In the debate over whether the partially state-owned energy company, Chinas CNOOC, should be given the go-ahead by Ottawa to take over Calgary-based Nexen, there is the danger that the discussion will be cast in an adversarial east-west context.
The federal and B.C. governments have always claimed that native land claims would never affect private property, that First Nations governments would never have veto power over private land.
Right. Tell that to a retired 70-something couple from Vancouver Island, Gary and Fran Hackett, who face a Caledonia-like entanglement with their land. Their property in the Marpole neighbourhood in the City of Vancouver, in their family for almost five decades, has just been frozen. That was due to the discovery of assumed aboriginal bones.
In the midst of the Cold War, Ronald Reagan used to say you could tell a lot about a country by what happens when its gates are flung open. If people flowed in, it was an obviously desirable nation; if they ran out, not so much.
Reagan meant it as a criticism of collectivist countries, where almost every sort of freedom and opportunity was restricted, including economic, religious, media, and freedom of association (i.e., to belong to a union or some other group).
Many people often look to Europe as an example of what Aristotle called the good lifethink of their pleasant cities and obvious regard for art and history. But heres something else Canadians can learn from Europe: how many governments there are much better at balancing the rights of private property owners with regulations that restrict property and lessen its value.