No matter who wins the UCP Leadership race, you can count on a turbulent relationship with Ottawa. Albertans have long had issues with how the Liberal government stifles the critical Oil and Gas industry. Now Alberta’s farmers are finding out what that feels like, as the federal government is introducing measures to reduce the amount of nitrogen fertilizer they use.
To add to the level of animosity between the two governments, a growing number of Alberta UCP supporters are voicing dissatisfaction over Covid restrictions and mandates. This group is active politically, and seems to be rallying behind frontrunner Daniel Smith and likeminded Todd Loewen. The idea is to avoid future restrictions and mandates provincially, and stand up against any federal measures.
It’s no coincidence then, that the leading candidates in the UCP race all have strong platform initiatives to stand up to Ottawa. Here’s what they look like, beginning with Danielle Smith’s “Alberta Sovereignty Act.
Danielle Smith – Alberta Sovereignty Act
It is clear that my proposed Alberta Sovereignty Act has thus far been the central issue of the UCP leadership campaign. Tens of thousands of Albertans have embraced the idea of actually standing up to Ottawa’s attacks against us, rather than usual ineffective letter writing campaigns and complaining.
It’s been both exciting and heartwarming to see hope restored to so many in our Province, and I want them to know how much their faith and confidence in this initiative strengthen my personal resolve to see it through.
Unsurprisingly, many in the media and establishment do not support the Alberta Sovereignty Act and have turned to the tried and tested methods of fearmongering and disinformation to discredit the idea. Unfortunately, some of my fellow UCP candidates may have fallen into their trap.
My hope in releasing this FAQ sheet on the Alberta Sovereignty Act, is that more Albertans and MLAs will take a thoughtful look at this policy, and join the growing majority of Albertans who want to see us stand up to Ottawa, restore our constitutional rights, and take control of our future in this manner.
I am sincerely looking forward to implementing this critically important piece of legislation together.
– Danielle Smith
What is the Alberta Sovereignty Act?
A proposed provincial law that would affirm the authority of the Provincial Legislature to refuse enforcement of any Federal law or policy that violates the jurisdictional rights of Alberta under Sections 92 – 95 of the Constitution or that breaches the Charter Rights of Albertans.
How will it be used?
When the Federal Government institutes a law or policy that appears to violate the constitution or Charter, the Government of Alberta may introduce a Special Motion for a free vote of all MLAs in the Legislature. The Special Motion would include the following:
1. Identification of the Federal law or policy that it deems to be in violation of the Constitution
2. An Outline of the specific harms that violation of the Constitution imposes on the citizens of Alberta
3. Description of the specific actions the Province will take to refuse the enforcement of that Federal law or policy in Alberta
4. A Declaration that by authority of the Alberta Sovereignty Act and notwithstanding the specific Federal law or policy in question, it shall not be enforced by the Provincial Government within Alberta in the manner outlined by the Special Motion
5. Imposition a specific time frame (no more than 24 months) by which the Special Motion will be reviewed in the Legislature
Will a Premier or Governing Party be able to refuse enforcement of any Federal Law or Policy they don’t like?
No, the Alberta Sovereignty Act may not be used unless specifically authorized by way of a free vote of all elected MLAs in the Alberta Legislature, as explained above.
What examples of Federal Laws will the Alberta Sovereignty Act be applied to?
Examples could include:
– Federal mandatory vaccination policies – Charter violation
– Use of Emergencies Act to jail & freeze accounts of peaceful protesters – Charter violation
– Bill C-69 ‘No New Pipelines’ Law – found unconstitutional by Alberta Court of Appeal
– Mandatory cuts to fertilizer use by Alberta Farmers – violation of s.95
– Mandatory emissions and production cuts to Alberta energy projects – violation of s.92A
– Federal gun grabs – violation of s.92(13)
Is the Alberta Sovereignty Act about Separation from Canada?
No, the entire objective of the Alberta Sovereignty Act is to assert Alberta’s Constitutional Rights within Canada to the furthest extent possible by effectively governing itself as a Nation within a Nation, just as Quebec has done for decades and as Saskatchewan is also now considering.
If anything, the restoration of provincial rights and autonomy of every province from the destructive overreach of Ottawa is likely the only viable way for Canada to survive and flourish into the future. Ottawa’s “divide, control and conquer’ policies have Canada on a path of division and disunity. Alberta can and must lead on this issue going forward.
Is the Alberta Sovereignty Act illegal or does it run contrary to the rule of law?
No, just the opposite.
Over the last several years the Federal Government has triggered a constitutional crisis through repeated lawless attacks on provincial constitutional rights and the Charter.
The Trudeau Government has effectively imposed economic sanctions against Alberta (and parts of Saskatchewan and BC) that have resulted in economic chaos.
Hundreds of billions in investment and tax revenues, and hundreds of thousands of jobs, have been lost to these sanctions as investors around the world find it too risky to do business in Alberta’s energy industry. In fact, no new major development of our world class oil sands has been commenced in almost 20 years as a result.
The idea expressed by some UCP leadership candidates that the Alberta Sovereignty Act would “cause chaos” in the markets is naive in the extreme. The “chaos” is already here and has been caused by both Ottawa’s unlawful policies and an utter lack of provincial leadership on effectively pushing back against those attacks.
The fact is the Alberta Sovereignty Act reimposes constitutional rule of law on a lawless Ottawa by reaffirming the critical import of respecting the powers and jurisdiction of the Provinces under the Canadian Constitution.
Brian Jean – Autonomy For Albertans Act
I started with policies designed to change how Alberta reacts to the federal government and Canada. I want us to stop being defensive and go on the offensive. We have to stop covering up and we have to take the fight to Canada.
The five sets of actions that will protect and enhance Alberta’s Autonomy Within Canada are:
These actions and this approach is very different than how Alberta has traditionally acted. This is very different from what the other leadership candidates are proposing. First this is about acting, about doing something. The “Alberta Sovereignty Act” proposal is purely defensive and reactive. Instead of saying to Canada “we won’t enforce your rules if you come after us,” I am saying that we need to take the initiative.
My proposals are about taking ACTION and going on the offense. Danielle Smith proposes a purely defensive strategy that surrenders on past fights. Travis Toews has no strategy at all in this area — he wants to continue Jason Kenney’s practice of writing stern and meaningless letters whenever we get stepped on.
When we open the Constitution, we can deal with the issues of: pipelines and right-of-ways, access to tidewater, stopping provinces and the federal government from landlocking provinces, and democratic under-representation. Taking the fight to the rest of Canada is the way to actually get results and reverse the damage.
Passing an unconstitutional “Sovereignty Act” that only kicks in the next time we are punched doesn’t change anything. It will likely encourage Trudeau to hit Alberta harder.
Fighting the efforts of the World Economic Forum to change our society is something Alberta should have been doing all along.
As is using the courts intelligently including as a way to get expert testimony into the record in important legal debates.
Fighting back against the insults of Quebec and the federal government should have always been our policy. Instead under Jason Kenney we too often gave away things hoping that other provinces would return the favour. They did not.
Finally, we should learn from Quebec and have our position in the world recognized by Canada. Alberta is an energy superpower and it should own Canada’s seat at the global table whenever energy issues are discussed.
Rebecca Schulz – 100 DAY PROVINCIAL RIGHTS STRATEGY
A Schulz government would immediately start the 100 Day Provincial Rights Action Plan, with clear steps – and a timeline – to fight, negotiate, partner, and strengthen Alberta’s position with Confederation.
“No more letters, no more panels, and no more empty threats – Albertans want action and results when it comes to defending our rights in confederation and seeing our province reach its full potential.” – Rebecca Schulz
Within the first 10 days, a Schulz government will appoint a Deputy Premier and team with the primary focus to act as Alberta’s lead negotiators in strengthening Alberta’s position in Canada.
This will include:
- Presenting the federation with a package of common sense reforms on equalization, fiscal stabilization, and greater provincial control over programs through tax points
- Presenting the federation with a list of federal, provincial overlap in regulations/policy and begin negotiations on disentanglement
- Pursuing an Alberta Pension Plan, Alberta Employment Insurance and an Alberta Revenue Agency
Within the first 50 days, Schulz and the Deputy Premier would present a Provincial Rights
Framework, to identify every legal and constitutional measure possible to stand up against Ottawa’s continued attacks on provincial jurisdiction.
This will include:
- Calling for a Protecting Provincial Rights Summit to bring provinces to the table and identify every measure to stand up for jurisdictional rights against federal interference
- Continuing the fight against the Tanker Ban (C-48) and Trudeau’s No-More Pipelines legislation (C-69), alongside all 10 provinces
- Taking every proactive legal measure possible against Trudeau’s federal emissions and fertilizer caps.
Within the first 100 days, Schulz and the Deputy Premier would present a new Market Access Plan to create political and economic incentives for federal and provincial governments to negotiate with Alberta in good faith for improved trade and market access.
This will include:
- Identifying strategic actions to deter other provinces or levels of government from limiting Alberta’s market access and trade
- Developing criteria for when Alberta will Turn off the Taps through the Preserving Canada’s Economic Prosperity Act.
“You don’t need to spend weeks on the campaign trail to understand how frustrated Albertans are of being pushed around. The emissions and fertilizer caps are just two of the most recent examples of governments interfering with our provincial trade and prosperity. It’s about time Albertans were presented with a real plan to take action.” – Rebecca Schulz
Two deputy chief medical officers resign from their positions with Alberta Health
Edmonton – Alberta’s two deputy chief medical officers of health are leaving their roles — less than a month after Dr. Deena Hinshaw was removed as the province’s top doctor.
Health Minister Jason Copping confirmed during question period Wednesday that both of the doctors have submitted letters of resignation.
“They are still continuing to work at this point in time,” he said in the legislature. “We are in the process of actually looking to fill those roles.”
A statement from Alberta Health said Dr. Rosana Salvaterra and Dr. Jing Hu, who are listed as public health physicians on the department’s website, have given notice.
When reached by her department email, Salvaterra responded: “Unfortunately, we are not able to comment.”
She later added that she respects and admires both Dr. Hinshaw and Dr. Hu.
“They are brilliant, hard-working, and compassionate public health physicians and I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to work alongside them for these past 14 months.”
Salvaterra, who has extensive public health experience including as the medical officer of health for Peterborough, Ont., joined the office in October 2021.
Her career in public health includes work in “the COVID-19 response, mental health, the opioid response, women’s health, poverty reduction, health equity, community food security and building stronger relationships with First Nations.”
Hu’s out-of-office message said her “last day at work with Alberta Health was Nov. 18, 2022,” and noted she wouldn’t have access to the department email after that date.
She got extensive training in China and at the University of Calgary before joining the health department in January 2020.
Their resignations came within a month of Hinshaw, who became the face of Alberta’s public health response to the COVID-19 pandemic, being removed from her position.
Hinshaw was replaced by Dr. Mark Joffe, a senior executive member of Alberta Health Services, on an interim basis.
“Dr. Joffe will be supported by medical officers of health within AHS, by other staff in the Office of the Chief Medical Officer of Health, and by the Public Health Division,” said the statement from Alberta Health late Wednesday.
“We expect these changes to have no impact on the department’s and Dr. Joffe’s ability to meet the requirements of the Public Health Act.”
Hinshaw’s dismissal didn’t come as a surprise.
Premier Danielle Smith announced on her first day in office in October that she would be replaced.
Smith has made it clear that she blames both Hinshaw and Alberta Health Services for failing to deliver the best advice and care for Albertans as the hospital system came close to buckling in successive waves of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“A lot of the bad decisions were made by Alberta Health Services on the basis of bad advice from the chief medical officer of health,” Smith told reporters on Oct. 22.
Smith has not placed the blame on front-line doctors and nurses but broadly on AHS senior management. Joffe, while serving as chief medical officer of health, retains his role in AHS senior management as a vice-president responsible for areas in cancer and clinical care.
Hinshaw, an Alberta-trained public health specialist, became a celebrity of sorts in the first wave of the pandemic in the spring of 2020, as she delivered regular, sometimes daily, updates to Albertans on the virus, its spread and methods to contain it.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.
— By Colette Derworiz in Calgary.
Alberta introduces bill for $2.8 billion in inflation-fighting payouts, rollbacks
Edmonton – The Alberta government has introduced legislation to implement inflation-fighting rebates and payouts announced recently by Premier Danielle Smith.
Affordability Minister Matt Jones says the changes allow for help for families, seniors and the vulnerable soon.
Middle- to lower-income families, those with a household income of less than $180,000 a year, are to get $600 over six months for each child under 18 years of age.
The same income threshold and benefit applies to seniors, and the payout will also go to those on disability supports.
There will be electricity rebates and the 13 per cent provincial tax on gasoline is suspended from January to June.
The total cost of the package is pegged at $2.8 billion.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 7, 2022.
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