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Friday, January 6, 2017

Stier - Bill 210 would correct past wrongs on property rights

MLA Pat Stier
Wildrose Party - Wildrose Livingstone-Macleod MLA Pat Stier introduced a private member's bill last session that would fundamentally improve a number of bad property rights laws on the Alberta books, the Wildrose Official Opposition said on January 5.

Bill 210 would correct the draconian legislation in the former Bill 36, the Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA), which was proclaimed into law in 2009 by the former PC government as a mechanism for the province to develop vast land use plans without respecting the rights of Alberta landowners. Currently, ALSA allows Cabinet to amend or cancel existing rights held under licenses, permits, leases, approvals or any form of governmental approval issued by the province, a municipality or government agency. The act also leaves compensation largely to the discretion of the Minister in charge and denies any ability for landowners to appeal decisions through the courts.

"It's time for the Legislature to put the most offensive parts of these bad laws out to pasture and secure the property rights of land and business owners once and for all," Stier said. "The NDP used to talk a big game on property rights, but they've dragged their feet on repealing the worst aspects of Bill 36 since coming to power. This Bill is an opportunity for the NDP, and all parties in the Legislature, to do the right thing, and join the Wildrose call for the fair treatment of Alberta landowners."

Bill 210 would amend Bill 36 and restore the rights of landowners taken in ALSA by legislating:
  • the right to fair hearings to mitigate harm;
  • the right to recourse through the courts; and,
  • the right to fair and timely compensation.

Additionally, Bill 210 seeks to amend the Responsible Energy Development Act (also known as 2012's "Bill 2"), which took away the statutory right of a landowner whose rights are impacted by decisions from the Alberta Energy Regulator by legislating:
  • the right to proper notice; and,
  • the right to fair hearings to mitigate harm.

"So long as these draconian laws are on the books in their current condition, there will continue to be a breakdown of trust between landowners and government," Stier said. "There's no sidestepping this issue for the NDP. The changes in Bill 210 are well overdue, and I look forward to all members of the Legislature supporting them."

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