The Provinces intent to expand the Greenbelt

Regarding the Provinces intent to expand the Greenbelt over additional rural and non-urban lands by President Don Johnson,  B.Sc.Agr., Hamilton-Halton Landowner Association

On behalf of the Hamilton-Halton Landowner Association we make the following comments:

Canada is founded on some simple concepts which include “all citizens have equal rights“, and, “no citizen is to be made to bear the cost of society more than any other citizen”.

The Canadian Constitution identifies how governments are to work, the ranking of authority, the authority of the Province of Ontario and the limits to this authority.

Firstly: The use of the Greenbelt which effectively makes rural greenbelt citizens and property owners second class, when compared to property owners and citizens in the non-greenbelt area, especially the white zones identified for urban expansion, is contrary to the Canadian constitution Bill of rights, and further, is contrary to 800 hundred years of common law regarding property rights, which is the foundation of law in the Province of Ontario.

Expanding the Greenbelt restriction onto more property owners amounts to an expanding act of “injurious affection”, as is defined by the Expropriation Act of Ontario, upon more of the rural citizens for the benefit of urban citizens.

Secondly: The authority of the Province over much of the rural lands privately owned in the Province is highly questionable. There are roughly 20 million acres in Ontario of private owned lands owned “Fee Simple” with the foundation of the property owner’s ownership based on registered, Imperial Pre-Confederation Crown Grants. These are trusts established by the Crown and Section 109 of the Constitution of Canada specifically states the province must respect and protect these rights as granted, and, that these “trusts and interests” are not within the authority scope of the Province to interfere with.

On these rural owned lands, any use restriction placed on them by the Province is outside the Authority of the Province. These lands remain governed by the authority of the Crown but by the pre-confederation Crown grants the Crown transferred its decision-making authority to the respective property owner forever and removed the right of the Crown to these lands at that time. As such the Crown was not able to transfer authority over these grant lands to the Province at time of confederation as the Crown had already given its absolute authority to the property owner.

Simply explained, lands owned fee simple subject to pre-Confederation Crown Grants as root of title make the landowner superior to the Province as the Property owner is exercising his decision-making authority as the agent of the Crown.

When the Niagara Escarpment Plan was created one of the greatest fears of its architects was, that it would be challenged based on the constitutional authority of the Province, as the governments legal advice was the Plan would not hold up under a challenge of the legislation before the Supreme Court.

The Greenbelt Plan is an attack and challenge to the authority of the Crown, by the Province, regarding the authority of the Crown and Crown Instruments. Indeed, to ignore the Instruments and Instructions of the Crown is a challenge of the Constitution of Canada and a challenge of the very rules that make Canada and the Province. The Question must be asked, “if a Minister of the Crown fails to respect his oath of office to the Crown can he remain a Minister of the Crown?”

Thirdly: There needs to be good evidence of need to expand the Greenbelt. No such evidence has been submitted.

The need to expand the Greenbelt as a planning freeze, with no ability to make it a living morphing entity with ability to breath and address common sense changes based on science, makes it very problematic.

To have a chance of working, the Green Belt system, needs a full-time staff and a standing commission of “non-partisan” land professionals to form a decision-making team (similar to the Niagara Escarpment Plan (NEP) Niagara Escarpment Commission (NEC). This group need to have accountability and need to have valid reasons based on science for decisions. The system of ten-year reviews is exceptionally bad and needs immediate change.

There needs to be a level of accountability and rationality in how the plan is setup and made to work before any expansion should be contemplated.

Fourthly: To make the Greenbelt work the plan needs property owners that are within its scope, to want to make it work. This will only happen if property owners are rewarded for their contribution of their property rights to the benefit of the state and society.

In conclusion: Before the current flawed Greenbelt plan is expanded in its scope, the inherent foundation problems of the plan need to be addressed and corrected.

As such the Hamilton Halton Landowners Association do not support the Provinces proposed expanding of the Greenbelt Plan.