Unfair, unsound, and unnecessary: A critical look at expropriation in Canada in 2013

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Those with the power to expropriate face few restrictions in Canada. Their objectives cannot be questioned. They need not demonstrate that their plans are viable. Nor are they bound by the findings of hearings into proposed projects. As a result, projects that are unfair, unsound, or unnecessary often go ahead. Continue reading

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Stop expropriation abuse!

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Expropriation – the taking of land without the consent of the owner – is one of the most extreme uses of government power. It is not only a severe interference with private property rights but is also bad for the environment, the economy, and public morale. Expropriation is particularly repugnant when done for the benefit of private interests. Continue reading

Expropriation Gone Awry: A Case Study

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In this conference presentation, Elizabeth Brubaker discusses the city of Toronto’s expropriation of six properties on the northeast corner of Yonge and Dundas in order to make way for a multi-screen cinema, restaurants, shops, and offices. Brubaker argues that forcibly taking land from private owners and re-selling it to private developers was an abuse of the city’s powers. She calls for an overhaul of the expropriation process to ensure that property is taken only for legitimate public uses and that landowners are treated fairly. Continue reading

NIMBY: Learning from the 13th century

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In an editorial in Hazardous Materials Management, Guy Crittenden writes that Property Rights in the Defence of Nature presents “a compelling argument in favour of property rights.”
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Governments are ill-suited to protect our resources

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I should feel honoured that my article on the environmental benefits of private and communal resource ownership inspired not just one but four columns from a prominent environmentalist. Unfortunately, Janice Harvey’s retorts, riddled with fallacies, do no honour to the environmental cause.

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Property Rights in the Defence of Nature

By Elizabeth Brubaker

This book draws on cases from England, Canada, and the United States, showing how the common law of property has for centuries been a force for environmental protection, while contemporary statutes have allowed polluters to foul private lands and public resources alike. It argues that individuals and communities should be entrusted with the task of preserving the environment and that, with stronger property rights, they would regain the power to prevent much harmful activity.

Published by Earthscan Publications Limited and Earthscan Canada, 1995

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Nature’s Case for Restoring Strong Property Rights

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In this presentation to a Student Seminar on Public Policy Issues in 1994, Elizabeth Brubaker describes the ways in which individuals and businesses use property rights to protect the environment and how, when governments take away property rights, the environment suffers.

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Preventing massive water exports

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A new book from a conservative think-tank, the Fraser Institute, overflows with essays by prominent water experts promoting the sale of Canadian water to the United States. A recent cover story in Financial Post Magazine boldly declares "Why We Should Sell Our Water to America." The World Rivers Review last year stated that a "thirty year-old plan to send wild Canadian and Alaskan waters through a series of dams, reservoirs, and canals to the U.S. Southwest has gained new momentum." And Jeffrey Simpson, a prominent Globe and Mail columnist, predicts that early in the next century the U.S. and Canada will start debating the export of our fresh water in earnest.

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How they killed our rights to clean water

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SUMMERTIME, and the beach is polluted. Fish aren’t jumpin’, and no one can swim. If your daddy’s rich, maybe you’ve got a pool. If not, for most people along the shore of Lake Ontario around Toronto, and along the shores of many other lakes and rivers across Canada, the story is "No Swimming," thanks to decades of using the waters as a sewer for in­dustrial and human waste.

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