For Immediate Release
March 24, 2009
Bill 19 was Drafted in Error?
(Rimbey, AB) Bill 19 – still looking for the right combination to debate Green Party Leader Joe Anglin over the proposed Land Assembly Area Act [Bill 19], the Hon Jack Hayden, author of the Bill, attended a public forum in Riley AB on Monday night to try his best to defend the Bill. Mr. Hayden accompanied with MLAs Mr. Evan Berger (Livingstone-Macleod), Mr. Ray Prins (Lacombe Ponoka), Ms. Diana McQueen (Drayton Valley/Calmar), Mr. Verlyn Olson (Wetaskiwin/Camrose), and Mr. Doug Griffiths (Battle River-Wainwright) failed to convince the crowd in attendance of the merits of the Bill or the proposed amendments, and may have embarrassed themselves.
Mr. Hayden told the crowd in the attendance, as the government has done at previous public forums, Bill 19 was needed because the Restricted Development Act was struck down in a previous court decision. When queried by Mr. Anglin over the referenced court decision, Mr. Hayden was informed that a Restricted Development Act has never existed in law in Alberta, and the Alberta courts have no record of a decision striking down any piece of Alberta Legislation called the Restricted Development Act.
Anglin went on to ask Mr. Hayden that if he could not produce a copy of a court case striking down the assumed Restricted Development Act, would he then agree that the premise for drafting Bill 19 was based on an error concerning a court ruling that doesn’t exist, and would he then withdraw the Bill because of this error?
Mr. Hayden did not respond to Anglin’s question, and the other five MLAs scrambled and shuffled paper. However, Mr. Hayden and the other MLAs in attendance would not comment further on the fact the Minister may have drafted Bill 19 in error – in view of the fact the courts have not struck down any legislation in Alberta called the Restricted Development Act.
Leader of the Alberta Greens
A couple weeks ago, I wrote (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) about central Alberta becoming the revolutionary hotbed of Albert politics, but while it may not be an actual hot bed of revolution, politics in central Alberta have becoming increasingly interesting.
After Infrastructure Minister Jack Hayden introduced Bill 19: Land Assembly Project Area Act into the Legislature on March 2, 2009, the legislation has met strong opposition from landowners in central Alberta, including Green Party leader Joe Anglin. Anglin described Bill 19 as “a punitive Bill that is chock-full of consequences for any landowner or citizen who would defy the Minister of Energy,” and is a member of a group of landowners who have organized town hall forums and information sessions on Bill 19 in communities across central Alberta. The opposition to Bill 19 appears to have caught the attention of the region’s PC MLAs, four who have been seen attending these town halls to defend the legislation.
At a forum in Warburg, PC MLAs Ray Prins (Lacombe-Ponoka), Diana McQueen (Drayton Valley-Calmar) and Evan Berger (Livingstone-MacLeod) were in attendance, and yesterday in Ponoka, Prins, McQueen, Berger, and Wetaskiwin-Camrose MLA Verlyn Olson defended Bill 19 at an information session hosted by Anglin.
Rather than using the reliable ‘ignore the opposition between elections‘ strategy that has served the PCs so well over the past 36 years, the very presence of these four PC MLAs have actually legitimized the opposition to Bill 19 in rural central Alberta.