Saugeen Landowners Association 2023 Newsletter

Well, we’re finally out from under the restrictions of the Pandemic. Over the past 2 ½ years the Saugeen Regional Landowners Association (SRLA) has been busy, despite those restrictions.

In late 2019 – early 2020 Bob, and members of the OLA Executive, attended a number of meetings with the provincial government, regarding the Conservation Authorities (C.A.s). This representation is priceless because in 2020 the Conservation Authorities were put on notice, by the government, that they were to be put back to their original mandate. This was great news for all Landowners throughout Ontario! This has been on-going, over the past few years, and there has been good response from the government in regards to our continued advocacy of upholding private property/land rights v. the C.A.s. This work continues but without the hard work of Bob and the Executive we wouldn’t be nearly as far along as we are.

It was also in 2019 that the OLA had success with the OSPCA and the over-zealous actions of their enforcement teams. Unfortunately, the PAWS Act now seems to have employed the very people who caused the problems, and why the OLA challenged the legislation, in the first place. Our success, though, has helped others who have been falsely accused of animal cruelty, but this will continue until there is some common sense brought back to the enforcement teams. We do not believe in animal cruelty, but we also need to be concerned when government officers do not use reality as a guide when enforcing legislation. Some agents seem to have forgotten there are already rules in place on how to treat animals and yet some would go as far as to go after a farmer because his mule’s hooves seemed a little long and he couldn’t get a farrier to come during the pandemic. Seems the mule’s hooves had not been naturally worn down because of the soft soil (spring) and during winter (snow), so there was this anonymous complaint lodged.

He and his sons trimmed those hooves but the enforcement team brought out 2 or 3 vets from one of the larger urban centres, with their portable x-ray machines, to ensure the farmer had trimmed the hooves properly. It seemed this was not good enough and, oh, what they were going to do to the farmer. Thankfully an OLA member stepped up and assisted this farmer so that there wasn’t thousands of dollars in fines; the mule got to stay with the farmer; and a farrier was found.

It was also in 2019 that “tree preservation by-laws” reared their ugly heads, again. With the work of Bob, OLA researcher Elizabeth Marshall, and other members of the SRLA one such By-law is sitting in limbo, but this, again, is an on-going issue. Now it seems Grey County is gearing up to create another unlawful By-law. Bob is going to be doing a delegation to Grey County, if he’s allowed to, by the County.

There have been other issues the SRLA have assisted with, over the past 2 ½ years, but with the pandemic it’s been hard to get the information out. Bob and Liz had attended a property in Grey Highlands (C.A issue); Bob’s been busy many times throughout the County due to Conservation Authorities, etc.,; there was the mule incident; various tree by-laws; meetings regarding other matters involving government, etc.

In 2020 Elizabeth had been elected as Chairperson for the Canadian Justice Review Board (CJRB). This was a 2 year stint and during that time the CJRB made comment to the federal government, a number of times on federal legislation, senate bills, and the actions of the federal government. She communicated to the Government that the Emergencies Act usage did not meet the criteria allowed (whether Justice Rouleau determine otherwise or not). Rouleau did say, though:

“I do not come to this conclusion easily, as I do not consider the factual basis for it to be overwhelming. Reasonable and informed people could reach a different conclusion than the one I have arrived at.” 

So, now it will be up to the Courts to decide.

A major win for the OLA, as intervenors, was the “Annapolis Group Inc. v. Halifax Regional Municipality, 2022 SCC 36,” where private property/land rights were upheld at the Supreme Court of Canada. With the ruling one might think Liz was whispering in the Judge’s ear. Mind you, she did say it didn’t go far enough – but this was a really good start and a very good ruling, in favour of the people of Canada and for private land/property rights. Let’s hope this trend continues.

Suffice it to say, Bob and the SRLA have been very busy and our membership continues to grow. That said, Bob is only one person so any help he can get (because he won’t ask because he doesn’t want to impose) would be appreciated. Same can be said for the members of the Executive in the OLA. Throughout the pandemic all we heard was that “we were in this together.” It could be said that those saying that don’t really know what that statement means. On the other hand, we, in the OLA/SRLA, do understand that we are “all in this together” and we all are there for each other, when needed. Thank you to all of those who continue the good deeds you’re doing and only with a united voice can we all win!

Thank you and we all look forward to seeing you at the next meeting!