Letter To The Editor From The Hon. Jim Prentice

To the editor:

As Albertans, we care deeply about our natural world and we feel a connection to the land and our environment. I’ve never met a farmer or a rancher who isn’t a conservationist. Yet, we are also an oil and gas producing province.

Landowners sometimes face situations where their rights come into conflict with the energy industry. In certain troubling cases, landowners have been pushed to the back of the line when a company with whom they had a lease agreement to use their land – Petroglobe Inc. – filed for bankruptcy, and failed to make their yearly lease payments to them. The decision not to enforce the payment was made by the Alberta Surface Rights Board.

This isn’t right. No landowner should have his or her property rights shoved aside in bureaucratic battles. Landowners deserve to have their rights protected, and that’s what our government will continue to do.

To help the landowners who have not received their payments due to these bureaucratic hurdles at the Alberta Surface Rights Board, a re-elected Progressive Conservative government under my leadership will be formally requesting that the Board reconsider its decisions in these cases. The Board’s role should be to look out for landowners, and a PC government will ensure that they do.

Property Rights are a cornerstone of our agenda. That’s why the first piece of legislation we put forward in the Fall was one to further protect property rights in this province. Bill 1, the Respecting Property Rights Act, states that private ownership of land is a fundamental element of Parliamentary democracy in Alberta.

For my entire adult life, I’ve fought for property rights – including in one of Alberta’s best-known environmental cases in the Whaleback region in the early 1990s. I was fortunate to work for the great ranching families of the Maycroft area who were determined to protect this pristine region from development by Amoco.

Jim Prentice
Leader, Progressive Conservative Association of Alberta​