Yes, in their backyard – but on their own terms

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The summer issue of Pipeline Observer makes it clear that many landowners’ concerns about the pipelines and transmission lines that cross their property do not reflect run-of-the-mill NIMBYism. These owners support energy development, but want to be respected as partners in the process. The magazine includes several articles critical of expropriation, including two by Environment Probe. Continue reading

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Expropriation for Scarborough subway extension an unnecessary evil

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A common test of whether a proposed expropriation is legitimate is whether it is “fair, sound, and reasonably necessary.” Expropriations for the Scarborough subway extension fail all three tests. Continue reading

If we build it, will they come? Expropriating land for economic development dreams

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Brockville, Ontario’s, plans to expropriate land for an industrial park illustrate the problems that may arise when municipalities act as developers. Continue reading

Windsor confirms place in expropriation hall of shame

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The city of Windsor, Ontario, is infamous for expropriating private property for the benefit of private companies. The city has now outdone itself, taking two homes for an admittedly unknown private use at some unspecified time in the future. In addition to being unnecessary, the expropriation is unfair and economically unsound. Continue reading

Voluntary Exchange: Replacing Expropriation with Respect

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The inaugural issue of Pipeline Observer features an article by Elizabeth Brubaker, who proposes a voluntary siting process for pipelines, transmission lines, and other facilities. Continue reading

Expropriation hearings are charades

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Inquiries into expropriation create a phony sense of participation and empowerment, and do nothing to protect Canadians’ property rights. Elizabeth Brubaker calls on public agencies to provide for due process and take property only when expropriation has been demonstrated to be truly fair, sound, and necessary. Continue reading

Vast wastelands: Premature expropriations plague communities across Canada

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Elizabeth Brubaker writes in the National Post that expropriation is legitimate only for sound projects that are certain to go ahead. Many planners’ fantasies – such as the Fort McMurray arena, the Pickering Airport, and the Black Point quarry – don’t qualify. Continue reading

Expropriation hearings a sham?

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Elizabeth Brubaker writes in the Winnipeg Free Press that a decision by Winnipeg city council will reveal whether a system of hearings designed to protect property owners from unfair or unreasonable expropriation is a sham. Continue reading

Smart alternatives to SmartTrack avoid expropriation

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Toronto Mayor John Tory’s proposed SmartTrack Line comes with a high price tag – not just for the taxpayers who will foot the $8-billion bill but also for those who may lose their homes and businesses to make way for new track or stations. There are smarter, less expensive ways to relieve congestion on Toronto’s roads and subways. Continue reading

An abuse of power?

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Contrary to earlier promises, Manitoba Hydro will expropriate land needed for its Bipole III high-voltage transmission line. The province has waived the legal requirement for a public inquiry into whether the intended expropriation is fair and reasonably necessary. Concerned landowners have turned to the Canadian Association of Energy and Pipeline Landowner Associations for assistance in negotiating with the power behemoth. Continue reading

Expropriation in the news: The private projects edition

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This sampling of stories covered by the media in 2014 provides an overview of expropriations undertaken for the benefit of private companies in Ontario. It describes the taking of land for a private transmission line, residential and commercial real estate developments, industrial parks, and an auto plant. Continue reading

Expropriation in the news: The public projects edition

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This sampling of stories covered by the media in 2014 provides an overview of expropriations for roads, sewers, and other public purposes. Despite the public nature of the projects, many of the takings raise troubling questions about the process. Continue reading

Corporate bullying: Expropriating for private purposes in Nova Scotia

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Nova Scotia’s Expropriation Act authorizes the taking of private land for public works and other public purposes. But expropriation in the province increasingly serves private purposes, helping international resource development companies acquire land at reduced prices. This article by Elizabeth Brubaker reviews recent expropriations for three private projects – the Black Point Aggregate Quarry, the Touquoy Gold Mine, and the Maritime Link Transmission Project. Continue reading

Ontario’s drinking water report: Great news, or a sober warning?

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Ontario’s Chief Drinking Water Inspector boasts, “Our strong and consistent performance is great news.” But 35 percent of Ontario’s municipal systems failed at least one water quality test in the last year. Forty percent failed to obtain perfect facility inspection ratings. And 58 percent experienced “adverse water quality incidents.” Such results suggest that Ontario’s municipal systems need work, not praise. Continue reading

Throne Speech promises polluter-pay system

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To protect local communities and the environment from oil spills and other risks, the federal government is promising to enshrine the polluter-pay system into law. It is also promising to increase the required liability insurance for companies operating offshore, pipeline operators, and railways. Continue reading

New liability limits for nuclear power and oil: Better, but not good enough

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In June, Natural Resources Minister Joe Oliver announced that the federal government will increase the liability limits for the operators of nuclear power plants and for oil companies drilling in Atlantic and Arctic waters. The minister explained that the changes are consistent with the polluter pays principle. But a government that is truly committed to the polluter pays principle would not simply raise caps on liability – it would remove them entirely. Continue reading

P3 progress report: Momentum building for water and wastewater partnerships

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Recent months have seen several encouraging developments on the water and wastewater front: Saint John, New Brunswick, has decided to seek a private partner to design, build, and finance a new water treatment plant and to operate and maintain it for 30 years; Regina, Saskatchewan, is planning to use a 30-year public-private partnership (P3) to upgrade its aging sewage treatment plant; a federal standing committee has released a report on the effectiveness of P3s in the delivery of public infrastructure; and PPP Canada has released a study on the suitability of P3s for water and wastewater projects. Continue reading

Corrupt water

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Last week’s boil-water advisory in Montreal called attention to a system plagued by under-investment, poor repair, and shaky management. Would privatization – under strict regulation – create a more effective and efficient system? Continue reading

Environment Commissioner targets environmental liability limits

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Canada’s outgoing Commissioner of the Environment and Sustainable Development has used his final report to Parliament to call attention to policies that limit the financial exposure of potential polluters. His recommendations to update liability limits don’t go far enough. Continue reading