Protecting our Property Rights by Catherine Mitchell

Published June 1, 2017

The eroding of our property rights has occurred through ignorance of the property laws of this country. The political decision makers be they tribunals, municipal, provincial and/or federal representatives are ignorant of the property laws accorded citizens of Canada through English Common Law, French Civil Law and the Canadian Constitution – in which the Charter of Rights and Freedoms includes human rights that are so fundamental no Parliament can pass laws that violate them.

Our legal system is not working for the common man. The system is expensive to engage; impossible to understand; time consuming; and decisions are based on minute technicalities. The spirit of the law and the intention of the law has given way to complicated legal processes. Often the person or group that can hire the most expensive lawyer wins the decision at the expense of the common man.
We have become a nation of decision makers where fact checking has given way to a majority vote. So, the thinking is that “as your elected representative I will make the decisions for you.” Rather paternalistic and not working when lack of knowledge and lack of due diligence means decisions are based on opinion and popularity but not the laws of this country.

Consider the Green Energy Act – rules and regulations were changed with the stroke of a pen; little discussion was allowed and many rural residents have had their property rights violated with no compensation.

We are overburdened with opinions. In the 1970’s we adopted the approach that everyone’s opinion matters – as in “I value your opinion– I am listening to you.” This has morphed into “Your opinion is valid.” So, every opinion is equally valid and no correction is allowed. Validity has been replaced by popularity. Fact finding and evidence based research take too long; the best conclusions are inconclusive – “more research is required”; the wording is too scientific or legalistic; and no one wants to be held accountable so decisions are made that support the ideology of the people in power or the highest paid lawyer.

Really, we have become a country with the legal system controlled by the group with the most money, which erodes the very democracy upon which this country was built.

This letter was submitted to the Blue Ribbon Panel on Property Rights and copied to Tom Black for publication in the Landowner Magazine.