The feudal relationship

The history of Canada (beginning naturally with the most populated and resourceful area of Québec or Lower Canada), like much of that of England, is infused with the feudal ownership of land, primarily a division of interests between proprietary (initially the Crown or King) and tenancy (vassals or subjects). In short it was a separation of government and governed putatively for mutual advantage.

Today the vestiges of the neo-feudal land system that dominated Quebec for centuries can still be seen and felt. Plots of land along the Saint Lawrence River still hold their elongated shape from the manorial years. References to old manor deeds and titles are still dredged up in Canadian court from time to time.

Feudalism is defined by the Canada History Project as:
“a system of political and social organization prevalent in western Europe during the Middle Ages (roughly 500–1450 AD). It was based on the relationship between a lord, who provided land and protection, and a vassal or serf, who pledged military and other services to his lord. The serf was tied to the same lord or piece of land for life.”

Current land ownership includes variant diversions, from the basic distinction between ownership and possession to the more complicated and sometimes esoteric divisions, such as short and long-term tenancies (residential and commercial), condominiums (the so-called “fee in the air”), cooperative (corporate) ownership (with its rights of exclusive possession), life tenancy and the very complicated trustee relationships. The divisions are however always reduced to a palpable distinction between government and entitlement.

Only yesterday, for example, as I lingered with my erstwhile physician upon his garden patio overlooking the nearby meadow, in-ground pool and surrounding weeping willows in the distance, he mentioned how pleased he was to remove himself from the daily exigencies of his profession, and to relieve himself mentally and spiritually in the domain and privacy of his country seat. I know that he is further enabled to mollify himself by the pleasure of cycling with his dog along the adjoining quiet country road which in turn skirts a meandering tributary of the Ottawa River. The overriding feature of his estate ownership is his personal government removed from public interruption or obstruction.

From my present perspective as an elderly person and as a residential tenant, I derive enormous gratification from our current land ownership/tenancy relationship. It pleases me for example to know that I have the benefit of the perpetual existence of our corporate landlord; that is, the underlying ownership of the land upon part of which we reside is vested in a corporation which by definition will never die, thus ensuring that our tenancy is immutable so long as we observe our contractual obligations. It is an amusing detail that, not unlike the origin of the feudal relationships, we are adjacent a large tract of agricultural land bordering a river.

There are additionally other subordinate interests in the land which we occupy as residential tenants.  The corporate owner – again not unlike the historic feudal sovereign – has transferred the immediate care of the property to Tulip Property Management under the auspices of Kim Matthew.  There is further upon a similar realm of attornment the gentleman whom I call the “Superintendent”, Jared Laginski. Then there is the landscaper and gardener, Jeff.

Attornment is the act of granting authority or jurisdiction to a party even though no legal rights exist. It is from this that derives the expression “attorney-at- law” for the description of one’s lawyer.

These additional associates (aided by contractual employees) add commensurate care and control of the property. The benefits we as tenants enjoy are related professional property management, personal care and safety. It is my view at this stage of existence that the transfer of such dominion to third parties is both desirable and commendable. As in all other instances of property ownership, it bears mentioning that our Landlord (assisted by its delegates) is fulfilling its own undertakings in an exemplary manner. This close attention is important not only to ourselves as tenants; it further reflects charitably upon the surrounding residential community which, during development not unlike similar situations, expressed vital (sometimes critical) personal interest as adjoining landowners. In the result the building (of which Peter Mansfield is the architect) and the property (of which Inverness Homes and related parties are the owners) has become a credit to the Town of Almonte in general and to the nearby community in particular. It represents a propitious proprietary and social complement.