Brant/Brantford may be treading on thin ice
BRANT/BRANTFORD – Transferring land around from municipality to municipality — especially on land under claim or patent — may put mayors and councillors in a dangerous legal position, so says Ontario Landowners Association (OLA) vice-president Liz Marshall.
In an article entitled, “Officials who disregard property rights risk lawsuit” published in the OLA Annual (written by Suzanne Atkinson for Ontario Farm Magazine in Oct. 2013), Marshall does not mince her words.
“Officials who trample on people’s rights are fair game to be sued,” she says. Those who have done so, she adds, “have placed themselves in a state of war with the people.”
If true, the warning to both Brant and Brantford councils should be carefully considered before any transfer of lands between the two municipalities, especially on land under recognized land claim filed by Six Nations around 15 years ago. There are also sticky points for land owners within the planned transfer who hold Crown Patents to their land.
Marshall goes on to say that if the people do not want this transfer to take place, it cannot be legally done. By pushing it through without the consent and consideration of both settler land holders and Six Nations, Marshall warns, that even individual municipal councillors are wide open to be sued.
“There is nothing stopping the people of a municipality from launching a mass tort against a municipal council,” she says. “Nowhere do they (municipalities) have authority over your private property.”
She reasons her research has found that since municipalities are corporations, they hold no authority or control over your property. Pierre Elliott Trudeau’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms only underscores that point under the Magna Carta of 1215, which is the foundation of all British law.
One of those basic rights is that no man can grant what God has already put in place, as the Magna Carta clearly states. The opening statement of the 1982 Charter of Rights states, “Canada will follow the supremacy of God in the rule of law.”
“No man can grant you the rights that God has already granted you,” says one concerned land owner within the transfer area. “Those tenants include the right to life, liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and private property.”
According to Marshall, “In 1948 the Canadian Bar Association confirmed this to be true stating that the C.B.A. had stated our inalienable rights were protected under the British North America Act, being our constitution, and those rights include: life, limb, liberty, freedom of speech, freedom of religion, freedom of contract and private property rights.”
As a municipal council in British Columbia discovered recently, if a council and/or individual councillors do not do due diligence, they can be sued.
“The Criminal Code of Canada is there for a reason,” says Marshall. “If your elected officials and your staff members are not acting legal, you have every right to contact police. And if they won’t do anything, they have sworn an oath to the Crown which serves you by Magna Carta.”
A single citizen or a petitioned group of individuals could conceivably launch a Tort (a wrongful act, not including a breach of contract or trust, that results in injury to another’s person, property, reputation, or the like, and for which the injured party is entitled to compensation) against both councils if they feel their rights as landowners have been violated.
According to the Ontario Municipal Act, 2001, c. 25, s. 223 (2). The petition requires the signatures of 1 per cent of the electors in the municipality or 500 of the electors in the municipality, whichever is less, but, in any event, a minimum of 50 signatures of the electors in the municipality is required.
If the council does not pass a by-law in accordance with the petition within 90 days after receiving the petition, any of the electors who signed the petition may apply to the Ontario Municipal Board to have the municipality divided or redivided into wards or to have the existing wards dissolved. 2001, c. 25, s. 223 (4); 2006, c. 32, Sched. A, s. 97 (2).