Saturday, January 24, 2009Breaking news: Cruel and usual punishment for libertarian activist Jean-Serge BrissonJean-Serge Brisson is #10 on the Liberty 100, the Western Standard’s ranking of Canadians who made a contribution to economic or personal liberty in 2008.http://westernstandard.blogs.com/shotgun/2009/01/breaking-news-cruel-and-usual-punishment-for-libertarian-activist-jeanserge-brisson.html
Brisson is the 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.
The Western Standard learned today that Brisson is being denied reading and writing materials while he serves his 90-day sentence on weekends.
In an email to Tom Van Dusen, a columnist with the Ottawa Sun, Andrew Phillips with the Ontario Libertarian Party wrote:
“...while he is in jail, Jean-Serge Brisson, who is fighting the sign law in Russell, of which you are well aware, is denied pen and paper and books and/or any other reading material....Can you possibly write something in your column and or make inquiries and in doing so get Jean-Serge and the rest of them access to reading and writing materials?
“While it is true he is only held from Friday evening to Sunday evening, it strikes me that this is cruel and unusual punishment for a man in jail for a traffic violation; it virtually equals to solitary confinement. If they, the provincial government and the justice system, think they can do this to a high ranking member of a political party what can they do to ordinary men and women in the same situation?”
Should Brisson be allowed access to reading material while serving his prison sentence for seatbelt violations? I think so. I don’t think he should be in prison either, though.
Here’s a more interesting question, perhaps: what book would you send to Brisson to make his time in prison more productive?
I was thinking “Civil Disobedience and Other Essays” by Henry David Thoreau, but that’s the kind of thinking that landed him in prison. (It landed Thoreau in prison as well.) Perhaps “How I Found Freedom in an Unfree World: A Handbook for Personal Liberty” by former US Libertarian Party Leader and the late Harry Browne would be more helpful.
What say Western Standard readers?