Gunter

‘Embassy’ claim just hypocrisy

By Lorne Gunter, Edmonton Sun

The duplex in Calgary where a man identified himself as a member of Freemen-on-the-Land and has claimed the rental property as an embassy. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI Agency)

The duplex in Calgary where a man identified himself as a member of Freemen-on-the-Land and has claimed the rental property as an embassy. (DARREN MAKOWICHUK/QMI Agency)

If the facts of the case are as reported, Andreas Pirelli is surely as guilty of stealing Rebekah Caverhill’s property (one half of a duplex) as he would be had he been able to stuff it in a duffle bag and run off with it.

Why then are authorities so unwilling to help the pensioner reclaim what is rightfully hers?

In 2011, Pirelli, a handyman, moved from Montreal to Calgary. Caverhill rented him half of a duplex in the modest Calgary neighbourhood of Parkdale.

In return for three months’ free rent, Pirelli agreed to do some reno work on the unit. Instead, according to Caverhill, Pirelli declared himself a Freeman-on-the-Land, essentially a sovereign citizen to whom Canadian laws and taxes do not apply.

Pirelli allegedly gutted much of Caverhill’s duplex, painted his bedroom black (all of it: walls, floors and ceiling) and then declared it an embassy for his sovereign state of ... well, his sovereign state of himself.

Actually, members of the Freeman movement often use the word “sovran” rather than sovereign because to them sovereign means the sovereignty of the state — or as they call it “the System of the Thing.” (Don’t try to follow the logic. There isn’t any.)

Pirelli, who claims to be Senior Chief Justice at Tacit Supreme in Law Court for Sovran Nations Embassies (whatever that is), then changed the locks. And when Caverhill came to inspect his work, he threw her out yelling, “This is an embassy house now and it’s mine and you have no rights.”

To add insult to injury, Pirelli then had a lien put against Caverhill’s title claiming she had failed to pay him for the renos he did, presumably gutting the bathroom and kitchen and vandalizing the bedroom.

The irony is, one of the core complaints of the Freeman movement — one of the principal reasons they claim independence from the real world — is that governments don’t respect private property. But then Pirelli turns around and completely disregards Rebekah Caverhill’s property rights.

Freemen also claim the laws of the countries in which they live don’t apply to them. Yet Pirelli is using Alberta’s builders’ liens laws and landlord and tenant laws to keep Caverhill tied up in courts and bureaucracies, the legitimacy of which he claims not to recognize.

Irony isn’t the only word that applies. Hypocrisy works, too. Freemen such as Pirelli cannot claim at one and the same time to be exempt from Canada’s and Alberta’s laws and be protected by them, too.

Alberta, like most provinces, has complex laws to guard tenants from unjust or hasty eviction. Fair enough. But Pirelli claims not to recognize the validity of provincial laws over him.

That cuts both ways. While a sovereign citizen (as opposed to a “sovran” one) might expect to stay put in his rental accommodation while his landlord gives 90 days’ notice or seeks a court order for his earlier removal, shouldn’t Pirelli be offended the state and the law are protecting him?

What is especially frustrating is police are timid about helping Caverhill regain her property. They have told her her complaint is a civil matter, not a criminal one, so they cannot help. That’s not true. Police help in civil actions all the time.

But even if it were true, surely what Pirelli is doing to Caverhill’s property is trespass.

Thankfully, Manmeet Bhullar, the provincial minister responsible for landlord and tenant issues, is now helping Caverhill work through the system to have Pirelli evicted. But it shouldn’t have taken national publicity of her case to help politicians and police find the necessary backbone.

 


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