This upcoming weekend will mark the eleventh annual Liberty Summer Seminar, held on my parents’ property in the municipality of Clarington. A year ago, it looked like the Liberty Summer Seminar would be no more. It looked like it was going to be cancelled due to zoning regulations.
The Liberty Summer Seminar is an event that brings young people together to discuss and celebrate Canada’s history and tradition of liberty. It is a two-day, outdoor event with seven speakers, a barbecue, and a concert featuring Toronto’s Lindy Vopnfjord. It has a summer camp feel, which is why some of us refer to it as “LibertyStock.”
This past year, after our 10-year anniversary, my mom and dad were charged with running a commercial conference centre on land zoned agricultural. The event is a non-profit event, hosted by the Institute for Liberal Studies, a registered charity. My mom and dad faced possible fines of up to $25,000 each, for letting me, their son, host an event that promotes Canada’s founding values of civil, political and economic freedoms — the values that motivated my parents to escape to Canada from Communist Poland in 1984.
The legal fees, and the frightening prospect of not only being fined $50,000, but the possibility of having to cancel the Liberty Summer Seminar after celebrating the 10-year anniversary, was devastating.
But we got lucky.