May 25, 2016
NDP should justify excessive language infringing on property and privacy rights in Bill 20: Cooper
The NDP government needs to justify why Bill 20, the carbon tax bill, gives it the power to enter virtually any property or computer in Alberta, and conduct warrantless searches, Wildrose Shadow Property Rights Minister Nathan Cooper said today.
The full powers described to enter lands without a warrant are listed under Part 3 of Bill 20. Section 53 specifically grants powers for the Minister or any person delegated by the minister to enter onto a property in order to carry out the wide-ranging purposes of the legislation.
Although it excludes “dwelling spaces” in some circumstances, Section 54 allows for the government to enter any property in relation to the bill and conduct an inspection, audit or examination of, “any premises used by the person in connection with the … use of fuel,” without a warrant or any other court sanction.
“On top of the heavy cost to families, the overreach written into this bill should be a concern to all Albertans,” Cooper said. “It impacts virtually every landowner or Albertan who has or uses fuel on their property. The NDP government certainly owes Albertans an explanation about why they think it’s necessary to have a law that grants it excessive powers for searches and investigations. Albertans can certainly expect Wildrose to be pushing for this bill to be sent to committee for further study.”
The bill also includes computer hardware under the definition of property, which extends to any phone, tablet or personal computer, and which allows the government to, in certain circumstances, access hardware without proper checks and balances in place.
“Common sense Albertans simply won’t tolerate language like this being rushed through the legislature without any changes,” Cooper said. “There need to be amendments passed to guarantee that there are protections in place for all concerned Albertans.”