Property rights bill ‘historic opportunity,’ says Smith

By Kuhl, Nick on November 15, 2014.

Nick Kuhl

Lethbridge Herald

[email protected]

Protecting Alberta’s property rights through new legislation and ultimately having them protected by Canadian charter is a “historic opportunity,” says the province’s opposition leader.

Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith, during a teleconference call with reporters Friday morning, said Motion 501 would entrench landowners rights for Albertans into the Constitution, thus upholding liberty and ensuring land is safeguarded against future government action.

Lethbridge MP Jim Hillyer, who introduced the similar Motion 520, which would add property rights to the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms in Alberta, in Parliament earlier this year, has publically supported the provincial initiative.

“I’m delighted that we’re able to work together in partnership, unify as federal and provincial allies, to stand up for property rights in Alberta,” Smith said.

“We believe that we need that constitutional amendment to make sure that if anybody has property in peril, or devalued in any way, they need to receive full justice and timely compensation,” she said.

“We have an historic opportunity to demonstrate Alberta’s commitment to property rights and making tangible change that would give landowners the protection they deserve.”

“The fight for property rights is a fight worth fighting; more importantly, it’s a fight worth winning,” Hillyer said.

“There have been many attempts by parliaments, prime ministers, governments of various parties, to make this change; to add property rights to the charter of rights and freedoms. I encourage all members of the legislature and in the House of Commons to take this opportunity to be more than just politicians, but be statesmen.”

Fox, who will present the bill in Edmonton on Nov. 24, says there is a clear need for people to care about landowner rights and have them written into the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Wildrose is encouraging members from across all parties to support the bill.

Cardston-Taber-Warner MLA Gary Bikman, who was on the teleconference call as well, has also expressed support, as did Alberta Premier Jim Prentice during a visit to Lethbridge on Thursday.