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Alberta

Albertans to vote on senators, equalization, daylight saving time

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Albertans will have an opportunity to have their say on equalization and daylight saving time and elect nominees to the Senate when they vote in the fall municipal elections.

In addition to voting for Senate nominees, Albertans will be asked to vote on these two provincial topics on Oct. 18, in conjunction with the municipal elections:

  • Equalization payments – Should the principle of making equalization payments be removed from the Constitution?
  • Daylight saving time – Should Alberta end the practice of changing our clocks twice a year?

“Alberta has a long and proud tradition of grassroots, direct democracy. We will renew that tradition this fall. I encourage all Albertans to get engaged on these important issues and I look forward to taking part in the debate this fall.”

Jason Kenney, Premier

Equalization

Over the last 25 years, Albertans have contributed more than $400 billion more to the nation in tax dollars than they have received in federal spending. Albertans make an immense contribution to equalization through federal tax contributions, which are transferred by the federal government to other provinces for programs and services. The current program has many issues, including a formula that requires it to grow automatically with Canada’s economy, even if contributing provinces like Alberta are experiencing immense economic challenges.

Daylight saving time

Across Canada and the United States, more governments are bringing forward legislation to move to permanent daylight saving time, also known as summer hours. In 2019, Service Alberta asked Albertans if they thought we should make a similar shift. More than 141,000 Albertans responded, of which 91 per cent were in favour of year-round summer hours.

“Changing our clocks twice a year is something that every Albertan has an opinion on. As Alberta first adopted daylight saving time following a referendum in 1971, we owe it to Albertans to give them the same opportunity to make their voices heard now that we are considering another change.”

Nate Glubish, Minister of Service Alberta

Senate elections

Along with the municipal elections and the two referendum questions this fall, Albertans will elect three Senate nominees – one for each of the two current vacancies and one in case of early retirement.

The Senate nominee election enhances democracy in the province by allowing Albertans to choose the individuals who will best represent them in Parliament. Having representatives elected by Albertans would increase senators’ accountability to Alberta voters to defend the province’s interests.

Provincial police and pension

For the topics of creating an Alberta Police Service and Alberta Pension Plan, further analysis and work are underway before next steps are determined.

“Through the Fair Deal Panel, Albertans who are policed by the RCMP said that they want to see Alberta build its own provincial police service to improve policing in their communities. We are continuing to study what this could look like and how it could improve the safety and security of Albertans and their property, as part of making an informed decision on the next steps.”

Kaycee Madu, Minister of Justice and Solicitor General

“The potential creation of an Alberta Pension Plan would be a significant decision for Albertans. As such, we are continuing the important work of completing an actuarial, economic and structural analysis so Albertans can make an educated and well-informed choice, and their questions and concerns can be adequately addressed. We look forward to putting this important decision on the table when the time is right.”

Travis Toews, President of Treasury Board and Minister of Finance

Quick facts

  • The equalization question will be: “Should Section 36(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982 –Parliament and the Government of Canada’s commitment to the principle of making equalization payments – be removed from the Constitution?”
  • Between 2014 and 2019 alone, Albertans made a net contribution of more than $100 billion to the federal government through federal taxes that helped build critical infrastructure.
  • Alberta has not received an equalization payment since the 1964-65 fiscal year.
  • The question on daylight saving time will be finalized this summer.
  • During 2019 and 2020, legislation was tabled in British Columbia and Ontario to move to summer hours all year. These changes have yet to be implemented.
  • In March 2020, the Yukon stopped changing their clocks and adopted Pacific daylight time year-round.
  • Since 2018, 17 American states have passed legislation to move to summer hours (daylight saving time) permanently and more states are debating the topic. However, in the United States, federal approval is required to enact the change.
  • Saskatchewan, Arizona and Hawaii do not change their clocks twice a year.
  • The Government of Alberta would provide names of elected Senate nominees to the prime minister for consideration when filling Senate vacancies.

This is a news release from the Government of Alberta.

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Alberta

Alberta backs Saskatchewan in court battle defending parental consent for ‘pronoun changes’

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From LifeSiteNews

By Clare Marie Merkowsky

‘Saskatchewan and Alberta agree that the key figures in children’s lives are their parents, and our provinces are both committed to supporting families and children so that they can work through unique needs together,’ the provinces wrote in a joint letter in defense of parental rights.

Alberta has announced its support of Saskatchewan’s policy requiring parental consent for children to go by different pronouns at school amid a lawsuit against the policy by an LGBT activist group.  

On April 9, Alberta Minister of Justice and Attorney General Mickey Amery and Saskatchewan Minister of Justice and Attorney General Bronwyn Eyre revealed that Alberta will intervene in Saskatchewan’s Parents’ Bill of Rights case challenging their new pro-family laws.  

“Saskatchewan and Alberta agree that the key figures in children’s lives are their parents, and our provinces are both committed to supporting families and children so that they can work through unique needs together,” the joint statement read.  

“Notifying parents and requiring their consent before a child’s name or pronouns can be changed in schools, and before classroom discussions about gender identity and other sensitive subjects occur, ensures that the parent-child relationship is respected and paramount,” it continued.  

The pronoun policy is just one part of Saskatchewan’s new “Parental Inclusion and Consent Policies,” which also include provisions that ensure parents are allowed to opt their kids out of sex-ed, and that third-party presentations from groups such as Planned Parenthood will be prohibited from taking place.   

After the policies were put forth, LGBT activist group UR Pride Centre for Sexuality and Gender Diversity at the University of Regina, represented by Egale Canada, filed a lawsuit to reverse the pro-family laws.  

While a judge has ruled in favor of the LGBT group, Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced in response that he will invoke his government’s notwithstanding clause to protect the legislation from the courts.   

The notwithstanding clause, embedded in section 33 of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, allows provinces to temporarily override sections of the Charter to protect new laws from being scrapped while higher courts make a determination on the constitutionality of the law.

The case is set to be heard in the Saskatchewan Court of Appeal. During the case, Saskatchewan will now be supported by Alberta, which has committed to intervene in the appeal. 

“This case has the potential to impact not only parental rights across Canada, but also the application of the Parliamentary Supremacy Clause, which has been an integral piece of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Constitution of Canada since 1982,” it declared. 

Similar to Saskatchewan, Alberta recently introduced its much-anticipated pro-family legislation protecting children and parental rights from the worst results of transgender ideology, including banning doctors from medically ‘transitioning’ children, requiring parental consent for pronoun changes in school, and barring men claiming to be women from women’s sports.   

Recent surveys have shown that Moe is acting in the interest of Saskatchewan parents by introducing legislation protecting school children from LGBT propaganda.   

According to an August 2023 survey, 86 percent of Saskatchewan participants advocated for parental rights, supporting the province’s new approach to the LGBT agenda in schools.

Furthermore, over 40,000 Canadians have pledged their support for Saskatchewan’s fight for parental rights in the classroom, also calling on all other provinces to follow suit.     

Additionally, a Saskatchewan teacher wishing to remain anonymous previously told LifeSiteNews that she feels guilty about keeping secrets from parents and supports the decision to keep parents informed.    

“I fear that we are not supporting students or parents when we keep secrets,” she explained. “We have many students using alternate names, which sometimes changes frequently during the year, and then are asked by parents if we were aware of the changes after the fact. I feel responsible for keeping the secret and I don’t think it’s fair. I think schools are already taking on too many ‘parent roles’ and it’s important that parents play the ‘parent role’ not teachers!”   

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Alberta

Alberta taking back control of federal agreements

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Alberta has introduced legislation requiring provincial entities to obtain approval before entering, amending, extending or renewing agreements with the federal government.

The introduction of the Provincial Priorities Act, 2024 will support Alberta’s government in pushing back against the federal government’s ongoing overreach into areas of provincial jurisdiction. Alberta’s government will ensure federal funding is aligned with provincial priorities, rather than with priorities contrary to the province’s interests. Under the legislation, agreements between the federal government and provincial entities, including municipalities, that have not received provincial approval would be invalid.

As an example, the federal government’s unrelenting and ideological push toward electric buses in Canadian cities including Calgary does not acknowledge mounting evidence of significant problems with their effectiveness during harsh Alberta winters. Alberta’s government believes the funds that Ottawa allocated for unreliable and impractical electric buses would have been better spent on Alberta priorities including strengthening the province’s economic corridors with improved roads and commuter rail, or advancing the province’s hydrogen strategy as an alternate clean-energy source for transportation.

If passed, the legislation would also support Alberta’s government in getting its fair share of funding when it comes to roads, infrastructure, housing and other priorities. Nowhere is this more apparent than in housing. In summer 2023, Alberta received only 2.5 per cent of the total $1.5 billion in federal housing funds, despite having 12 per cent of the country’s population and, by far, the fastest population growth.

The legislation would also work to prevent taxpayer dollars being wasted on duplicative programs like pharmacare and dental care when what the province really needs is envelope funding to expand existing provincial programs in these areas.

“It is not unreasonable for Alberta to demand fairness from Ottawa. They have shown time and again that they will put ideology before practicality, which hurts Alberta families and our economy. We are not going to apologize for continuing to stand up for Albertans so we get the best deal possibleSince Ottawa refuses to acknowledge the negative impacts of its overreach, even after losing battles at the Federal and Supreme Courts, we are putting in additional measures to protect our provincial jurisdiction to ensure our province receives our fair share of federal tax dollars and that those dollars are spent on the priorities of Albertans.”

Danielle Smith, Premier

Currently, the Government Organization Act requires intergovernmental agreements to be approved by the Minister of Intergovernmental Relations for Alberta government departments and some public agencies, such as Alberta Gaming, Liquor and Cannabis; Alberta Securities Commission; and Travel Alberta.

However, this requirement does not extend to all Alberta public agencies or broader public sector organizations including municipalities, public post-secondary institutions, school boards and health entities, which has created gaps that could result in federal agreements contradicting provincial priorities and investments. By introducing the Provincial Priorities Act, Alberta’s government is working to close those gaps.

Under the proposed legislation, provincial entities include Alberta public agencies and Crown-controlled organizations, as well as public post-secondary institutions, school boards, regional health authorities, Covenant Health, municipal authorities and housing management bodies.

“For years, the federal government has been imposing its agenda on Alberta taxpayers through direct funding agreements with cities and other provincial organizations. Not only does Alberta not receive its per capita share of federal taxpayer dollars, the money we do receive is often directed towards initiatives that don’t align with Albertan’s priorities. Albertans from all corners of the province expect our federal share of taxes for roads, infrastructure, housing and other priorities – not federal government political pet projects and programs in select communities.”

Ric McIver, Minister of Municipal Affairs

Currently, Quebec is the only other province or territory with similar legislation that requires provincial approval of intergovernmental agreements between a broad scope of public sector organizations and the federal government. During a federal-provincial-territorial meeting in November 2023, Premiers from across the country demanded that the federal government work with them, not around them when it came to agreements with municipalities. Additionally, the Premiers committed to exploring the need for provincial authorization on federal agreements.

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