A Libertarian believes in the principle of liberty, that you should be free to make decisions about your own life as long as you do not interfere with the basic rights of others - their life, liberty and property. Libertarians believe that government has a legitimate role in protecting those rights.
What basic approach would Libertarians take if they were elected?
If a Libertarian government was elected, it would reduce taxes to a minimum and reduce the size of government to a minimum. It would also remove restrictions on personal and economic freedom and seek to remove government interference from as many areas of life as possible. It would maintain what we see as the legitimate functions of government - the administration of justice and national defence - and would ensure that these functions worked effectively in protecting rights and freedoms.
What if my Member of Parliament was the only Libertarian in Parliament or only one of a few?
Plenty. If individual Libertarians were elected to Parliament, they would vote against laws that restricted personal and economic freedom and in favour of measures that enhanced freedom. They would have a prominent platform for putting forward the Libertarian message in Canada.
But what about welfare and health care for the needy?
Government is force. Libertarians believe in a win-win voluntary society where people cooperate through trade and charity. The moral issue here is that Libertarians believe that it is not right to take forcefully from one person in order to provide for another's needs. Libertarians believe in minimizing taxation and funding government by other means if possible. Welfare for those in need should be provided through voluntary means. Forcing others to "give" is not just or generous. Government should not be deciding who needs welfare, because welfare is damaging to some people because it encourages dependency, lack of initiative, and poor planning. A free economy will produce more wealth for everyone. Taxation is robbing people of their wealth and the ability to invest that wealth in new business, which would benefit the poor.
People are selfish. We can't depend on others to give to the needy of their own accord. Aren't you being unrealistic about human nature?
No. Libertarians are also skeptical about human nature and believe that people in government should not have so much power over others. There are many generous Canadians who give to charities they are most concerned about, even now with high taxes. Think of the possibilities for giving in a society with extremely low taxation. People are concerned about providing for their own families and living responsibly and they need to be free to make their own decisions with their money. Most people in our daily lives are good most of the time - otherwise society wouldn't function - we trust people enough as equals. However, the more power we give to others, the more skewed things become. As Lord Acton said, Power corrupts.
Aren't you against the poor? What about corporate welfare?
No, a freer society will remove obstacles to those who are disadvantaged and help them to rise economically. Libertarians will change the nature of government. A large factor in out-of-control government is the influence of big business. Special interests of one kind or another should not be using government to control others or benefit their own industry. The Free Market should be allowed to operate without interference. Libertarians would abolish subsidies and licensing restrictions.
What about health care?
The reason for shortages in Canada of health care providers and services is because it is a government controlled coercive monopoly. Libertarians believe that Canadians should be free to purchase their own health care and use private insurance. Health care providers should charge what they feel is necessary. Libertarians would cease funding provincial health care programs.
Would you introduce laws to prevent price gouging during disasters?
No. Calls to ban "price gouging" come from economic ignorance. When prices are raised during disasters, business owners are exercising human choice and following natural economic laws. Raising prices prevents shortages, because consumers otherwise would tend to buy up all the supply. Government does not determine prices without causing greater suffering.
What about the disadvantaged? Do Libertarians advocate selfishness and self-interest?
Libertarians believe that the less advantaged in our society are the ones most harmed by the current system in which the government benefits established interests at the expense of taxpayers in general. Money that an individual would otherwise direct towards autistic children, aging parents, or a new business instead goes to the government in order to fund itself and subsidize existing industries.
The government also establishes monopoly licensing laws which unreasonably restrict access to various occupations. Government minimum wage laws also prevent access to the bottom rung of the employment ladder for those who are unskilled. In general, our whole society is much poorer and starved of opportunities because of Canada's crushing taxes, regulations and central planning which stifle personal and economic initiative.
Libertarians believe in honoring the choices of others. Libertarians recognize that individuals will always pursue their own self-interest, under any system, including the current one. It is good that people are motivated to solve problems and pursue their desires and needs, because this leads to innovation and productivity which benefits everyone. However, it is much better that individuals exercise self-interest in a pure free market rather than through the use of government power.
The motivation to do good for others goes beyond material motivations. But nonetheless, these motives may be characterized as self-interest since the giver may, for example, feel better about himself or herself through the act of giving.
Libertarians believe it is good and necessary for people to help others through private charity, but we believe it is not justifiable to empower the government - filled with self-interested people - to force a person to hand over large amounts of his or her wealth to the government for the supposed benefit of others.
As Ludwig von Mises states in Human Action:"We may fully endorse the religious and ethical precepts that declare it to be man's duty to assist his unlucky brethren whom nature has doomed. But the recognition of this duty does not answer the question concerning what methods should be resorted to for its performance."
Do Libertarians want to make Canada more like the U.S.?
Not really, because the U.S. needs many of the same reforms.
Would you replace product regulation - for example, drugs, food, toys, machinery, aircraft, etc. ? What kind of laws would remain?
Yes. Consumers would inform themselves using free market evaluations of goods and services. Libertarians believe that the government should protect citizens and their property from murder, theft, fraud and environmental or health damage. The courts should be available for consumers to seek compensation from manufacturers that misrepresent their products. Otherwise, citizens should be free to assume their own risks concerning products, materials, substances, food and drugs.
How would Libertarians reform the system of justice? And what about youth justice?
Those who are convicted of crimes should be penalized in proportion to their crime regardless of age. The identity of young offenders should not be protected. In the case of non-violent crime, the focus should be changed to making the criminal compensate the victim, and making him or her pay the costs of law enforcement, trial and incarceration. In the case of violent crime, victim compensation of one kind or another should be combined with prison sentences that include a means of making a living in order to pay what is owed. There should be no victimless crimes. Nobody should be in prison who did not harm someone else.
Who is the current Leader of the LPC?
What is necessary to help change things around for the Libertarian Party of Canada?
Those who believe in libertarianism should join the Party. Volunteer and donate and run as a candidate. Create a local Riding Association.
Shouldn't libertarians stay out of politics?
No, there are positive reasons for participating in electoral politics. Voting for the Libertarian Party is an act of self-defence. Encouraging Canadians to vote for the Libertarian Party is allowing them to vote for freedom and against taxes, regulations and big government.
Shouldn't I support a political party or local candidate that is more likely to win an election?
No, when you vote for the Liberals, Conservatives, NDP or Greens, you are voting for big government. You are voting for big business influence peddling, restrictions and subsidies. The Conservatives will not implement Libertarian policies. Supporting the Libertarian Party by volunteering, donating or voting is a vote in support of the principle of Liberty, because Libertarians seek to move Canada towards a free society. Voting for the Libertarian Party of Canada puts pressure on the other parties to take notice of what you want.
What does the LPC think of restrictions on free speech such as the hate speech legislation?
The LPC opposes speech restrictions that prevent people from presenting their opinions on any topic. Legislation against threatening others is valid, as is legislation that makes fraud punishable by law.
How can you justify any taxes in a libertarian government? Don't you believe that taxation is theft?
Methods have to be found to fund the legitimate functions of government, i.e. police, courts and judges. To replace all taxes is the ideal, but to many libertarians it is not clear that this is possible. There are other methods of funding government that should be tried. Convicted criminals can be made to pay police and trial costs as well as victims. User fees can be applied in many cases. Witholding government services may be possible. The military can be full of volunteers.
How can you have a free society if so much tax money goes to fund police and the armed forces? Can you ensure that these groups will not become all powerful?
Police and the armed forces will be accountable at all times to respect the rights of citizens. Police should be accountable to citizens in the same way that business is accountable to consumers. The military should be built on a volunteer basis so that its size is directly proportional to the number of Canadians who have invested their efforts in it.
Are libertarians atheists like Ayn Rand?
No, there are many religious libertarians as well as agnostics and atheists. Libertarianism is about political philosophy only.
Does libertarian mean libertine? Do Libertarians advocate promiscuity and drugs and alternative life styles?
Libertarianism believes in letting people make their own choices. Libertarianism addresses the question of what the proper role of government should be.
Do libertarians believe in due process procedural rights such as habeas corpus and that the accused should be considered innocent until proven guilty, etc.?
Absolutely. Libertarians proudly adhere to the Classical Liberal traditions that we share in common with many other Canadians.
Aren't Libertarians just the same as conservative? Isn't there more chance of the Conservatives gaining power, so why shouldn't I vote for them to kick out the Liberals.
Libertarians believe in both economic and personal freedom. Conservatives and liberals may believe in some forms of freedom, but freedom is not their main concern. When they are in power, the historic record shows that they only really believe in creating big government. The big parties as a whole have proven they have no interest in improving the liberty of Canadians.
If the Libertarians became the government, wouldn't you just be the same as the other major parties?
The Libertarian Party is based around principles and in reducing the power of government over the lives of Canadians. The Libertarian Party's goal is to reform government so that government no longer has so much power regardless of which Party is in power.
Should the government regulate the media: TV, radio, the Internet, or the press? What about the CRTC?
No. There should be freedom of speech and freedom of the press. The CRTC should be abolished. Radio and television frequencies should not be owned and controlled by the government.
Should government regulate the relationship between employers and employees?
What is the Libertarian stand on abortion?
The Libertarian view, generally, is one of skepticism towards government interference in our lives. Perhaps the majority view among Libertarians is that the government should not interfere in a woman's choice concerning abortion, but there are also Libertarians who believe that the unborn should be protected by law.
It is possible to be a Libertarian and hold either view. Some believe the foetus is not a person, some believe that it is a person, and some believe that the woman's control over her own body should be the deciding factor in any case.
The fact is that people do not agree on this issue and many libertarians believe that it will not be settled by political means. In fact, politicizing the issue may very well be getting in the way of people finding alternatives to abortion. Government has proven itself ineffective at solving problems, and it can be argued that abortion is a moral, philosophical and religious problem that people will almost certainly be able to handle better without government interference.
Libertarians oppose tax support for abortion so that nobody who believes that abortion is immoral should have to pay for it. In a libertarian society, because of greater freedoms in adoption laws, or increased wealth and technological advances, abortion may very well be seen as less necessary over time and even become obsolete.