against the property rights of Alberta landowners and the significant amounts of rights landowners have already lost. But recent events have forced me to amend my letter.
My letter included information and comments around Bill 19, 36, 24, 50, 1 and the government’s significant abuse of the water act. Property rights have been significantly eroded over the past five years with that erosion accelerating over the past year. I also had comments about Premier Prentice’s decision to choose a flood mitigation project that would take private land in Springbank rather than choose the proposed project that would use public lands at McLean Creek.
Last Thursday, a group of concerned private land owners investing their own time and money held a meeting at Trochu hall with about 400 attending. I offer a well done, THANK YOU and congratulations to these individuals. (Please remember the Surface rights board was created by this government and the members are appointed by this government.)
The speakers laid out clearly how the Surface Rights Board had made rulings and hung landowners out to dry causing stress and requiring them to expend unnecessary legal fees. Mr. Prentice’s PC government knew of this but stood by and did nothing. One of the attendees was floor crosser Kerry Towles -and shock of shocks- within five days her boss Premier Prentice suddenly became concerned about landowners’ property rights, holding a campaign style event in Three Hills and writing letters to the editor.
During Premier Prentice’s run for the leadership, he said property rights were a significant issue for him, he intended to restore what Albertans had lost and that it would be his number 1 issue. This gave many of us some hope. The Premier’s solution was to introduce Bill 1, a short piece of legislation that did nothing. Bill 1 repealed Bill 19, the very intrusive land assembly act sponsored by Minister Jack Hayden. We can pretend that meant something but in fact Bill 19 had never been proclaimed and was not law. In addition, the threat of Bill 19 had served its purpose as the PC government had managed to obtain right of way for the unnecessary sole source power lines, which will add thousands of dollars to every Albertans power bill.
I have spent a few days reading Hansard for the fall session. During the debate of Bill 1 and during question period, the Wildrose constantly told the PCs about the flaws and dangers in Bill 36 and several other bills. The PC government refused to change Bill 36. On Dec. 3, in the house regarding Bill 36 Mr. Fawcett said “we are committed to that legislation”. On Nov. 20, Mr Fawcett said “Mr. Speaker, no, we will not repeal Bill 36. This is a piece of legislation that is very, very important to our integrated resource management system that will allow us to develop our resources and our economy in a very responsible manner”.
There are numerous instances where the PC government staunchly defended their bills that diminish or destroy Albertans property rights. According to the register, Premier Prentice was in the house. If he cares, why did he not speak up? If Premier Prentice cared about our property rights, why did Bill 1 not contain all necessary measures to restore the rights the PC government has extinguished?
I find it sad when a premier’s actions do not match their words; we had two and a half years of that kind of government under Premier Redford and it was hard on Albertans. Many of Premier Prentice’s candidates were part of that government.
We are in the middle of an unnecessary election. This is still a relatively free country and you have a chance to vote as you wish.
All I ask of you is that should you chose to vote PC or should you chose not to vote, that you have the character to gracefully accept the loss of your property rights; they have shown you what you should expect.