Bill 1 takes on property rights

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November 20, 2014 9:06 AM

Premier Jim Prentice

After the speech from the throne, the first order of business for the new Alberta government was to introduce Bill 1.

The Respecting Property Rights Act is a one-line bill that repeals The Land Assembly Project Area Act.

Vermilion-Lloydminster MLA, Richard Starke said that this repeal shows the people of Alberta that Premier Jim Prentice is keen on making a change when it comes to property rights in the province.

“Premier Jim Prentice spent the bulk of his legal career defending property owners, as a property rights lawyer,” said Starke.

Starke said that the premier is passionate about this issue and it comes back to why he chose to endorse the premier during the leadership race earlier this year.

“The first conversation I had with Prentice, back in April, we just had a rural caucus meeting and we had discussed property rights,” he said.

During their first conversation with the future premier, Starke told Prentice that property rights in Alberta are still something that the people of Vermilion-Lloydminster are concerned about.

“He told me that he would look into the issue, and I have tremendous respect for his track record,” Starke said.

The Land Assembly Project Area Act wasn’t even proclaimed and it was causing concern among land owners, according to Starke.

“It was the decision of the premier… that repealing that act would be the best way to move forward to demonstrate that the government of Alberta is respectful of property owners in the province of Alberta,” he said.

Starke said that they key pieces of legislation when it comes to property rights are the Surface Rights Act and the Expropriation Act.

The MLA went on to say that the government can respect the property rights of Albertans with those two pieces of legislation.

“Premier Prentice has intimate knowledge of those pieces of legislation, and how those need to be implemented,” he said.

Opposition members weren’t as keen to pat the new premier on the back over Bill 1.

Repealing the Land Assembly Project Area Act is a very poor start, according to Wildrose MLA Shayne Saskiw.

“Unfortunately, the bill wasn’t even one line long. The new premier just repealed Bill 19 the land assembly act,” he said.

“There are so many other bills that need to repealed The Land Stewardship Act, and Electric Statutes Amendment Act.

Saskiw said that he was surprised that the premier spent over a year going across the province and telling them that property rights were important, “and only repealing one piece of legislation.”

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