Wednesday, June 21, 2006

How to get enforceable property rights in Canada

A few posts back I argued that the courts should have the power to strike down legislation if it takes property without compensation or interferes with vested contractual rights, so long as there is a "notwithstanding clause." But as Harper has realized in relation to the Senate, constitutional change is risky and close to impossible in this country.

The alternative is to amend the quasi-constitutional statutes every jurisdiction has to include property and contractual rights -- the Federal Bill of Rights, the Alberta Individual Rights Protection Act and so on. Both of these particular examples have some property rights protection, albeit too weak. Other provinces have none at all.

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