ETR benefits from land too

Hamilton Spectator, Letters to the Editor, May 9, 03


RE: 'Cap on 407 tolls would control rising costs' (May 7).

The editorial on the Ontario government helping the private company that operates the 407 collect its fees rightly questions whether this is something that our government should really be doing on behalf of certain firms in the private sector.

If you don't like the government acting as collectors for a private company, how do you feel about the government taking people's homes and farms on behalf of a private company?

This is exactly what happens when highways like the 407 and the mid-peninsula are built.

Traditionally, expropriation was considered to be such a serious thing and a huge power that it was reserved for governments.

After all, you wouldn't want a company to be able to take your house for a nominal fee if you didn't want to sell, just because your house happened to be in a place they wanted to do business.

With the new style of highway operation/ownership in Ontario, however, this is exactly what's happening -- the government expropriates the lands, farms and homes and then immediately turns the land over for the benefit of the private operator of the highways.

In the case of the 407, a consortium from Spain and Australia ends up benefiting from both our toll fees and our lands and property.

It seems strange and unjust, but near where I live, families who have been on the same farms for five generations may soon lose their farms for mid-peninsula highway construction, and the land may end up benefiting some absentee corporate landlord overseas.

The current Tory government apparently considers this to be an appropriate use of their awesome and unilateral powers of expropriation.

-- Dave Eckersley, Hamilton.



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