Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bill 19 Becomes Law

Citizen’s concerns are ignored as the controversial Land Assembly Area Act is railroaded through Alberta’s Legislature on Wednesday April 29

(Rimbey) The passage of the controversial land assembly bill Wednesday eliminated many of the environmental protections once afforded farmers, landowners and communities as the government sets about acquiring properties for major infrastructure projects. The new law goes so far as to authorize “the dumping of any substance” on a person’s property, prior to the necessity of having to purchase the land for a project, [Ref: Sec 3(1)(e)]. Where the old law mandated that the government had to protect the watershed, the new law bestows upon the Minister the unlimited power to “Manage Water”.

Infrastructure Minister Jack Hayden has maintained the bill doesn't give the government any extra powers and landowners will be treated fairly. He says the law is intended to acquire land for public projects such as ring roads and reservoirs, but opponents say they do not have any reason to believe him. The Act gives the Minister the ability to circumvent the courts and issue judgments as if the Minister was a judge of the Queen’s Bench. Albertans note the word “Fair” does not appear anywhere in the controversial land Act, and the Act grants the Minister the authority to approve “any kind of use”, which Albertans claim is akin to an open gate that will release the potential for corruption. [Ref: Sec 3(1)(a)]

The Minister lost credibility with the public when he refused to listen to the nearly 2000 Albertans who attended public meetings, sponsored by private citizens, and who unanimously called for the Bill’s withdrawal. Further government credibility was lost when the P.C. Caucus voted down an amendment to limit project approvals, to only when necessary in the “Public Interest”.
For more information contact:

Joe Anglin
Alberta Green Party Leader
(403) 843-3279

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