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WHEREAS Alberta Pacific Forest Industries Inc. is currently urging the Government of Alberta to amend the Foreign Ownership of Land Regulations, to allow their firm to purchase and control agricultural and recreational lands in Alberta; AND WHEREAS consideration is apparently being given to amend the Foreign Ownership of Land Regulations or provide exemptions under these regulations to address the request of Alberta Pacific Forest Industries Inc.;AND WHEREAS these amendments or exemptions would clearly change the intent of the regulations, and would substantially change the long-standing policy of the Government of Alberta on reserving all ownership of agricultural and recreational lands for the citizens of Canada;
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED that the AAMDC urge the Government of Alberta to maintain and enforce the existing provisions of the Foreign Ownership of Land Regulations, reserving ownership of land to Canadian citizens, and to refrain from granting any exemptions or substantive amendments which would allow foreign-owned corporations to obtain ownership of agricultural and recreational lands.
During the last several months, Alberta Pacific Forest Industries Inc. has presented proposals to rural and urban municipalities throughout northern Alberta, regarding the need to provide long-term sustainability for the company’s wood supplies. The company is proposing to achieve this through both long-term leases and land ownership, with a goal of obtaining 25,000 hectares of land in northeast Alberta. Since Alberta Pacific Forest Industries Inc. is foreign-owned, the company is not allowed to purchase agricultural and recreational land, and is limited to 20-year leases under the current Foreign Ownership of Land Regulations (enacted under the federal Citizenship Act and the Alberta Agricultural and Recreational Land Ownership Act). Therefore, the company has requested amendments to the regulations or exemptions from the regulations, to allow Alberta Pacific Forest Industries Inc. and similar companies to purchase and control agricultural and recreational lands in Alberta. The long-standing policy of Alberta has been to reserve such lands for citizens of Canada, to protect and preserve our agricultural and natural heritage. Changing the regulations would allow for foreign ownership of land and would possibly result in the following:1) Foreign corporate competition for agricultural land would have an adverse effect environmentally, socially and economically on traditional family farms, which are privately owned and operated agricultural production systems.2) It would set a precedent to allow other foreign industries access and ownership of agricultural and recreational lands.