UPDATE: Related video -
If a group of people you had not invited onto your land set up camp and refused to leave and claimed part of your land as their own and started making decisions on what could happen on your property, would you feel wronged?
The answer, of course, is yes and most of us would likely seek to have the police intervene and sort the problem out.
But what if the police are the ones robbing you?
That’s what is happening with the gun registry right now as people are forced to surrender their rifles without compensation.
Or what if it is government that is moving onto your land and dictating to you what you can and cannot do?
That is what is happening across Canada when it comes to land property rights.
If you speak to many Canadians about property rights, they will tell you that we do not have them in this country and point out that property rights are not guaranteed in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
That last part is true, but that does not mean that property rights do not exist in Canada. We just sometimes have to fight for them a bit harder than we should.
But we have always had property rights in this country.
Remember that section 26 of the Charter says:
“The guarantee in this Charter of certain rights and freedoms shall not be construed as denying the existence of any other rights and freedoms that exist in Canada.’
The Magna Carta laid out that agents of the king were not supposed to take property from the people without compensating them for it. This has been Canadian tradition and jurisprudence going back through our history.
Even the Supreme Court of Canada has recognized property rights. In the 1975 case Harrison v Carswell the court upheld private property rights saying that,
“Anglo-Canadian jurisprudence has traditionally recognized, as a fundamental freedom, the right of the individual to the enjoyment of property and the right not to be deprived thereof, of any interest therein, save by due process of law.”
Prime Minister Diefenbaker’s Bill of Rights, which the government of today says is still in force, recognizes property rights as does the United Nations Declaration of Universal Rights.
Too often though, Canadians will not fight back.
We allow municipalities to pass laws requiring us to get permission to do things property owners have been doing for centuries, such as cutting down a tree.
We allow unelected, bureaucratic bodies to make rules for us and how we can use and enjoy our land.
We allow the idea to be spread that there is nothing we can do when there is.
We can fight back. Tonight, you will hear from some people who are doing just that, we should all learn from their example.
And that’s the Byline.