Canadian Tonbridge Begins Condemnation on 33 Montana Landowners

by jhwygirl

It isn’t like I didn’t know this was coming, but I was sickened by the front page headline on the Great Falls Tribune this morning:

33 landowners face condemnations

I won’t rehash the sordid mess, but I will say that with adequate media coverage of this matter, the effect it would have on the next legislature would be deafening. Guaranteed.

If it’s one thing that will wake up Montanans it’s when private property is condemned. Find out it is for a private company for private profit? That won’t be good either.

Find out it’s not even an American company? Probably even worse. Realize that the only people getting jobs are the attorneys and their paralegals?

Ummm. Yeah.

Tonbridge was granted direct eminent domain authority over private property here in Montana. The legislature got lazy and the Governor, quite frankly, demanded it. Now private citizens will have to hire lawyers and face down private companies with little protection, other than the judge, to ensure that personal and property rights that are guaranteed in our constitution are protected and equitably compensated when true public benefit can be demonstrated.

Given our history here in this state?

Most obscene is the fact that Tonbridge spent enough money in cigars and steaks and 75 year old scotch that they had a special clause inserted into the bill guaranteeing it would apply to them (other state law does not allow them to apply retroactively.)

Corporate porn.

  1. Turner

    I guess we’re a Canadian colony.

  2. Steve W

    Anyone know how the petition is coming along?

    • I need to look into that. Thanks for the reminder. Frankly, I should be carrying signature sheets with me.

      • What petition is this you are talking about?

      • Hanneman

        The petition just came out. The petition drive web site and the accompanying press release will be launched on Monday. But, if you would like the petition file, the affadavit for signature gatherers, and an information sheet on signature gathering this weekend, just email me at –, and I will email you the pdfs.

        • While I am somewhat giggling about the irony of a Canadian company using eminent domain to take land away from American citizens (I am Native after all…), I would be interested in signing this petition.

          • Hanneman

            I agree – it is ironic, but all of us working on the referendum drive would truly appreciate your support. Please do email me –, and I will send you the petition.

  3. neogeo

    Let’s not forget who pushed this bill when it was about to die. None other than Democrat Brian Schweitzer, the guy who is now throwing a faux fit over Exxon’s oil spill while enabling even more pipelines and transmission lines with the eminent domain bill. It’ll be good to see this chameleon vanish from Montana’s policy arena before he does more long-lasting damage.

  1. 1 Sitting Bull must surely be laughing | The Road Less Traveled

    […] how disappointed I am in the Montana Media and worse, in the Montana bloggers that only one site – 4 & 20 Blackbirds – has done any reporting at all this issue. I have tried to find other stories like the one carried […]

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