Quebec Tries To Ban Some Private Strips

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While alphabet groups in the U.S. are fighting federal policies they say give control of the skies to sports interests, the Canadian Owners and Pilots Association's battle is a horse of a different color. A Quebec government department that normally deals with agriculture issues is trying to clip the wings of rural residents. The Commission de Protection du Territoire Agricole du Quebec, an agricultural land management agency, is trying to stop Bernard Laferriere from using his rural property as a grass airstrip. In doing so, it has launched a debate over aviation jurisdiction, Canadian-style. The Canadian Owners and Pilots Association (COPA) is trying to slam the barn door shut on what it deems the agency's intrusion into the federal government's sole jurisdiction over aviation matters. It wasn't the livestock that complained about Laferriere's aviation activity, it was a neighbor. So far, the complaint has been upheld through the appeals process in Quebec but COPA is claiming the ruling intrudes on federal jurisdiction. COPA says the Canadian constitution gives only the federal government the authority over such things. "Our position remains firm and is strongly supported by legal precedent; provincial or municipal government cannot regulate or prohibit aeronautical activity by use of regulations, bylaws or the like as this is an area which is under exclusive federal jurisdiction," COPA officials said in a statement.