Over the past few weeks, there has been much discussion on the Yukon Civil Forfeiture Act (Bill 82) and thanks to the work of Yukoners for Civil Freedom we have an opportunity to stop this legislation.
So who would be affected by Bill 82? Moms, dads, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, business associates, friends, landlords, grandmas and grandpas who know someone involved in an unlawful activity. This is not about “tough on crime” and getting the big drug dealers or organized crime; this law is about giving the police the ability to take anyone’s asset (house, land, vehicles, guns, cash, jewelry, investments) they can identify as probably linked to a crime.
Bill 82 is also retroactive 10 years. In 2007, there were a total of 7,271 criminal incidents in Yukon. Each and every incident in 2007, plus all the other crimes reported up from 2010 until 2000 is an opportunity for the police to acquire people’s property with a probable link to unlawful activity.
The owner is not charged; the property is taken. The owner of the property would continue to hold the debt on the asset and the owner must prove that the asset was not related to the unlawful act if they want it back. If the asset is returned, the owner has no remedy to recoup costs taken to recover the asset, or any other harm caused from the forfeiture.
Forfeiture laws are financially lucrative. The BC government, within 17 months, has made more than $2 million in assets and another $3 million in the process. In Ontario, within three and a half years, $3.6 million in property has been forfeited under the act with an additional $11.5 million, pending completion of civil forfeiture proceedings.
In the United States, they have acquired billions of dollars of their citizens’ assets.
This law is not about protecting the people; this law is about government not listening. This legislation is insidious and attacks innocent people.
Kill Bill 82. Period.