Task force attendance more diverse than reported

Tuesday, Jan 31, 2012 06:00 am

Re: ‘Sham' task force urged to repeal four land bills by John Gleeson, Jan. 17.

With respect to your coverage of the Olds property rights task force meeting, the attendees were far more diverse than the Surface Rights Groups and the Wildrose Party that were featured. I attended the meeting as a residential and agricultural landowner, a power consumer, and a lifelong resident of Alberta who is concerned about the bills' content and the way in which they were passed. There are many problems with the bills as discussed and recorded at the meeting.

The bills were passed by a majority government that did not allow a free vote by our elected MLAs. I believe few MLAs fully understood what they were passing. There was a sign in the meeting room lobby rhetorically asking the question if you felt that the government was ever more interested in protecting property rights. I hope the meeting occurred because the government is currently interested but I have never felt my rights more threatened by government legislation that was not achieved in a democratic way. I am very concerned about erosion of all Albertans' rights and those of our descendants. I believe there were many individuals like myself who were in Olds for their own personal interests. I also believe most urban property owners have not realized what this means to them with respect to their property rights and as power consumers or employees of companies that will be potentially adversely affected by these bills.

I am not a member of a surface rights group and although I have voted in every provincial and federal election in the past 40 years, I do not have a membership in any political party. I will continue to follow the issue of these bills, monitor the government and opposition parties' activities and positions and support whomever I feel is acting in the most responsible manner on these issues. First and foremost will be a personal evaluation in the next few weeks of whether this government-organized meeting was a meaningful use of our tax dollars.

Gavin Bates



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