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Wildrose motion would be first step in entrenching Alberta landowner rights in Charter of Rights and Freedoms

CALGARY, AB (November 13, 2014): Today, the Wildrose was joined by federal Conservative Lethbridge MP Jim Hillyer to announce a new legislative motion that will be the first step in entrenching Alberta landowner rights in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

Motion 501, to be introduced by Wildrose Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Rod Fox, supports a new amendment to the constitution guaranteeing the protection of real property, and all rights connected to that property, for all Albertans. 

The amendment would apply only to the government of Alberta in respect of all matters within the authority of the legislature of Alberta.  The motion will act in concert with Hillyer’s Motion 520, introduced in parliament earlier this year, which asks the House of Commons to support an amendment to the Charter to enshrine property rights for Alberta.

“Landowners are the best stewards of our beautiful landscapes and they deserve to have their rights fully protected so they can manage their property with minimal interference from government,” Wildrose Leader Danielle Smith said.  “This kind of positive constitutional change is possible and critical for advancing property rights in Alberta. I hope that after Mr. Prentice’s campaign commitments this past summer, both he and his government will fully support this motion.”

Under section 43 of the Constitution Act, if a constitutional amendment applies to one or more provinces, but not all of them, the amendment requires only the support of the province to which it applies with resolutions by the Senate and House of Commons, and of the legislative assembly of each province where the amendment applies.

Section 43 has been successfully used to amend the constitution seven times, including once to amend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

“Thanks to Mr. Hillyer, we are on the cusp of an exciting opportunity to give landowners in Alberta a rock-solid guarantee of their rights,” Fox said.  “With the support of our PC, Liberal and NDP colleagues, we can in one stroke ensure any current or future government will no longer be able to infringe on the property rights of landowners in our province.”

If Motion 501 receives the support of the Alberta legislature, the passing of Motion 520 federally would successfully amend the Charter of Rights and Freedoms to enshrine property rights for Albertans.

Hillyer said that the passing of Motion 501 will send a strong signal to Ottawa and be a major victory for the cause of property rights.

“This is a fight worth fighting; but more importantly, it is a fight worth winning.  I am thankful for the work of Gary Bikman and Rod Fox and my provincial colleagues who have championed this cause,” Hillyer said. “I encourage all my friends and colleagues in all parties in the legislature to step up and do what is right.  With the full backing of Alberta, we will be one more step closer to cementing Alberta landowner rights in Ottawa.”