Leviathan: Is Resistance Futile?

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In this conference presentation, Elizabeth Brubaker discusses the expropriation of private property to promote private economic development – a practice that is not restrained by Canada’s constitution or by federal or provincial legislation. She contrasts the unrestricted taking of property in Canada to recent experience south of the border, where 45 states have passed laws limiting the use of expropriation. Continue reading

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Expropriation in Canada: Discretion Masquerading as Law

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Although expropriation is one of the most extreme uses of government power, Canadian governments have almost complete discretion over when they resort to it. Governments often justify this violation of their citizens’ property rights as being necessary to carry out public purposes. But expropriations that serve private interests, and those that are unnecessary, have become commonplace. Citizens have little recourse against arbitrary, unfair, and unjustified expropriations. This study by Elizabeth Brubaker provides an overview of federal and provincial expropriation laws. It examines the forums that give landowners only an illusion of meaningful participation in the expropriation process. It looks at a number of disputed expropriations, and at how the courts have grappled with them. And it suggests reforms to better balance the needs of governments with the rights of landowners. Continue reading