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Freeman on the Land

Jean-Marc Paquin, of Laval, Quebec, a proponent of the Freemen On The Land movement that rejects political and judicial authority, bought a Porsche Cayenne in 2011 and agreed to pay $1,166 a month for it. But after 7 months, he stopped making payments, informing the bank by letter that its “promissory note” was invalid and he was legally and constitutionally justified in not paying for the car.

The bank seized the car in February 2014, after which Paquin requested $1.4 million from the bank for unlawful confiscation. He maintained in court that private property was protected under the US and Canadian constitutions, and that the bank had trespassed against his property.

But a November 2014 news report notes that Judge Henri Richard’s ruling in a Quebec court called Jean-Marc Paquin’s defense “ill-founded in all ways” and declared Bank of Nova Scotia the sole owner of the vehicle. Judge Richard ordered Paquin to pay the bank legal costs of $16,685 and damages of $10,000. The judge called Paquin’s legal maneuvers abusive and his arguments “frivolous.” He said the growing abuse by Freemen followers of the legal system and the rights of contracting parties “must be denounced and eradicated,” adding that the ideology is disconnected from “earthly reality and the rules of law of our society.” (Montreal Gazette, 11/3/14) [IT 6.1 2015]

The antigovernment Freeman on the Land movement has become a “major policing problem” in British Columbia and several other Canadian provinces, according to the Security Intelligence Service. Adherents come from both the left and the right politically, but the core belief is that “government operates outside of its legal jurisdiction and therefore Freeman members do not recognize the authority of national, provincial, or municipal laws, policies or regulations,” according to the agency report. Freeman causes include environmentalism, anticapitalism, antiglobalization, and far-right racism. Freeman supporters reject violence, but law-enforcement officials are not convinced. Freeman on the Land resembles the “sovereign citizen movement” in the United States. (Victoria Times, 12/30/12) [IT 4.1 2013]

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