May 9, 2008
The Honourable Pat Bell
Minister of Agriculture and Lands
PO Box 9043, STN PROV GOVT
Victoria, BC V8W 9E2
Via Email: email@example.com
Dear Minister Bell:
Re: Section 32, Bill 43 – Expropriation Without Compensation
It is with grave concern that we write to you about Section 32 of Bill 43, which purports to legislate expropriation of property by government without compensation.
While the press release accompanying the Bill says this measure is to apply only to crown land, the proposed legislation itself contains no such qualification or limitation in its scope. It is therefore capable of being applied to the expropriation of any property.
The ownership of property is the bedrock of our legal system. Confidence in that ownership and in the integrity of our courts to protect it, and our government to respect it, is central to the rule of law in our society. It is what distinguishes us from totalitarian regimes.
Any doubt by the business community, or by domestic or international investors that their property rights are inviolate in British Columbia, will have a crippling impact on the economic development of our province.
Even if this measure is intended to apply only to crown land, it also captures all private interests in crown land, which is what attracts and drives the development of crown land. Investors in our province must be able to rely on the government grants and contracts that give them these private property interests in crown land or they will take their investments elsewhere.
Mr. Minister, The Vancouver Board of Trade urges you to immediately remove this clause from the Bill.
Henry K.S. Lee
Chairman and Chief Elected Officer
cc. The Honourable Gordon Campbell, Premier, Government of British Columbia
The Honourable Carole Taylor, Minister of Finance
The Honourable Wally Oppal, Attorney General
The Honourable Colin Hansen, Minister of Economic Development
The Honourable John van Dongen, Solicitor General