April 29, 1988 (33rd Parliament, 2nd Session)


John Barry Turner

Progressive Conservative

Mr. Barry Turner (Ottawa-Carleton):

Mr. Speaker, I want to echo the sentiments expressed by many other colleagues respecting the motion by the Hon. Member for Kitchener (Mr. Reimer). He brings forward a motion that is fundamentally important not only for Canadians but for people throughout the world.
I want to highlight the importance of land ownership and property rights by citing two graphic examples. The House will recall the classic film Gone with the Wind, a story about the civil war in the United States. I will never forget the closing scene when Scarlet returned to see that her house had been destroyed in the war. She told one of the men who worked on the farm that she was devastated because everything had been taken from her. He bent down, picked up some soil, and said to her: "This will endure forever". The message was that she still had the land.
It is the right of people to keep their land that we want to entrench in the Constitution. The right to ownership of land should belong to everyone, whether an individual or an organization, so that one cannot simply be bulldozed off the property when a transfer of land happens to occur. Someone should not be loosely expropriated from property that has belonged to a family for decades.
Another movie which appeared recently on television depicts the importance of ownership of land. This movie was entitled Stranger on my Land. It was about a man who returned from Vietnam where he remembered expropriating people from their lands and villages because they had been destroyed. The moment which depicted the importance of the right to property occurred in the scene in which an old South Vietnamese man was crying. He said: "I have nowhere else to go". When this soldier returned to the United States, the same thing happened to him with his land and his farm. The military wanted to take over his land in the western United States for use as a testing ground. He opposed it and was taken to court where he had to fight for his land. We do not want that to happen in our country.
I can think of things that have happened even in the National Capital Region. My family roots go back to King-smere. We all remember Mackenzie King who fantasized about running this country. The NCC expropriated land which had been in my family for generations and it expropriated land from farmers, although it gave a fair price. However land is something we cannot possible allow ourselves to lose.
In Third World countries people are shifted from points A to B without their permission. We cannot let that happen here. Why the importance of entrenching property rights in our
Property Rights
Constitution was not realized at the time of the changes to our Constitution I do not know. I was not in the House at the time and I have not read the Debates.
The basic fundamental philosophy of human beings is their land. Without guaranteed access to the land, farmers feel insecure, cottage dwellers feel insecure. This is something which has now become essential, and I hope we all agree on this. Because of my sincere belief in the fact that we must have guaranteed access to property, I am pleased to move:
That Motion M-8 be amended by deleting all of the words after "amended", and substituting the following:
"In order to recognize the right to enjoyment of property, and the right not to be deprived thereof, except in accordance with the principles of fundamental justice, and in keeping with the tradition of the usual federal-provincial consultative process".

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