Dear Ms. McQueen,
You were elected on March 3, 2008 to represent the citizens of the constituency of Drayton Valley-Calmar. A significant percentage of those citizens are property owners and users of rural lands.
On Monday, March 2, Minister of Infrastructure and PC MLA for Drumheller-Stettler, Jack Hayden, presented the Legislative Assembly of Alberta with Bill 19, the Land Assembly Project Area Act. This Bill, like its predecessor, the infamous Bill 46, takes giant steps in the removal of property rights and the degradation of democracy in general from everyday constituents of Drayton Valley-Calmar.
As you are undoubtedly aware, several hundreds of your constituents fought vehemently against Bill 46, which was passed in the middle of the night on December 5, 2007. The PC government, of which you were not yet part, chose to use closure to silence debate on the Bill. The Bill was passed, and your neighbours and constituents lost their right to a fair hearing, adequate representation by counsel, and proper notice of any potential hearing.
Now you are faced with a difficult decision. Will you vote with your PC caucus to further give the Ministers of Infrastructure, Energy and other ministers the unchallenged authority to remove your neighbours and constituents from their lands, with only seven days in which to mount an appeal, an appeal which will be controlled by the same minister responsible for the expropriation? Will you vote to give that same minister authority to judge the value of confiscated properties, superceding the Surface Rights Act? Will you vote to give the minister the right to jail your neighbours and constituents for two years and levy them with a fine of $100,000 if the minister even thinks that they might take action to oppose the expropriation of their own property? Will you vote along the same lines of the ousted former PC MLA, Tony Abbott, when he spoke for and voted in favour of Bill 46?
Your family has almost as deep roots in Drayton Valley-Calmar as does mine, Diana. We both know how hard our forbearers, our neighbours and our fellow constituents had to work to make this area of the province what it has become. I hope you will keep this in mind when you vote on Bill 19.
The choice will be yours, and yours alone. I know what I would do, if I were in your position. I’d fulfill my ultimate responsibility as an elected representative, and vote on the side of my neighbours and constituents.
We will be anxiously watching to see what your decision will be.
Buck Lake, Alta.