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Liberalism needs protection

GAP

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does a secular government have the right to intrude on individual religious practices?

my answer would be yes under these conditions
  1) where it conflicts with the good of society as a whole
  2) where it practises criminal behaviour in the name of that religion

There are probably more conditions, but I think these two cover the main points

:2c:
 

Kirkhill

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FJAG said:
The point of this thread however isn't about the terminology being used here but whether or not liberalism needs protection and I argue that liberalism needs protection from the intrusion of religion. So here's the question: Should our Charter of Rights and Freedoms mandate that its laws and institutions be secular while providing its citizens with the right to have the right to privately follow their own religious beliefs and if so at what point does a secular government have the right to intrude on individual religious practices?

I offer a two-edged sword for the fight.

There is no irony in any of my following statements and I regret if I give offence to the Catholics in our midst.  Giving offence is not the intent but the Vatican library , and the unique nature of institution that is the papacy offers some great insights into the development of human thought in the revolutionary period.

The papacy has done a great service for "liberalism" by clearly defining "liberalism" and then offering its own prescription.  In doing so, in a number of great works (In Eminenti 1738, Mirari Vos: On Liberalism and Religious Indifferentism 1832, The Syllabus of Errors 1862, Diuturnum:On the Origin of Civil Power 1881, Humanum Genus: On Freemasonry 1884, Libertas: On the Nature of Human Liberty 1888, Rerum Novarum: On Capital and Labour 1891) it clearly defines the development of liberal, anti-liberal, illiberal and conservative thought through the 19th century.

The Church held steadfastly to an anti-liberal point of view that was defined generically as conservative well into the 20th century with only the election of John XXIII demonstrating a change in direction. It was a point of view that married the Church with DeValera, Salazar, Franco and Mussolini under the rubrik of corporatism.

I bring these documents to the table both to define the alternative to the "liberal" society in which we have all grown up as well as to suggest that the documents would not be out of place if re-written to support atheism, gaianism, global warming, membership in the Socialist or Communist Internationales.....

Parliament's debating chamber was the Premier Division for the House League debates of the Freemasons.    The Church did everything it could to stamp out Freemasonry because it could not tolerate debate.  Toleration and debate were both considered anathema.  Governance based on toleration and debate was unthinkable.  This dichotomy was at the heart of the schools debates in Canada where Anglos offered education for all and the Church demanded the right to limit and control it. Hence separate school boards and underfunded upper grades.

The Church was strongly of the opinion that freedom was only permissible for right-thinking individuals.

The value of our system is in its toleration - but for that to be effective then even the intolerable needs to be tolerated.  That means we have to permit malcontents like the Bloc Quebecois and the Islamists use of our public fora, including the House of Commons and trust to reason to be able to argue them down.

Our parliament can, and should, define the consequences for my fist striking your nose.  Whether you utter Jesus!  Allah! Uncle Joe! Gaia! or whoever atheists yell at (???) in response to the strike is nobody's business but your own.

 

Edward Campbell

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FJAG said:
Never said nor suggested that religions had a monopoly. I was merely pointing out that religion does not equate to a sound moral code. As you suggest, neither does atheism. In my mind the concept of religion and that of morality are separate and distinct matters although most religions insist that they are the sole arbitrators of the morale standards for their societies. Those are the folks who you call the busybodies and in this I agree with you completely. Trouble is that most of those busybodies wrap themselves in a cloak of religious authority with the status of being the interpretors of God's (or the gods) will.

As to "sky fairyism" being "needlessly  inflammatory and pejorative" (per Kirkhill) or "bigoted and ignorant" (per General Disorder), I obviously disagree. What it is is sarcasm and absurdism. There are thousands of belief systems out there which dictate, without any proof whatsoever, that their deity/deities is/are the only true one. The concept of the "Flying Spaghetti Monster" (and "sky fairies") was put forward as a way to show that an absurd concept of a deity was equally valid, in the context of an "intelligent designer" of the universe, as those of the so-called established ones.

One can use sarcasm without being either bigoted or ignorant and while some undoubtedly consider it inflammatory and even pejorative I would argue that it is not "needlessly" so.  In a debate where one side uses blind faith as its trump card the other is unfortunately left with absurdism since rational or scientific arguments hold no sway.

The point of this thread however isn't about the terminology being used here but whether or not liberalism needs protection and I argue that liberalism needs protection from the intrusion of religion. So here's the question: Should our Charter of Rights and Freedoms mandate that its laws and institutions be secular while providing its citizens with the right to privately follow their own religious beliefs and if so at what point does a secular government have the right to intrude on individual religious practices?

:pop:

:cheers:


I'm no sure I like the question, but ...

Everyone has a right to believe whatever (s)he wishes to believe. That right, an aspect of individual liberty, does not however lead to right to do anything about one's beliefs. The government (the state, society, whatever) may, therefore, intrude into any of one's "practices" (careless driving, bank robbery, littering or genital mutilation) when we, the people, have given our consent to that government (state, society, whatever) to regulate our liberty in certain ways, including making careless driving, and, and, and into criminal offences.

It seems to me that the bigger question is: should we permit any religion to intrude itself into our public space?

(I know it's stretching a point beyond ridiculous, but why are Christmas and Easter, by those names, statutory holidays? Why can'e we just have the the winter (Christmas/New Years), spring (Easter), summer (August Bank Holiday) and autumn (Thanksgiving) public holidays? Why should they be given their religious names? Is it not sufficient that we, broadly, accept the dominant cultural orthodoxy ("holidays" (holy days) on December 25th, the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox and the Friday before it, first Monday in August, second Monday in October)?)

I'm not overly fussed about  laïcité, I am part of the dominant (nominally Christian) culture, after all, but I think it is a good principle.
 

a_majoor

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I don't think it is going too far out on the limb to suggest that religion isn't the problem, but rather one of gthe many "covers" that officious busybodies use to justify their attempts to impose their likes and values on the rest of us.

OTOH, a close look at Marxism, Progressivism, Climate alarmism and other forms of "officious busybodyism" shows strong parallels to religion, including sacred "texts", violent denunciation of heresy (if not the physical destruction of the heretics; modern climate alarmists often call for scientists who question their sacred text to be placed in prison, and Communism has left a trail of more than 80 million dead in the 20th century alone), mechanisms for penance and so on (a modern example is how "climate sinners" can buy "indulgences" by paying a "carbon tax", planting a tree, etc.)

To me this suggests that the structures created by religion and recycled by "secular religions" must have some deep rooted place in the human mind, probably developed as a means of organizing and cataloguing otherwise unexplainable things like weather, seasons and random events like fire or disease by preliterate humans living in hunter-gatherer society. Officious busybodies are much simpler to explain, these creatures are attempting to become "Alpha" individuals within their respective troops, and expect you to roll over and expose your belly when they bark.

OF course as primates we have a simple way of offering our own challenge; a smile is a threat (baring the teeth), and the one thing officious busybodies hate more than anything else is being laughed at....
 

McG

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If one is going to delve into the tautologies of science fiction, it is important to keep perspective on the shallow depth a philosophy that fits into a plot line or cult sound bite.  I state this not to counter any opinion argued with the support of Mr Spock, but to build on the idea.

"The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few" is an argument that I have seen thrown out in defence of wants.  No doubt there is a hardcore Trekkie with the "official" answer, but I suspect Mr Spock would believe that needs of the few outweigh wants of the many.  Getting back to the discussion at hand, neither the individual or the collective should always have primacy over the other.  This  ordering is determined on the balance of needs vs wants (and as well, maybe, on a hierarchy of the needs involved).
 

SeaKingTacco

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This is becoming one of the more interesting threads we have had here in a while.  Keep it up, everybody.
 

FJAG

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Thucydides said:
. . . 
OTOH, a close look at Marxism, Progressivism, Climate alarmism and other forms of "officious busybodyism" shows strong parallels to religion, including sacred "texts", violent denunciation of heresy (if not the physical destruction of the heretics; modern climate alarmists often call for scientists who question their sacred text to be placed in prison, and Communism has left a trail of more than 80 million dead in the 20th century alone), mechanisms for penance and so on (a modern example is how "climate sinners" can buy "indulgences" by paying a "carbon tax", planting a tree, etc.)

To me this suggests that the structures created by religion and recycled by "secular religions" must have some deep rooted place in the human mind, . . .

I'm very much with you on this.

A recent show that looked at why people believe in conspiracy theories posited, amongst other things, that humans do not want to believe that things happen arbitrarily; we search for a pattern and if we find one, even if improbable, we go with it.

Add to that the fact that as children, we are indoctrinated into various belief system (whether religion or ecology or climate change) through education or ritual. Once we have formed a basic belief, everything after that which tends to reinforce our existing belief we accept wholeheartedly even if it totally without empirical evidence; while anything that contradicts our pre-existing belief we reject regardless of how much it is supported by evidence.

:cheers:
 

Fishbone Jones

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E.R. Campbell said:
I'm no sure I like the question, but ...

Everyone has a right to believe whatever (s)he wishes to believe. That right, an aspect of individual liberty, does not however lead to right to do anything about one's beliefs. The government (the state, society, whatever) may, therefore, intrude into any of one's "practices" (careless driving, bank robbery, littering or genital mutilation) when we, the people, have given our consent to that government (state, society, whatever) to regulate our liberty in certain ways, including making careless driving, and, and, and into criminal offences.

It seems to me that the bigger question is: should we permit any religion to intrude itself into our public space?

(I know it's stretching a point beyond ridiculous, but why are Christmas and Easter, by those names, statutory holidays? Why can'e we just have the the winter (Christmas/New Years), spring (Easter), summer (August Bank Holiday) and autumn (Thanksgiving) public holidays? Why should they be given their religious names? Is it not sufficient that we, broadly, accept the dominant cultural orthodoxy ("holidays" (holy days) on December 25th, the first Sunday after the full moon following the vernal equinox and the Friday before it, first Monday in August, second Monday in October)?)

I'm not overly fussed about  laïcité, I am part of the dominant (nominally Christian) culture, after all, but I think it is a good principle.

So what you're advocating is a revamp of what the Catholic Church did in relation to pagan holidays. Keep them, because that's what people are used to, but continue to change name to placate the whiny sheeple in society, or to try further the principal's own ends.

You may think that a majority wants this, but in actual fact, no one has pressed the government for this type of action.

And before you incite the rights of other religions, governments, parties, sects, whatever, we are Canadian, we don't acquiesce to newcomers. This is our country. If you don't like the way we do business, stay the fuck out.
 

Edward Campbell

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recceguy said:
So what you're advocating is a revamp of what the Catholic Church did in relation to pagan holidays. Keep them, because that's what people are used to, but continue to change name to placate the whiny sheeple in society, or to try further the principal's own ends.


Bazinga!

We appear to have had equinoxal and solstical (are those even words?) festivals (holidays) since time immemorial, so one must doubt that I (or even the popes in Rome) would have much success in cancelling them ... the thing to which I take some exception is the compulsion to name things. Consider the civic holiday (a perfectly good name, by the way) which began life as the August Bank Holiday (there were four in the late 19th century: Easter Monday, Whit Monday (mid May to mid June), First Monday in August and Boxing Day) and which, if my memory serves, was still called that well into the 1960s (and the banks did close on that day); it is now, variously, as, inter alia: British Columbia Day, New Brunswick Day, Saskatchewan Day, Natal Day, Heritage Day, Simcoe Day, Colonel By Day, George Hamilton Day, Joseph Brant Day, Founders' Day, McLaughlin Day, Alexander Mackenzie Day, James Cockburn, Peter Robinson Day and John Galt Day. WTF, over?

I don't want to derail a good discussion, rather I was using an absurd example to suggest that, perhaps, we mix religion and culture to an extraordinary (but not, necessarily harmful) degree ... or is allowing the dominant religious system to insinuate itself into our laws and regulations, even in such inconsequential things as the names we give to civic holidays, a harmful thing in a pioneering multicultural society like Canada?
 

Kirkhill

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As you manage the herd you have to keep on side with the majority at the same time as incorporating minorities.

I don't see a problem with name retention.  I have a problem with need to name days after various and sundry local heroes.

I also don't see a problem with allowing immigrants to celebrate holidays in their way (so long as it doesn't involve chucking widows on funeral pyres - we have customs to deal with that).  But equally I don't see why the majority should be put into a situation where the home doesn't feel so homely.  In fact I find that strategy to be counter productive as it raises the level of disquiet in the majority community and makes them less likely to be accepting of others.

I don't mind if a Sikh family moves in next door and celebrates Diwali as we celebrate Thanksgiving (properly Harvest Festival).  I would have a greater problem if I were informed that henceforth Thanksgiving were given the soulless sobriquet "Annual Statutory Holiday #8 (Autumnal Equinox +/-)".

It's easier to maintain good relations with the neighbours when they are not living in your kitchen.
 

Good2Golf

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Kirkhill said:
...I also don't see a problem with allowing immigrants to celebrate holidays in their way (so long as it doesn't involve chucking widows on funeral pyres - we have customs to deal with that).  But equally I don't see why the majority should be put into a situation where the home doesn't feel so homely.  In fact I find that strategy to be counter productive as it raises the level of disquiet in the majority community and makes them less likely to be accepting of others....

Which raises the interesting issue of some long-established social festivities such as Christmas (an aforementioned hybrid leveraging a pagan ritual against a more contemporary religious celebration) being de-religionized (new def'n?), while other emergent (in terms of relative population) celebrations that are decidedly religious in nature, are encouraged/endorsed.  Perhaps that's part of the ongoing process or re-balance, and that (societal) life seems to adjust itself in a cyclical nature...the pendulum must swing, it's only a matter of how far to either side and how long the period of the swing is.

I too like the thought (in the sense of appreciating the situation, not necessarily that I like how it is) of societal/group desires/wishes (for does a group per se truly have 'rights') balanced against individuals' rights (the LLPP rights, that Mr. Campbell refers to).
 

Kirkhill

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Good2Golf said:
I too like the thought (in the sense of appreciating the situation, not necessarily that I like how it is) of societal/group desires/wishes (for does a group per se truly have 'rights') balanced against individuals' rights (the LLPP rights, that Mr. Campbell refers to).

Here's an interesting question.  It revolves around the usage of the word Corporation.  In law I understand a Corporation to have the rights of an individual (FJAG or others feel free to shut me down here).

In Britain the oldest Corporation is the City of London Corporation - an independent self governing entity with its own internal economy (ability to levy fees/taxes) and establish bylaws.  Those capacities are inherent in any of the local town/borough councils and their corporations.

In western Canada, when the land was being divided for settlement,  tracts were awarded for group purchase.  These became, amongst others, the Hungarian town of Esterhazy, the Ukrainian town of Vegreville, the French town of Gravelbourg.  Each of these individual corporations established their own character after the wishes of the local population.  You still see it today with the Hutterite colonies.  In all of these cases toleration was enhanced by distance.  It didn't bother the Presbyterians of Calgary if the Ukrainians of Edmonton took a day off to paint easter eggs.  Equally it was locally decided if the town was wet or dry, what the local time was and how big the local hospital should be.

Admittedly that does leave open the possibility of a Bountiful but even the continued existence of Bountiful is an example of the benefits of the system.  They are tolerated in large part because they don't create problems outside of their borders.

Is that the manner in which the individual can be squared with the communal - by means of the self-governing corporation?  Under the law an individual governed by its constituent individuals?
 

Fishbone Jones

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Kirkhill said:
As you manage the herd you have to keep on side with the majority at the same time as incorporating minorities.

I don't see a problem with name retention.  I have a problem with need to name days after various and sundry local heroes.

I also don't see a problem with allowing immigrants to celebrate holidays in their way (so long as it doesn't involve chucking widows on funeral pyres - we have customs to deal with that).  But equally I don't see why the majority should be put into a situation where the home doesn't feel so homely.  In fact I find that strategy to be counter productive as it raises the level of disquiet in the majority community and makes them less likely to be accepting of others.

I don't mind if a Sikh family moves in next door and celebrates Diwali as we celebrate Thanksgiving (properly Harvest Festival).  I would have a greater problem if I were informed that henceforth Thanksgiving were given the soulless sobriquet "Annual Statutory Holiday #8 (Autumnal Equinox +/-)".

It's easier to maintain good relations with the neighbours when they are not living in your kitchen.

We're in agreement here.
 

Edward Campbell

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Kirkhill said:
Here's an interesting question.  It revolves around the usage of the word Corporation.  In law I understand a Corporation to have the rights of an individual (FJAG or others feel free to shut me down here).

In Britain the oldest Corporation is the City of London Corporation - an independent self governing entity with its own internal economy (ability to levy fees/taxes) and establish bylaws.  Those capacities are inherent in any of the local town/borough councils and their corporations.

In western Canada, when the land was being divided for settlement,  tracts were awarded for group purchase.  These became, amongst others, the Hungarian town of Esterhazy, the Ukrainian town of Vegreville, the French town of Gravelbourg.  Each of these individual corporations established their own character after the wishes of the local population.  You still see it today with the Hutterite colonies.  In all of these cases toleration was enhanced by distance.  It didn't bother the Presbyterians of Calgary if the Ukrainians of Edmonton took a day off to paint easter eggs.  Equally it was locally decided if the town was wet or dry, what the local time was and how big the local hospital should be.

Admittedly that does leave open the possibility of a Bountiful but even the continued existence of Bountiful is an example of the benefits of the system.  They are tolerated in large part because they don't create problems outside of their borders.

Is that the manner in which the individual can be squared with the communal - by means of the self-governing corporation?  Under the law an individual governed by its constituent individuals?


You are thinking of a corporation sole. Most corporations are corporations aggregate but some - many (most?) ecclesiastic offices and, I think, the Queen - are corporations sole: only one person, passed on by some formal mechanism, and able to own non-personal property.



Edit: typo
 

Kirkhill

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Thanks E.R.

More research required and another avenue to follow.

:cheers:

 

a_majoor

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While in theory, small, self sufficient corporations or corporate bodies should be an ideal form of organization for "Liberal" communities to operate and thrive, in practice they often fall victim to Pournelle's "Iron Law of Bureaucracy":

"Pournelle's Iron Law of Bureaucracy states that in any bureaucratic organization there will be two kinds of people":

First, there will be those who are devoted to the goals of the organization. Examples are dedicated classroom teachers in an educational bureaucracy, many of the engineers and launch technicians and scientists at NASA, even some agricultural scientists and advisors in the former Soviet Union collective farming administration.

Secondly, there will be those dedicated to the organization itself. Examples are many of the administrators in the education system, many professors of education, many teachers union officials, much of the NASA headquarters staff, etc.

The Iron Law states that in every case the second group will gain and keep control of the organization. It will write the rules, and control promotions within the organization.
"

Earlier this year there was an article in Maclean's magazine on the subject of condominiums and the problems that condo owners were facing. Condo's would seem to be a sort of microcosm for a liberal social organization, based as it is on the ownership of property. Sadly, as the Iron Law predicts, groups of owners set themselves up as the rulers of the condo (generally because they have the time and energy to devote to the condo, rather than outside employment, raising families etc.) and can impose their own rules on the hapless condo owners. One example was a condo which has a 70 page ownership agreement, which is entirely ridiculous when you consider that a similar sized rental apartment can be had for agreements that generally are only a few pages long (if that; you can download perfectly legal one page forms from the Internet).

Liberalism requires many different things to operate; but even the formal mechanisms of contract law are not enough if someone can overwhelm you with 70 pages of minutia. Culture, as always, has a great deal of bearing on this. Many western, liberal societies are based on unspoken cultural mechanisms of mutual trust (I'm just beginning Francis Fukuyama's book "Trust", but other works like Walther Russel Mead's "God and Gold" also speak to the importance of trust mechanisms built into the culture).
 

Kirkhill

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But perhaps that argues in support of a multiplicity of corporations, Thucydides.

In a world where there is an infinite selection of bureaucracies there is likely to be one that closely conforms to ones needs.  I have a brother in law (retired civil servant) to whom the prospect of a 70 page condo agreement would be as manna from heaven.  For you and me maybe not so much.

If condo communities discover a negative impact on their property values due to the tendentious and tedious nature of the contracts then I suggest that there would be a tendency over time to conform more closely to market demands.  I believe market demands would tend to reduce the contract to one page.

Conversely, in a world of a singular bureaucracy (lets call it the New World Order for lack of a better cognomen) the net tendency would be towards a standardized condo agreement that incorporates the verbiage of an infinity of others resulting in an incomprehensible document of infinite length, providing hours of enjoyment for an infinity of bureaucrats and a similar infinity of their parasytic siblings, lawyers and politicians.

Consequently the solution, a variant of what you have often argued, is to limit the damage that any single bureaucracy can create by limiting its scope and ensuring there is choice for the consumer which would encourage competition.  The solution is deregulation and decentralization.

Following this logic then, the oft-heard argument concerning health care in Canada that it is, or is likely to become, a patchwork quilt of solutions is specious at best.  We should be aspiring to patchwork quilts everywhere.

If individuals are overwhelmed by choice let them hire their own personal bureaucrat (accountant, lawyer, planner, personal assistant).

Nationalization, standardization: they are the ruination of the community at the same time as they are at the core of the state.


 

a_majoor

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While I agree with you in principle, it is annoying to me how the forces of the market are being deflected in the instance of Condo ownership to allow such travesties to take place. Obviously there are many outside factors intruding (I can think of how several examples of regulatory failure allow this to happen: large city holdings of subsidized property and provincial rent control discourage the building and development of low cost rental accommodation, while the various anti-development forces attempt to throttle the building of detached single dwelling suburban houses. This serves to artificially prop up Condo values, and allow the various busybodies, bureaucrats and others to intrude on the enjoyment of the condo property by the actual owner).

Of course this is part of a much larger and more complex issue. Liberalism is under attack from multiple directions, ranging from politicians and bureaucrats hungry for more power, busybodies determined to tell us what to do, rent seekers looking to grab our income and properties and so on. How to protect it is really the question.
 

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Kirkhill said:
Here's an interesting question.  It revolves around the usage of the word Corporation.  In law I understand a Corporation to have the rights of an individual (FJAG or others feel free to shut me down here).

. . .  You still see it today with the Hutterite colonies.  In all of these cases toleration was enhanced by distance.

. . .  Is that the manner in which the individual can be squared with the communal - by means of the self-governing corporation?  Under the law an individual governed by its constituent individuals?

Okay - short lesson in business entities. There are essentially three types of business entities: sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation.

In a sole proprietorship one individual owns all the assets of the business, earns all of its income and is solely liable for its debts.

In a partnership several individuals own the assets, earn the income and are jointly liable for all debts. A partnership agreement may set out to what extent an individual partner owns assets or receives income but to the general public they are all equally liable for debts.

In a corporation the corporation owns the assets (subject to once a corporation is wound up where the common shareholders share in the residual value of the assets), a variety of shareholders share in the income and NO shareholders are liable for debts. The key fundamental difference is that the company is considered a "person" separate and apart from its shareholders and to a large extent (but not completely) of its management team.

Please note that this is all a gross oversimplification as there are different types of corporations, limited liability partnerships and a host of other entities, variations and things and thousands of pages of laws that govern the details how each of these entities operate.

Forget that you ever heard the term "corporation sole". Its a very special type of beast that takes a special act of parliament to create and we haven't done so for over a decade.

Also forget about Hutterite colonies. They are organizations that fall under s 143 of the Income Tax Act which provides a special taxing category where a "religious congregation" works communally, where no individuals of the congregation are allowed to own property in their own right, and all the members work solely for the congregation's benefit. Please note that in the 2013 case of Blackmore v Canada the Canadian Tax Court held that the Bountiful community did NOT fall within the provisions of s 143 of the ITA.

I'm not quite sure where you want to go with "an individual squared with the communal". One could certainly form a corporation, have it buy a large parcel of land and then build a community on it (zoning laws permitting). One would however remain subject to all of the relevant municipal, provincial and federal legal overhead (including taxes). On top of that you would have the internal governance of the cororation to contend with.

If you'll give me a bit of an idea as to what end-state you have in mind I'd be happy to discuss.

:cheers:
 

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FJAG

Ta very much for the rundown.  It's going take me a minute or two to gather my thoughts based on that but I think you given me enough to continue making a fool of myself.

More to follow

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