Canada Lands’ mandate

In 2005, the federal government entrusted title to the Garden City Lands to Canada Lands Company and its subidiary. Canada Lands’ policy page states the mandate of both:

The mandate of Canada Lands Company Limited (CLCL), a non-agent federal Crown corporation is to ensure the commercially oriented, orderly disposition of surplus strategic real properties, optimizing financial and community value, and the holding of certain properties. It accomplishes this by purchasing strategic surplus properties from federal departments and agencies at fair market value, then improving, managing or selling them in order to produce the optimal benefit for the company’s shareholder, the Government of Canada, and local communities. (emphasis added)

It is questionable whether Canada Lands has been worthy of the great trust it was given. Considerable evidence suggests that it has not acted for the net benefit of the local community with the Garden City Lands so far. However, the Agricultural Land Commission will soon give Canada Lands a second chance if the panel considering the application to exclude the Lands from the ALR turns it down. The panel will be addressing the application when it meets at the end of September, and it will probably announce the decision soon afterward.

In the new situation that will arise with that decision, Canada Lands will still need to observe its contractual duties to the Musqueam Indian Band, which has a beneficial interest in the Lands in order to get funds from them. This time, however, Canada Lands could also make a far more consistent effort to work for the benefit of the local community.

If Canada Lands does not immediately begin following the “local community” part of its mandate, it will be time to warn the federal government and every community across Canada about the discrepancy between Canada Lands’ mandate and its actions.

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