It is hard to believe that something like that can happen in Canada, but it is true. Marta and Lech Jaworski, who on July 25 hosted the Liberty Summer Seminar, organized by the Institute for Liberal Studies, on their property in Orono, Ontario, are now threatened by the local municipal government with a hefty fine for alleged zoning violations. It’s unbelievable that a group of intellectuals can be treated like a bunch of illegal gamblers or drug dealers. Are they that dangerous??? Here is their press release (please click on the link at the bottom for more information):
Press release: Home owners burnt by barbecue seminar:
August 17: Home owners burnt by BBQ seminar
Orono, ON: Due to an anonymous zoning complaint filed with the local municipality, husband and wife bed-and-breakfast proprietors Marta & Lech Jaworski may be forced to pay as much as $50,000 in fines for permitting their son, Peter, to use his family’s property to host the Liberty Summer Seminar, an annual seminar in support of liberty.
“Our family escaped Poland for fear of reprisals in 1984 after my mom and dad handed out pro-democracy and pro-freedom literature from under my baby carriage,” said Peter Jaworski. “It’s ironic and upsetting that they may now be facing charges in Canada for allowing me to host an event in support of those very same principles.”
The Liberty Summer Seminar is a non-profit event for like-minded students and individuals hosted by the Institute for Liberal Studies, a registered charity in Canada.
The LSS has drawn hundreds of students and young people, prominent academics, like emeritus professor of philosophy Jan Narveson who was made an Officer of the Order of Canada, journalists like CBC’s Kady O’Malley and U.S.-based Reason Magazine senior editor Michael C. Moynihan, as well as politicians like M.P. Jason Kenney, Minister of Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism, M.P.P. Randy Hillier, and M.P. Scott Reid, amongst many others.
Over the weekend of July 25, the LSS celebrated its tenth anniversary with a two-day event on the Orono property. On Sunday afternoon, as the event was wrapping up, a municipal law enforcement official arrived without notice in the car parking area. He quizzed a passing LSS participant about the event, asking him what had been served for lunch, as well as the cost of the registration fee, and the number of port-a-potties available. After a few minutes, the official left without attempting to speak to the Jaworski family.
On August 12th, Marta and Lech Jaworski were each served with a summons to appear in court on the grounds that they had “allowed the use of land in an agricultural zone for a use other than a permitted residential use; namely for a commercial conference centre,” which is contrary to Clarington by-laws.* A first offence carries a maximum penalty of $25,000 upon conviction.
“The municipality tells me that they work on a complaint basis,” said Peter Jaworski, “although I don’t believe any of our immediate neighbours complained, since we’ve been doing this for nine years without a single complaint or problem, and being very public about it.”
“I wrote about the Seminar in the Orono Weekly Times back when I was a weekly columnist with the newspaper, and it’s been mentioned in prominent media outlets like the CBC, Maclean’s, the Sun chain of newspapers, and the Western Standard,” continued Peter Jaworski.
The charges come at a time when Marta and Lech Jaworski are struggling financially. Lifelong entrepreneurs, in 1989 the couple started Ma-Le Enterprises — which takes the first two initials of their first names — a small business that sells children’s books, cookbooks, and other items directly to employees of various companies. After the global recession devastated their sales income, they decided to turn the family farm into a bed and breakfast to make ends meet. Both Marta and Lech continue to work full-time, operating the bed and breakfast during their weekends.
“If we’re convicted of letting our son host an educational seminar and barbecue with his friends, these charges could bankrupt us,” said Lech Jaworski. “It’s hard to have peace-of-mind when you’re looking at something like this.”
“I will always let my son use our property for what he believes in, and for the freedom we came to Canada to find,” said Marta Jaworski. “If he wants to host a seminar to support more liberty in Canada, we’re not just happy, but proud to let him do that. That’s what you do as parents.”
The Jaworskis are expected to appear before the Ontario Court of Justice at 605 Rossland Road East in Whitby, Ontario on the 28th of September at 2 p.m in courtroom #103. They are working on setting up a blog (www.willowpondbb.wordpress.com) to draw attention to their plight, and have put together a legal defence fund to help pay for their legal fees.
For additional information on how to help, please go to the Willow Pond Bed and Breakfast Blog.