REALLY BAD LEGISLATIONS IN ALBERTA
in BILLS 19 & 36, a fundamental power grab from municipalities)
This website has never characterized or identified the actions of any government in Canada with such strong language. But the valid suggestion comes directly from the Alberta website, Real Agriculture. (http://realagriculture.com, under word search "soviet union", and its resultant web page)
Consider the following analysis and descriptive comments by Alberta lawyer Keith Wilson recorded in a 15-minute radio interview posted on that web site - you may not believe your own ears! :
The province of Alberta, under the "Progressive" Conservative Party, passed Bill 36 in 2009. American-born Ted Morton, who recently ran for Premier of Alberta, was the author of the legislation. (Check out backgrounders on Morton. I.e. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ted_Morton)
Keith Wilson summarizes that the legislation "overrides or takes away many of the important responsibilities that municipalities and communities have as leaders on land use planning in their communities".
Under Section 11 of Bill 36, it grants power to the government of Alberta, under new Regional Plans, to "extinguish" "land titles", "free-hold mineral titles", "water licenses", "grazing leases", "development permits", "area structure plans", "sub-division approvals", "pipeline permits", etc.
Under Section 19, it states that no compensation is payable.
Under Section 15, an Albertan has "no right of any recourse to the Courts, and the Courts have no authority to grant you any remedy!"
Wilson, who undertook a research paper the Legal Society on Bills 19 and 36, states that "these are drastic provisions, unprecedented in a Western Parliamentary Democracy".
The question put to Wilson in the radio interview by Shaun Haney was on whether there was the possibility of the misuse of power under these legislations. Wilson states:
Absolutely. History has shown us is that is what happens. ... This notion of centralized planning has been tried before ... it's been tried in eastern Europe, and history has shown that it is a complete failure! The further you move away from moving power and decision-making away from the people that are affected by the decisions, the less effective those decisions are and you get poorer decision-making. ... The problem is Section 17, sub 4, of the Land Stewardship Act, Bill 36, says the Land Stewardship Act trumps every other Act. It's paramount! It wipes out those protections! It allows the Cabinet to use their authority under the Land Stewardship Act to do whatever they want! Just because there is protections in these other laws, they don't apply, because Section 17, subsection 4, says the Regional Plan trumps!
One of the hallmarks of the British Tradition, whether its Britain, whether in fact it's the United States, whether it's Australia or countries in Europe, is that we have the Courts there to protect citizens and their property from capricious and arbitrary acts of government. That is one of their fundamental roles. If you feel a government has treated you badly, you can go to a court and put it to a judge. That's the hallmark of one of our freedoms, and they've taken it away through Section 15.
This legislation is 'retroactive'. Normally legislation applies going forward. ... Another principal of our legal system is non-retroactivity. This legislation is written to be expressly retroactive. ... That's why it is so troubling for me, and the many other lawyers who have read this legislation, that's what it says, and it is exceptionally difficult to believe that this government, let alone any thinking government, would pass this type of law.
Let me put one other point on the table. In view of the awareness that is growing, because the Regional Planning process is now on in southern Alberta - it's game time for people down there - the government is saying, 'Oh, don't worry, the Bill of Rights will protect you.' That's completely false. The Alberta Bill of Rights will not protect you. The Courts have been clear ... have consistently said if a Legislature enacts a piece of legislation, such as Bill 36, that provides a mechanism for property to be taken, and that same legislation provides either no mechanism for compensation or says no compensation is payable, the Bill of Rights won't protect you. This notion - oh, don't worry, these bad things with these new powers, you won't be harmed by it because you can protect yourself by claming the Bill of Rights - is legally false, it's incorrect, it's wrong.
Under this legislation "there is no opportunity for an appeal if Cabinet designates your land as 'change of use', and any of your existing rights are taken".
The legislations may largely and assumedly benefit energy companies operating in Alberta.
WHERE IS WESTERN CANADA HEADED?
Remember what the BC Liberals did in British Columbia in 2006? They passed Bill 30, overriding the intervening Land Use Decision powers by Third Level governments (Regional Districts, Municipalities) on issues related to Run of River hydro-electric development proposals. Remember how incensed the Union of B.C. Municipalities was and how the provincial government simply ignored its conference resolution concerns as the developments were happily proceeding and unfolding? (while removing and revising provincial environmental legislations and regulations). What is presently occurring in Alberta is a more severe or radical sort of legislation.
Lawyer Keith Wilson says, before the occurrence of the upcoming election (and the possibility of a new government being elected and then removing this draconian legislation), is that the present legislation should be immediately REPEALED!
Here are the words printed on the Alberta web site, Real Agriculture, by Shaun Haney:
I have to admit that I have missed the boat on this one. I have been hearing many different people talk about the Land Stewardship Act and why as a farmer you should be concerned about it. At first glance I thought it had to do with re-classifying land for environmental concerns but the reality is that it is way more than that. The cabinet has given itself the power to re-classify land depending on what it deems as the best for it’s long term area planning. This essentially takes the power out of the hands of the local municipalities and has potentially very negative affects for agriculture, oil patch and acreage owners.
Yesterday I interviewed Keith Wilson, Wilson Law Office, about Bill 36 – Land Stewardship Act and why as a landowner in Alberta you need to be very concerned about what the PC cabinet is trying or going to do. The interview is 15 minutes but believe me you will not believe what you are hearing.
If you cannot see the below embedded video, click here
As Keith Wilson mentions in the interview, it is hard to believe that the provincial government is actually granting itself this kind of power. To be able to have this kind of power in people that are potentially so detached from the ground floors of reality is incredibly dangerous and scary. Giving the provincial cabinet the power to re-classify land without even the consideration for appeal or compensation is ridiculous. This kind of central planning seems to be the philosophy for the Stelmach government. Why are we moving to central planning in Alberta? Whether it is health super boards or central land planning, the government seems to think that it can do a better job than local health boards or municipalities.
Being able to overrule
pre-approved NRCB permits or disregarding how
land has been used for 100 years is what this bill accomplishes for the
I suggest that you take the time to listen to the 15 minute interview above with Keith Wilson and get engaged in the outrage towards this bill. Apparently in Alberta, your land is not your land. The Alberta Government has decided that they are now the decision makers for land use in the province and there is essentially nothing that you can do about it. Welcome to the Soviet Union…..errrrrr……..Alberta.