Protect property in Charter: Ont. politicians

By Brian Lilley, London Free Press

OTTAWA – A pair of Ontario politicians are hoping to change Canada’s Constitution to insert property rights into the Charter of Rights and Freedom.

Property rights were traditionally held to be part of common law and included in the bill of rights introduced by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in 1960.

“The bill of rights is a federal statute that does not impose restrictions on the provinces or municipalities,” Conservative MP Scott Reid told QMI Agency.  “Most of the intrusions on property rights are from provincial or municipal governments,” Reid said.

Property rights were not explicitly laid out as deserving of protection in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms brought in by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1982. Unlike Diefenbaker’s bill of rights, the Charter applies to provincial and municipal laws.

Ontario PC MPP Randy Hillier acknowledges once upon a time courts in Canada recognized property rights through the common law but he said recent judgments have diminished those rights.

“Constitutional law is the highest form of law, it governs all others,” Hillier said, explaining why he wants the Constitution amended.

The amendment he is proposing would only apply to Ontario, making the idea much easier to pass. Any amendment that affects the entire country needs the support of seven provinces representing more than 50% of the population.

A Constitutional amendment affecting only one province simply needs approval of the provincial legislature and the consent of Parliament.

Hillier points to land use designations – rules for how certain parcels of land can be used – as an example of municipal and provincial regulations, which infringe on property rights. If a municipal council changes the land use designation of a parcel of land it can affect the ability of the owner to use, sell or develop the land. But there is no requirement to compensate landowners for changing the rules of the game.

Hillier and Reid liken such rule changes to the government expropriating land without paying the landowner.

The two men will unveil their proposed amendment at a news conference at Queen’s Park on Thursday afternoon.

11 thoughts on “Protect property in Charter: Ont. politicians

  1. Similarly, one would conclude that if the owner of one property, let’s say Property Owner A, was to cause a neighbouring property, owned by Property Owner B, to sustain a loss in value, logically Property Owner A would be liable for any loss sustained by Property Owner B.

    Seems logical enough to me.

  2. Property protection rights should also be done in Ontario. Make this a sure thing in law on both the federal and provincial levels!!!

  3. The Provincial Conservative Party campaign manifesto starts to roll out.

    Go ahead, McShifty, expain to us why this is such a bad idea. Perhaps you can get your buddies at the Star to explain to us why this is a dumber than cheap beer.

    Up next, an Energy Bill of Rights?

  4. I’m not comfortable with this. Would this not allow an absentee landowner from throwing up turbines regardless of zoning?

    I am of the understanding land-based turbines in Denmark ceased to be planned following the introduction of a law protecting the value of neighbouring properties. Their approach is:
    “6.b. The loss-of -value scheme
    Any party erecting new wind turbines with a height of 25 metres or more, including offshore wind turbines erected without a government tender procedure, must pay for any loss of value on real property if the erection of the wind turbines results in a loss of at least 1% of the property value. In order to give neighbours the opportunity to assess the consequences of the wind turbine project, the erector must draw up information material on the project and invite the neighbours to a public information meeting. The material must include a list of the properties lying within a distance of up to six times the wind turbine’s total height.Energinet.dk, which must approve the information material, can require that the material should also include a visualisation of the project. The meeting must be convened with a reasonable period of notice by means of an announcement in local newspapers and must take place at the latest four weeks before the municipal planning process ends”

    http://www.ens.dk/Documents/Netboghandel%20-%20publikationer/Vedvarende%20energi/2009/HTML/Wind%20turbines%20in%20Denmark/pdf/978-87-7844-821-7.pdf

  5. With any turbine development I
    have seen/heard of, I don’t believe
    re-zoning has ever been an issue.

    You can see where Hillier and Reid
    are going with this amendment. If
    the Liberals perceive this as being an
    impediment to green energy development
    (which they will) they will vote it down.

  6. Like anything else you need to see the legislation to find out just what the legislation does. Needs to be subjected to legal scrutiny before enacted into law.

  7. madasabat

    I gather you have not heard about the petition of the Erie Shores Migratory Birds’ Advocates who petitioned Norfolk Council in July 2005 NOT to REZONE agricultural land into INDUSTRIAL zoning to permit the erection of 38 G.E. 1.5 MW IWT’s along the north shore of Lake Erie in the direct fly way of a Major Migratory Bird Corridor.

    Now, the thousands of Tundra Swans which once staged their flights to their nesting grounds in northern Canada no longer stay in the Long Point marshes, nor do they feed on the cornfields around the Clear Creek/Cultus/Frogmore IWT ZONE.

    I’ve been told that their migration pattern has taken them quite a distance ~ 5 – 10 km away. You can’t imagine how we miss them.

  8. These wind turbine developers don’t care about anything but money. Along with this they are willing to lie about everything that gets in their way.

  9. “These wind turbine developers don’t care about anything but money. Along with this they are willing to lie about everything that gets in their way.”

    100 thumbs up, truer words have nevwer been spoken

  10. oops should have used spell check. “truer words have never been spoken”

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