Adding Property Rights to the Charter
As a national non partisan property rights advocate, the Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowner Associations (CAEPLA) has no dog in the leadership contest of the Conservative or any other political party.
But we will always applaud any politician who opens up the debate around property rights, as Andrew Scheer is doing in his leadership bid for the CPC.
However we cannot applaud Mr. Scheer for his understanding of property rights.
In Mr. Scheer's world, expropriation of your property by government is OK as long as they "compensate" you with the property of your fellow Canadians -- meaning tax dollars.
And the kind of "compensation" Mr. Scheer proposes is usually mistakenly claimed to be equal to "fair market value."
Unfortunately this conception of property rights is all too common among those who claim they support them.
Fair market value can never be arrived at as long as government can legally take your land for any purpose.
By definition the market is a voluntary arena made up of willing participants.
Market value is the price agreed upon by a willing buyer and a willing seller -- not something decided by a government bureaucrat or judge.
Mr. Scheer says he would enshrine property rights in the Charter of Rights and Freedoms if he become prime minister.
But what a prime minister Scheer would put in the Charter is not property rights at all.
Property rights mean the right to say No to any offer. Real Constitutional property rights would mean the legal power of government to steal your land would be repealed.
We applaud Mr. Scheer for raising the subject of property rights. But Canadians need to be cautious about any talk of property rights that involves government legally stealing your land and then pretending to "compensate" you with property -- tax dollars -- taken from your fellow Canadians.
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