Not Enough Attention Paid to Issue of Property Rights in UCP Leadership Campaign, Says MLA

by EditorK

EDMONTON—An Alberta MLA says he and his constituents are “very disappointed” in the lack of discussion on property rights in the leadership race to decide the next leader of the United Conservative Party (UCP).

“It’s time that politicians develop the political will to protect people’s right to earn and do what they want with their property,”  Independent MLA Drew Barnes told The Epoch Times.

Barnes, along with fellow MLA Todd Loewen who is currently running as a candidate in the leadership contest, were kicked out of the UCP caucus last year after openly criticizing provincial pandemic policies that restricted freedoms.

Barnes said he’ll be pushing the next UCP leader and premier to move forward with a referendum on whether to enshrine property rights into Canada’s Constitution, saying property rights are fundamental for “creating wealth and building economic freedom.”

“For too long in Alberta they’ve been given a secondary position,” he said.

The Cypress-Medicine Hat MLA says property rights matter to rural Albertans partly because of the long response time for the Alberta RCMP, but also because he says in many cases criminals are allowed to walk free without serving sufficient time in the penal system.

“It’s common that your first five property crimes don’t get you any jail time. It is so wrong,” he said.

“It’s hurting the fabric and the strength of our culture. It’s absolutely hurting wealth creation and our chances to build a strong economic future.”

Alberta Property Rights Protection Act

Barnes says there hasn’t been much progress on the proposed Alberta Property Rights Protection Act which was part of UCP’s platform for the 2019 election.

On the website keeping track of the government’s pledges and their status, the UCP government says 88 percent of its 374 promises have been “kept or in progress.” When it comes to passing the proposed Alberta Property Rights Protection Act, the website says it is “in progress/announced,” but not “completed.”

The items related to the act that are reported to be “in progress/announced” include:

  • Propose an amendment to the Constitution to enshrine property rights in Alberta
  • Amend the Land Titles Act to bar adverse possession claims so that Alberta no longer allows squatters to make legal claims to someone else’s property
  • Treat government regulation of real property the same as government expropriation for the purposes of compensation
  • Allow private property owners to convert government attempts to regulate property into an expropriation action if desired

The item related to the act that is reported as “completed” is:

  • Preserve the right of governments to expropriate and regulate for the public good

UCP members will elect a new leader, who will become the province’s next premier, on Oct. 6.

Rachel Emmanuel covers federal and Alberta politics.

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