Anger over surface rights sunk campaign: Lund

A veteran Central Alberta MLA believes he lost Monday’s election race because of misinformation about landowner rights being spread by his Wildrose Party opponent and eventual successor.

A veteran Central Alberta MLA believes he lost Monday’s election race because of misinformation about landowner rights being spread by his Wildrose Party opponent and eventual successor.

After serving the Rocky Mountain House area since 1989, Progressive Conservative Ty Lund was defeated by Joe Anglin by more than 1,500 votes on Monday.

Lund, 74, said he is very disappointed he will no longer represent the riding, now known as Rimbey-Rocky Mountain House-Sundre. But he added the change wasn’t totally unexpected.

He said he fought hard from the beginning against his own Tory government’s Land Stewardship Act, or Bill 36.

“I deemed it the worst piece of legislation I had ever seen,” said Lund on Wednesday. “I didn’t agree with government or any other identity to take land or any other property from an individual without due process or compensation.”

Lund said he and about three other MLAs, including fellow Conservative Richard Marz, who did not seek re-election as the MLA for Olds-Didsbury-Three Hills, were strong opponents of the bill and managed to get four amendments made.

“Now, the government nor anyone else can possibly take property from an individual without due process or compensation,” said Lund.

He was also instrumental in seeing the Property Rights Advocate Act get passed this spring. A landowner can now approach an advocate, who can even work the individual through court proceedings.

But Lund said a number of Central Albertans didn’t know about the latest news on property rights.

Instead, Anglin was holding meetings where he wasn’t giving out proper information on the changes that had been made within the legislation and new Act, Lund said.

“People thought the original law was in place, but it’s not,” Lund said. “Unfortunately, it didn’t resonate with people that we had made those changes.”

Anglin disagreed with Lund’s view that positive changes were made with the Land Stewardship Act.

“I know the act inside and out,” said Anglin. “Ty was trying to say the bills were fixed, but that simply wasn’t true.”

Anglin believes the government’s support for a new transmission line in the area was another reason for Lund’s loss.

“There’s a lot of things this PC government has done and it doesn’t reflect on Ty as an individual,” Anglin said.

Lund had been the longest serving MLA, along with his colleague, Lesser Slave Lake PC MLA Pearl Calahasen. She was first elected in 1989 and was re-elected on Monday. Ken Kowalski, first elected in 1979 as the PC MLA for Barrhead, retired at the 2012 election.

Lund said he’s received many phone calls since Monday, including from Premier Alison Redford who said she was sorry for what had happened.

Lund’s accomplishments over his six terms of office include five different ministerial portfolios, the most recent being minister of infrastructure and transportation until December 2006.

He oversaw infrastructure projects including the new courthouse that was built in Calgary. As a cabinet minister, Lund made sure there were dollars in place for the new Rimbey hospital, the new school in Sundre and the new high school in Rocky, plus the new bridge across the Saskatchewan River.

“There were smaller things we got done in the community, but more importantly for individuals, we helped them for any problems,” Lund said. “The only thing I said I couldn’t do because I wasn’t qualified enough was legal stuff.”

After being in politics for so long, Lund said his new life will be a change for him.

Lund will keep busy on his mixed farm near Alhambra, his grandparents’ homestead.

“I’ve always loved the farm, so it’s not as though I’ll be sitting in a rocking chair,” Lund said.

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