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In Bill 163 the Bob Rae NDP provincial government introduced legislation designed to assign, under the Ontario Planning Act, more state intervention in private land use. Prior to the 1995 election OPERA wrote PC Leader Mike Harris asking what his party would do about that statute in the event of a PC win. He responded in writing saying that a Conservative government would repeal Bill 163. In fact, Harris did NOT repeal Bill 163. Instead, his administration merely approved some cosmetic amendments in a new edition of that statute.

We believe that bureaucrats who originally designed Bill 163 continue to dominate various agencies of the Ontario PC government. Thus the major asset of private landowners, particularly rural ones, is still being extensively regulated as a “public” resource. Indeed, land use legislation of the past two Conservative terms in office frequently conceals the mailed fist of more government control in the velvet glove of ecological prudence. Example: Bill 25, the much-applauded and long-over-due Red Tape Reduction Act, slyly awards Ontario’s 38 Conservation Authorities sweeping new “watershed” planning powers, including discretionary supervision of municipal drains and road-side ditches as “fish habitat”.

Against that background, here are 5 questions that landowners should ask PC leadership candidates. OPERA will be pleased to record name and answer of each respondent on this site.

(1) Do you think Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms should be amended to include a constitutional right to own and enjoy private property?

(2) If elected, would you and your Party require all provincial agencies to publicly reveal the total Ontario acreage of private land identified or designated provincially significant?

(3) Do you personally support application of United Nations land use protocols by provincial government agencies such as the Ministry of Natural Resources?

(4) Should appointed agencies of the Ontario government be authorized to award Non Government Organizations “public body status” as a means to further regulate land use?

(5) Would it be your intention to require public “hearings of necessity” prior to any land use “identification” of private property by any agency of the provincial government?

We hope any Ontario politician who aspires to leadership of his or her Party will be pleased, indeed eager, to provide simple, concise answers to these simple, concise questions.

If you have any questions or comments, please Mr. R. A. Fowler, Secretary.
or write
O.P.E.R.A. c/o R.A. Fowler, Secretary P.O. Box 483, Durham, Ontario. N0G 1R0