A Merry Christmas message to all our friends. By Tom Black

Tom BlackIt is getting close to the holiday season and I would like to take this opportunity to extend a very hearty “Merry Christmas” to all our friends, from all of us at the Ontario Landowners Association.

This has been a very busy year for many landowner chapters, as more and more people have been calling to see if we can give them some information about what rights they have or don’t have. For many of the people who call, it is their first time to question the authority of whatever government agency that may be knocking on their door. For the most part, people in general know when their rights are being trampled. A lawyer once told me, when you get that feeling in your gut, that what is happening to you is wrong, then it probably is. People call us because they don’t know where else to turn. Most have tried to get help from their elected representatives and have got the run around or are just ignored. Their questions are always the same. Can they legally do this to me? With the thousands of acts, laws and bylaws involving all kinds of government agencies, boards, authorities, commissions and even charity associations, all targeting individual property owners using their alleged powers of entry and control, that they believe the government has granted them, it is no wonder that people do not know if they have any rights at all.

The justice system has contributed to the problem, starting with police who don’t recognize their duty to protect the individual not only from criminals, but also from government sanctioned individuals who have been misinformed about their authority. The lawyers hired by property owners often try to make a deal with the authority to lessen the cost of the fine, rather than stand hard on ‘principle’, because that hard stand is life destroying by the stress it causes from dragging it out for years in court and from huge legal costs that rob a family of all its wealth. According to statistics, the result is that many people have been defending themselves in court. This can be successful if the individual is a good debater and gets up to speed on court procedure and the points of law involved in their case. Many people however, are not comfortable in the role and in some cases have had a friend stand in for them in court. This usually brings the Law Society of Ontario into the picture. They have a monopoly, sanctioned by the government that says you cannot practise law unless they endorse you. It seems to be that this is something like the taxi business and maybe we need some ‘Uber’ lawyers to take our cases.

To get back to property rights, just remember, if you own property, then you own a part of the 13% of Ontario that is privately owned because the other 87% of the land is public or crown land. However, virtually all the laws and bylaws have been created to try and control the 13% that is private. The answer folks is to learn what your rights are. Stand together with your fellow landowners because as a group, we have the power to resist this takeover. Close your gates, put up your ‘no trespassing’ or ‘Back off Government’ signs and do not allow people from any agency, government or private on your property without a warrant, unless you are comfortable with them and their agenda.