Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Alberta Legislature: Scumbags, Holodomor and Property Rights

There was a debate in the Legislature today (29 Nov 2011) regarding landowner property rights. There is no doubt that at least 4 of the bills passed in the Stelmach era went too far by removing basic landowner rights, eliminating public consultation and removing the appeal process.

Wildrose MLA Paul Hinman was talking in circles about the evils of these bills, when he veered off into an analogy to European history and the Ukrainian genocide of 1932, also known as the Holodomor.

Here's what he said as recorded in Hansard:

I mean, when you look at Europe, it's interesting. They still have vivid memories of the starvation. We just had a ceremony on Monday in commemoration of Holodomor, the starvation in Europe. That wasn't because of bad weather or not being able to produce. That was, again, an evil, corrupt government confiscating property from the people and trying to take that to destroy a region which the government was having difficulty controlling. [interjection] It's interesting that the Education minister wants to ask if that's for real when many of the acts that were taken inEurope during World War II and other times very much were brutal acts that didn't respect property rights. There are many areas in these bills that have no respect for property rights. When you step down that trail, we can see the end results, and we don't want to go there, not even one step, here in Alberta. Yet many government members seem to pride themselves on this and say: “We know best. We'll put it in cabinet. Cabinet will make those decisions.” It's just wrong, Mr. Chair. That's the last place we want those decisions to be made. What happens when cabinet makes those decisions is that they become political decisions, and political decisions are rarely in the interest of the people. They're usually more in the interest of a party in retaining and holding that power.
A bit of an offensive comparison I think, and by the way, it's the same inflammatory rhetoric that many far right people use to talk about gun registries, wheat boards and the state broadcaster.  Liberals are really just Communists, after all, and they're coming for you. 

Thomas Lukaszuk, the education minister, rose on a point of order (inflammatory language) and had this response:

Mr. Chairman, before we get to the amendment, I would like to rise on a point of order under section 23(h) of our standing orders, using language that entices, I believe it is, a disorder in the House. The hon. Member for Calgary-Glenmore about three or four minutes ago in his comments made a statement that I was hoping
initially I was mishearing. Then he repeated it several times, so without a possibility of denial he said exactly what I think I heard. I know what he said. Mr. Chairman, he compared the Alberta government's land-use policies legislation to the atrocities and genocide of Holodomor in Ukraine. What he's doing is comparing
polices that we're passing in this Legislature right now to Stalin's genocide during the 1930s in Ukraine, known as Holodomor, which killed somewhere between 6 million and 10 million people. If this isn't reaching a new bottom for the Wildrose, I don't know what is.

Neither do I. It's a complete low point.  Unethical and unparliamentary.   My guess is that Hinman knew the Ukrainian reference would get under the skin. It was a targeted reference. The Wildrose view of property rights excludes any type of public or government interest in infrastructure planning. In their world, there would be no environmental laws, and probably not much public infrastructure.

The question is the restoration of the balance between private and public rights.  The government went too far in removing rights and remedies from landowners. If you've read my blog, you'll know I support almost nothing this government has done, and I don't really expect the new Premier will do much about this issue. She is just as obligated to industry groups as her predecessors.

Full hansard of the debate is here. If you're on Twitter, the debate was raging there this evening.  Check the #ableg hashtag.

Please recommend this post

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