Wilson returns to fight bills

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  • Jul. 20, 2011 10:00 a.m.

Ponoka and district landowners will get another chance to hear property rights advocate Keith Wilson address Alberta’s controversial land bill package.

Wilson, who was recently named by Alberta Venture Magazine as one of the 50 most influential people in the province, will be the keynote speaker at events sponsored by local landowner groups and LandownersAgainstBills.com. He will be in Clive July 26 at 7 p.m. at the Clive Community Hall, and Aug. 8 in Ponoka, 7 p.m. at the Moose Hall.

“Because the PC government is absolutely not listening to what thousands of Alberta ranchers and farmers are saying about the land bills it has passed, which are laws openly hostile toward property rights in the province, an extensive series of rallies and meetings are going to be held across Alberta this summer,” says Wilson, an Edmonton area lawyer and landowner representative who serves as the Alberta policy chair for the Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowner Associations (CAEPLA).

He said the government has thus far refused to act upon calls to reverse its land bill package, known as Bills 19, 24, 36, and 50. The calls for reversal have been coming from thousands of landowners across the province. And the province’s leading industrial and food processing associations are also on record saying that unless the government reconsiders its actions, as a direct result of just one of these bills, thousands of jobs will be lost and the province’s food processing industry will suffer major and permanent loss.

“Bill 36 alone, gives politicians in the cabinet room the central planning powers to say what every piece of private property and Crown land in the province can and cannot be used for. The bill gives cabinet the power to override all local municipal governments when it comes to saying what a piece of land can and cannot be used for, or what its designated use will be,” he explained. “The bill even gives cabinet the power to unilaterally, and without cause, terminate or rescind legal agreements, leases and approvals held by property owners and Alberta businesses, and then deny them access to the courts, legal procedures and fair compensation,” Wilson said.

Wilson believes Bill 36 means politicians at a cabinet meeting, with all the windows closed and the doors tightly locked — without going to court or talking to a judge, can terminate or rescind grazing leases, water licenses, development contracts, oil leases, permits for dairy barns, feedlots, and much more. And under Bill 36, when it comes to land use, cabinet’s decisions trump every decision made by a municipality and by every provincial regulatory body including the Surface Rights Board, the ERCB and Alberta Environment.