Here are a few updates from MPP Toby Barrett;
Anyone concerned about private property rights?
The arrival of an illegal smoke shop on the front of a privately-owned farm on Highway-6, South of Caledonia, has raised a number of questions.
Does government not have a role in defending private property, or are people on their own?
Smoke shops are illegal, regardless of who owns the land where they are located. So why are they seemingly condoned by all levels of government?
We have government for a reason. We have law for a reason.
And, as I explained in a June 12th letter to Premier McGuinty, when government abdicates responsibility it puts matters back into the hands of people themselves. Hence talk of a Caledonia Militia and other measures not seen since the American West of the late-1800’s.
On June 1st, I introduced, for the third time in the last 14 years, legislation to restore property rights in the Province of Ontario. The Property Rights and Responsibilities Act, 2009 provides measures for compensation and a public hearing in those cases where a home - or property – owner is subject to a government initiated ‘taking’ of property.
My bill does not provide measures to protect property owners from a ‘taking’ by a private individual or group because the law has been very clear on this one – you don’t set foot on someone else’s land or go in their home to intimidate or extort or steal without suffering the extent of the law.
We have had such protections, from intrusion by government and by private individuals, for centuries going back to the Magna Carta of 1215 and the beginnings of English common law. The legacy of these protections can be found in the Criminal Code of Canada.
In 1960, Prime Minister Diefenbaker introduced the Canadian Bill of Rights - one of the most comprehensive human rights documents in western society. Upon introduction, the bill gave Canadians statutory protection against the federal government infringing on their rights – including “security of the person and enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof except by due process of law.”
However, for whatever reason, Prime Minister Trudeau did not include the right to own property in the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms.
In light of this constitutional void, it is up to both levels of government to pass laws protecting property rights. It’s time for society to acknowledge the very basic need to address an individual’s right to own and enjoy one’s land and home.
These are some of the reasons that I joined John Tory and now Tim Hudak in calls to beef up the Trespass to Property Act – the most recent proposal calling for a significant increase in penalties for trespassing, as well as the designation of separate offence for ‘illegal occupations’.
As well, I will continue to seek support for my private members bill calling for property rights protection in this province – following my The Land Rights and Responsibilities Act, 2006, and The Property Rights Statute Law Amendment Act, 1995.
While my focus has always been directed at ensuring protection, consideration and possible compensation for private property from government-takings, the most recent smoke shop example makes clear the need for further steps to ensure that property rights are maintained, strengthened and enforced throughout Ontario.
Please find attached and below a news release regarding my support for Tim Hudak’s proposed changes to the Trespass To Property Act and related creation of a separate offence for illegal occupations.
Have a great weekend.
For immediate release:
June 19, 2009
Barrett backing Hudak law against illegal occupations
Simcoe: Haldimand-Norfolk MPP Toby Barrett endorses Leadership Candidate Tim Hudak’s plan for a renewed focus on the rule of law in Ontario.
Barrett says he is particularly heartened by Tim Hudak’s commitment to strengthen the Trespass to Property Act.
“Tim’s proposed changes to the Trespassing Act will aid in the prevention of illegal occupations of property whether it is private property or public,” stated Barrett. “These changes would include the creation of a new offence for illegal occupations – something I feel is sorely needed.”
Hudak’s proposed changes include:
Significantly increasing penalties for trespassing
Making illegal occupation a separate offence, with escalating penalties each day of an occupation
Making it an offence for an organization to encourage others to engage in an illegal occupation.
“The people of our area have dealt with three years of government inaction on land disputes and occupations,” Barrett concluded. “We look forward to seeing concrete steps taken through strengthening and updating trespassing protections to help address these ongoing concerns.”
The initiatives build on previous proposals announced during the 2007 election by then Opposition Leader John Tory to strengthen trespassing legislation.
For more information, please contact MPP Toby Barrett at (519) 428-0446 or (905)-765-8413, 1-800-903-8629
June 19, 2009
Dalton McGuinty, Premier
Toronto ON M7A 1A1
Re: Illegal Occupation of Privately-owned Farmland II
On June 12th I wrote to you concerning an illegal smoke shack occupying a privately-owned farm not owned by the occupiers.
In my letter, I indicated that government abdication of responsibility will force the matter into the hands of private individuals. This has now happened.
Your government’s response to this situation has been to label the formation of a Militia, “a dumb idea”, but you have not addressed the illegal smoke shack on private land.
For three years Ontario has watched the Warrior flag fly over mayhem in the Caledonia area – much of it occurring on a provincially-owned highway and provincial property. I think of the destruction of the Sterling Street Bridge, excavation of a trench across the main street of Caledonia, the three year occupation of Douglas Creek Estates, ongoing blockage preventing construction of the Middleport Hydro Corridor.
You have criticized the concept of a Militia as “a dumb idea”, but for three years have been silent on the destruction wreaked under the banner of Warriors. What is your public position on the Warrior Society? Do you condone the Warrior Society and its activities in the Caledonia area?
Premier, as you know, smoke shops and the business they do, are illegal whether on public or private land. What is your plan of action to bring this ongoing illegal activity to an end?
Toby Barrett, MPP
cc.Prime Minister Harper
MP Diane Finley
Friday, June 19, 2009
Here are a few updates from MPP Toby Barrett;