About Us

The original masthead of Mackenzie’s newspaper, The Volunteer


William Lyon Mackenzie

The Volunteer covers libertarian news and views. More specifically, news and views from a “bleeding heart libertarian” perspective.

The Volunteer is named after the newspaper of the same name published by William Lyon Mackenzie, leader of the Upper Canada Rebellion and first mayor of York (now Toronto), after the 1837 Rebellion in 1841.

The 1837 Rebellions in Upper and Lower Canada were struggles for two things: Greater individual liberty (economic and personal), as well as for “responsible” government.

Both Mackenzie and Louis-Joseph Papineau, leader of the Lower Canada Rebellion, were angered by the Chateau Clique in Lower Canada, and the Family Compact in Upper Canada. These two unelected, aristocratic, and appointed rulers had their fingers in too many pies. They would decide whether or not you could start a business, buy land, and what you could do on that land. They regulated without being accountable to the electorate (accountability by way of the ballot is what “responsible” meant at the time).

Louis-Joseph Papineau

The Volunteer will continue the proud Canadian tradition of the pursuit of greater individual liberty.

Too many believe that individual liberty is an “American value.” But Canada was not founded in the late 1960s and early ’70s. Pierre Elliott Trudeau did not “invent” Canada, although, during his prime ministership, Canada was reinvented.

What was once a nation marked by a love of individual liberty became, in the popular imagination, a nation identified with socialized health care, love of authority, succored by government.

That’s not Canada, if it ever was. This identity is a blip in history. Under Jean Chretien’s Liberal government, Canada has started a return to our true identity, demonstrated in spades during the 1837 Rebellions, and during Wilfrid Laurier’s administration.

The Volunteer will promote this return to our fundamental identity as a nation of individual liberty, economic freedom, civil liberty, and social tolerance. We’re “liberal” in the true sense of that word. In the sense that Mackenzie, Papineau, and Laurier were liberals.