Gateway Gazette

Let’s Fix Property Rights

By Pat Stier, MLA

In 2009, Bill 36, the Alberta Land Stewardship Act (ALSA), was proclaimed into law so the government of the day could develop vast land-use plans without landowner rights getting in the way.  

Some of the more controversial clauses in ALSA are Section 11, which states thatthe government’s regional plans can amend or rescind existing rights, including development rights, resource extraction rights, mining rights, water licenses, grazing leases and any dispositions, approvals or permits issued by the Alberta government; Section 13, which states that landowners cannot appeal land-use decisions through the courts; and Section 15(3), which bars landowners from making a claim against the government for fair compensation. 

Wildrose has been calling for changes to these and other negative aspects of the legislation for years, and I’m proud to be renewing this effort in the Legislature once again. 

Back in December, I introduced Bill 210 – the Protection of Property Rights Statutes Amendment Act – a private member’s bill that aims to correct the draconian clauses in Bill 36 and restore the democratic rights of landowners. 

My Bill would protect landowners 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 on major governmental decisions and the right to fair hearings as they would relate to these decisions. 

Bill 210 will likely be debated this spring and I look forward to all parties in the Legislature doing the right thing and joining the Wildrose call for the fair treatment of Alberta landowners. You can read the bill at www.assembly.ab.ca.    

The NDP claims to be on the side of landowners, but they’ve shown little to no interest in fixing ALSA since coming to power in 2015. 

There’s no sidestepping this issue for the NDP. The changes in Bill 210 are long past due. There can be no trust between landowners and government until this happens, and this is a government that would do well to start earning a little bit of trust from Albertans. 

I urge any and all concerned Albertans who aren’t currently represented by a Wildrose MLA to reach out to their MLA and say enough is enough: please support Bill 210 and the rights of landowners. 

It is time for the Legislature to put the most offensive aspects of ALSA out to pasture and restore the fundamental property rights of Albertans. 

Pat Stier is the Wildrose Shadow Minister for Municipal Affairs and the MLA for Livingstone-Macleod

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