For the 19th time, Rimbey’s Joe Anglin has stepped up to the podium and let the public know what he thinks of the provincial government’s controversial Bill 19, but at least he’s getting a bit closer to home.
Crusading against the bill since it was first made public earlier this year, Anglin has held town hall forums from Peace River in the north to Lethbridge in the south and many points in between, but last Thursday evening he ended up almost in his own backyard when the tour stopped in Bluffton, and just like everywhere else, there was a substantial crowd on hand to hear what he had to say.
“It’s the same thing we’ve tried to do everywhere we’ve been and this is to just inform people,” Anglin said of his latest stop. “We’re going to show them the bill and talk about the implications of what this new law will have on them and people are pretty sharp and they’ll pick up on that.”
He was also quick to add that it doesn’t matter which side of the political side of the fence people align themselves on because the bill simply comes down to one simple matter.
“We’re trying to make this not so much a party issue as much as a right and wrong issue, and that’s how I’ve been approaching crowds with this. This is not about Conservative versus Liberal or right versus left; this is about what is right and what is wrong,” Anglin said. “We’ve got things in this bill that just really do not settle well with anyone, anywhere in the political spectrum. When you allow the minister to make a judgment as if he were a judge of the Queen’s Bench is fundamentally wrong, and people see that.”
As an example, Anglin said a provision in the bill that allows a minister to approve the dumping of any substance on a landowner’s property contradicts the small ‘c’ conservative virtues he grew up with such as private property rights, democratic rights and landownership.
Despite the fact that the provincial government has now passed the bill into law, Anglin said the fight would go on, even if it were decided in a court far outside of Alberta’s borders.
“Now that this has passed into law, there are some other things we’re planning including a challenge to this wherever we see this act imposed on the public. There’s some significant issues surrounding this new law and we’ll see what happens in the future,” he said including that those plans could include taking the case to an appeals court or possibly even the Supreme Court of Canada under the Charter of Rights.
“I’d love to see it end in a court challenge where the law is struck down for being unconstitutional, that’s where I’d love to see it end. We think this is certainly a Charter challenge and we are preparing because this one deserves a Charter challenge,” he said. “This is not necessarily a local, Rimbey issue; this is an Alberta issue and we’re talking to other landowners groups from across the province and wherever they come and try to use this, that’s the point where we think we should go the distance (Supreme Court).”