Scott Reid urges all Conservatives to support Andrew Scheer’s property rights policyFebruary 2, 2017
MP Scott Reid (Lanark-Frontenac-Kingston) today urged support for Andrew Scheer’s announcement that he favours adding property rights guarantees to the Charter of Rights and Freedoms. He made the following comments:
“The right to private property, the enjoyment of it, and the right not to be deprived of it except by due process of law is a fundamental tenet of democracy and liberty. It is a right of all Canadians, and it deserves full constitutional protection. I’m happy to see Andrew Scheer’s announcement of support for adding property rights to the Canadian constitution.
“The lack of constitutional protection for the private property rights of Canadians means that the rights of Canadians can be treated as second-class under NAFTA. Canadians deserve the same property rights that foreign companies enjoy in Canada, and shouldn’t be second-class in their own country.
“Entrenching property rights in our constitution is necessary, now more than ever. The current suite of expropriation laws on the books federally and in each province and territory lack the constitutional strength to adequately protect the private property rights of Canadians in the face of determined governments and international treaty obligations.
“I applaud Andrew Scheer’s support for property rights, and I encourage Canadians who care about protecting property rights to support Andrew for the leadership of the Conservative Party of Canada.”
Canada’s constitution contains no provision protecting citizens, in any province, against financially ruinous, uncompensated expropriation or imposition of restrictions on the use of their property that damage the property’s value. The Canadian Bill of Rights, 1960, makes explicit mention of the right of the individual to enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law. However, the Canadian Bill of Rights is a federal statute, not binding upon any province. All provinces and territories maintain expropriation acts and protections, but these too are simple statutes. By adding this amendment to the Canadian Constitution, any applicable province would be constitutionally bound to respect the rights of property owners, and offer compensation for actions that would deprive landowners from the title, use, or enjoyment of all or part of their land.
A province-specific amendment to Canada’s constitution only requires that the Federal Parliament and the Provincial Legislature in question vote to pass identical resolutions (motions) for the amendment to become constitutionally-entrenched law (pursuant to section 43 of the Constitution Act, 1982).
In 2011, Mr. Reid proposed a motion in the House of Commons to effect this proposal for Ontario. Ontario MPP Randy Hillier (Lanark-Frontenac-Lennox & Addington) moved a companion motion in the Ontario Legislature. In 2014, the late Mr. Jim Hillyer, M.P. (Medicine Hat-Cardston-Warner), moved a similar motion for Alberta in the House of Commons, accompanied by a companion motion by Alberta MLA Rod Fox (Lacombe-Ponoka) in the Alberta legislature.
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