By Bromley Chamberlain
Danielle Smith can now count Rimbey as one of the towns she has officially paid a visit to as the leader of the Wildrose Alliance party.
Smith spoke at the Rimbey Legion Sept. 23 in front of approximately 25 supportive residents. She answered questions and had one-on-one time with anyone who wanted to speak with her directly.
Most of the questions during Q&A time were about land and Bill 50, 36 and 19.
“There is a huge amount of huge discontent with landowners and some of the legislation that’s come through recently,” stated Smith. “I think part of what we’ve seen is they feel like they’ve been dog piled on for the last 10 years before we had the slowdown.”
With many people asking questions, Smith was able to deliver the answers she hopes will lead to the Alliance forming the next provincial government.
“We now have legislation that could potentially freeze their land from development for a variety of uses to be determined by cabinet,” Smith said. “Whether its environmental use, protected use, I can understand why those who live in a rural environment and are large land owners feel like they are under siege because they are.”
Smith’s believes her party is the answer.
“What our party is proposing is that we’ve got to go back to some of the basic principles made this province strong and on which we were founded,” Smith said. “That is a belief that property rights are paramount. That you can’t just take away private property and not give full fair and timely compensation for public use.”
Smith stated that if the Wildrose Alliance is elected, it would reevaluate or terminate the bills.
“What we’re seeing right now is legislation that has come through to short-circuit that process. What I am sensing across the province is that landowners have had enough. They have reached their limit; they want to see some respect,” she says.
When Smith first started working in property rights and landowner advocacy in the late 1990s she didn’t see what she’s observing today.
“I didn’t sense that there was this great division between industry interest and land owner interest as there is today. I think this is a cumulative effect of bad legislation that is creating this kind of backlash that we’re seeing in the rural environment.”
To find out more on the Wildrose Alliance, check out the party’s website: www.wildrosealliance.com