Let’s get Property Rights put in the Charter!

In my post “Free speech victory just the beginning!” on February 20th, I referred to “…the disturbing fact that the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms specifically excludes the right to own property.

“Thus I see it as imperative that the Charter be amended as quickly as possible to include this basic human right” and suggested that “…perhaps the Ontario Landowners Association could consider joining up with similar organisations in the other provinces, to lobby for the necessary changes to be made…”

Well, it turns out to be better than that!

As we see in the Toronto Sun article below dated two days after my post, two Ontario politicians, one federal and one provincial, have indeed started a campaign to insert property rights into the Charter. They should be supported by all who own or intend to own property, in Ontario or elsewhere in Canada.

In a February 24th article in the National Post, Tash Kheiriddin says that “On February 24, federal MP Scott Reid and Ontario MPP Randy Hillier held a joint press conference to promote the protection of a basic human right: the right to property. The two politicians will be introducing resolutions in their respective legislatures which would entrench constitutional protection to property rights in Ontario – and hopefully spark a move to enact similar protection in the rest of Canada as well.” Her article is also linked below, and contains an interesting explanation for the absence of property rights in the Charter.

As I wrote on February 20th, “Ideally, of course, the Charter of Rights and Freedoms should be thrown into the dumpster in favour of a return to the more wide-ranging rights which flowed to us from centuries of English Common Law, but that may be a battle for another day.”

Centuries of hard-won rights are at stake, and action is called for at all levels.

It will be a lot easier to amend the Charter than to replace it, and that would be an excellent start.

Jeff Goodall 

Protect property in Charter: Ont. Politicians 

Toronto Sun

Brian Lilley: February 22nd, 2011 

OTTAWA – A pair of Ontario politicians are hoping to change Canada’s Constitution to insert property rights into the Charter of Rights and Freedom.

Property rights were traditionally held to be part of common law and included in the bill of rights introduced by Prime Minister John Diefenbaker in 1960.

“The bill of rights is a federal statute that does not impose restrictions on the provinces or municipalities,” Conservative MP Scott Reid told QMI Agency.

“Most of the intrusions on property rights are from provincial or municipal governments,” Reid said.

Property rights were not explicitly laid out as deserving of protection in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms brought in by Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau in 1982. Unlike Diefenbaker’s bill of rights, the Charter applies to provincial and municipal laws.

Ontario PC MPP Randy Hillier acknowledges once upon a time courts in Canada recognized property rights through the common law but he said recent judgments have diminished those rights.

“Constitutional law is the highest form of law, it governs all others,” Hillier said, explaining why he wants the Constitution amended.

The amendment he is proposing would only apply to Ontario, making the idea much easier to pass. Any amendment that affects the entire country needs the support of seven provinces representing more than 50% of the population.

A Constitutional amendment affecting only one province simply needs approval of the provincial legislature and the consent of Parliament.

Hillier points to land use designations – rules for how certain parcels of land can be used – as an example of municipal and provincial regulations, which infringe on property rights. If a municipal council changes the land use designation of a parcel of land it can affect the ability of the owner to use, sell or develop the land. But there is no requirement to compensate landowners for changing the rules of the game.

Hillier and Reid liken such rule changes to the government expropriating land without paying the landowner.

The two men will unveil their proposed amendment at a news conference at Queen’s Park on Thursday afternoon.

If you have local laws that infringe on your property rights email brian.lilley@sunmedia.ca.

See original here

See “free speech victory” post here

See Tash Kheiriddin’s National Post article here

Contact federal MP Scott Reid here

Contact provincial MPP Randy Hillier here.

See a list of all federal MPs here.

See a list of all provincial MPPs here

Don’t forget your Premier, as well as Stephen Harper and all Party leaders.