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Property rights plowed under for public projects: law professor

A weak legal framework coupled with increasing use of expropriation by public authorities is eroding private property rights in Canada, says Anneke Smit.

The law professor will use the example of the Windsor-Essex Parkway to illustrate her point in a free public lecture, entitled “Property expropriation for mega-projects in Canada,” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, March 13.

She probed interviews with people whose homes were expropriated or sold to make room for the parkway, looking at the experiences of homeowners interacting with the expropriating authority; the justifications used for expropriation in Canada; sufficiency of and grounds for compensation; and the importance of homeowners’ use of legal counsel for the outcome of the case.

Acknowledging that expropriation serves a necessary role in land-use and urban planning, Smit argues that the balance is tipping away from the substantive rights of property owners.

Smit is a fellow of the Humanities Research Group, the sponsor of Wednesday’s event. A reception will follow the formal program in the McPherson Lounge, Alumni Hall.

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