United Conservatives Announce Plan to Restore Public Trust on Property Rights

Eight specific commitments to ensure Albertans are protected from the day-to-day whims of government

RED DEER, AB: A United Conservative government will bring in a series of specific measures to establish Alberta as a world leader in the protection of property rights.

The UCP’s plan to restore public trust on property rights includes eight commitments, outlined by MLAs Wes Taylor and Jason Nixon.

“Under the UCP, you can expect fair compensation when necessary public projects require access to or use of your private property. You should not be forced to fight government to be awarded fair compensation for government-imposed costs on private property. If government imposes regulatory costs, or takes action that devalues your property, you deserve compensation and we will ensure you get it,” said Taylor, who serves as the UCP Caucus Spokesman on property rights.

“Finally, and perhaps most importantly, when disputes do occur, we will ensure that your right to own and enjoy property will never be deprived without due process of law.”

The UCP plan to restore public trust on property rights includes:

A new Alberta Property Rights Protection Act that will further entrench the right not to be deprived of enjoyment or use of property without due process of law. This legislation will include:

  • A proposed amendment to the Constitution to enshrine property rights, using the Section 43 amendment formula. This would require a referendum of Albertans to comply with the Alberta Constitutional Referendum Act, to be held along with Municipal Elections and Senate Nominee Elections in the fall of 2021.
  • Amending the Land Titles Act to bar adverse possession claims, so that Alberta is no longer the only province that allows squatters to make legal claims to someone else’s property.
  • Following the lead of many developed countries by treating government regulation in the same way as government expropriation for the purposes of compensation.
  • Preserving the right of governments to expropriate and regulate for the public good, while ensuring that government regulation is treated in a similar fashion to government expropriation when it comes to compensation for private property owners.

The UCP plan to protect property rights also includes:

  • Tasking a Legislature Committee with reviewing relevant legislation and government policies to determine whether changes are needed to ensure compliance with property rights.
  • Ensuring government departments and agencies, boards and commissions account for any potential costs and/or loss of value to private property in new regulatory proposals
  • Creating a Property and Farmer’s Rights Advocate Office out of the existing two offices to reduce duplication of roles and operations, and to provide more focused support for Albertans, particularly in rural areas.

“At the heart of our approach is the firm belief that property rights, including landowner rights, are inherent civil rights. What you are seeing today from the UCP is that we’re willing to put our money where our mouth is, and ensure Albertans are protected by law from the day-to-day whims of any government, including a UCP government,” said Nixon.

“Both the Canadian and the Alberta Bill of Rights enshrine ‘enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law,’ a principle rooted in our common law dating all the way back to the Magna Carta,” Taylor remarked. “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights does the same, stating that ‘everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in association with others. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.’”

“Property rights are an essential part of a free society,” Taylor continued. “This UCP plan will make Alberta a world leader in protecting these rights, a key part of our vision for an Alberta that is strong and free.”

A comprehensive backgrounder with additional details on today’s announcement can be found here. (PDF)