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Posts Tagged ‘Canadian Constitution’

In a little town in Quebec, Canada, a gold mining company is just one property away from developing Canada’s largest open-pit gold mine.

From the July 22, 2010 episode of CBC’s The Current:

Ken Massé is literally sitting on a gold mine. And he refuses to budge. Massé is the last thing in the way of Osisko Mining Corporation’s plan to develop Canada’s largest open-pit gold mine in tiny Malarctic, Quebec. All of Massé’s neighbours have sold out to the mining company, or have been relocated. But Massé won’t give up his childhood home without a fight.

What strikes me most about this case is the possibility of the taking of private property for private use, without the owner’s consent.

Unlike the U.S. Constitution, Canada’s constitution doesn’t require just compensation for the taking of private property for public use. Even worse, it doesn’t require any compensation, which even the communist Chinese Constitution requires.

Here, we’re talking about the taking of private property for private use, without the owner’s consent — something that the U.S. Constitution implicitly prohibits, but which, unfortunately, has been permitted with cases like Kelo v. New London.

The CEO of Osisko disclosed that they had sought an expropriation order of the property, which is understandable from the perspective of a publicly-traded corporation whose primary responsibility, both in law and dominant business culture, is to maximize shareholder’s wealth (as the Board and executives best see fit).

However, from the perspective of higher principle, as I believe is embodied in the U.S. constitutional requirement for just compensation, Canada’s lack of such a provision, both in law and practice, I believe, will lead to its long-term decline in the economic prosperity it currently enjoys.

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Canada’s federal government blatantly disregarded Ontario’s provincial law requiring private security firms and their guards to be licensed, in the run-up to the 2010 G8/G20 summits.

As the Toronto Star reported on June 8, 2010:

The security firm awarded a government contract to provide private guards for the G8 and G20 summits is not licensed in Ontario.

Contemporary Security Canada, a Vancouver-based company that did private security for the 2010 Winter Olympics, was hired by the RCMP to provide about 1,100 private guards for the Toronto and Huntsville summits.

Security industry members say licensing is a rigorous process that normally takes six to eight months.”

“The clock is ticking down to the G20. For the aim of public safety, we’re moving forward with the process to have them licensed quickly with all the due diligence necessary,” said Laura Blondeau, spokeswoman for Minister Rick Bartolucci.

Blondeau said the Ministry became aware of the CSC’s contract no more than two weeks ago.

This story shows how:

1) Canada’s federal government doesn’t bother to familiarize itself with provincial law, or simply doesn’t care about it.
2) Even Canada’s largest province plans on buckling under the pressure of the federal government.
3) While claiming “public safety,” by moving to license the security firm in time for the summits, in half the usual time, Ontario’s government is indicating that their current licensing requirements are overburdensome, or they’re cutting corners and putting public safety at risk.

Canada’s provincial governments are granted exclusive jurisdiction over certain powers by the Canadian Constitution, just as U.S. states are by the U.S. Constitution, and the federal government can no more disregard provincial law than provincial governments can disregard federal law in their respective exclusive jurisdictions.

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