreign Dominion. Who wonders that you resist and denounce the effort?

As Lord Chatham said of us in the war of the Revolution, “You would be fit to be slaves if you did not resist.” Rest assured, England will never attempt to drive you by force into the Canadian Dominion, continue to endeavor to obtain for Nova Scotia a repeal of the Union.

But if, after one more effort, this should fail, or even if now you should regard the case as hopeless, then you should commence immediately a most earnest effort for annexation to the United States. In hoc signo vinces.

Appeal to the masses of the people everywhere, organize your committees in every county and district. Speak through the press, through public oral addresses, through lectures and social intercourse. Let there be no thought of war nor of any collision, except of argument and intellect. Do this, and your success is certain.”

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Hon. Robt. J. Walker. “Letter of Hon. Robt. J. Walker, on the annexation of Nova Scotia and British America”, Washington Chronicle. April 23, 1860. https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=aeu.ark:/13960/t2988tm5b&seq=6

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