Venezuela’s dictator, Hugo Chavez, was in the news this week for brashly announcing an expropriation of the mineral rights of the citizens of his country. We don’t seize private property that way in our democracy. We seize it silently and in plain sight, as seen in the province of Alberta, which so deftly passed stealth legislation two years ago that most Albertans are only now discovering the government’s audacious takeover of their property rights.
The stealth occurred through a suite of four cleverly worded laws passed under the radar in 2009 and 2010. Their effect is to place all economic power in the hands of Cabinet, usurping the role of the legislature and negating the role of the courts.