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Alberta

Project Confederation group urging UCP Leadership hopefuls to consider Alberta first

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Article submitted by Josh Andrus of Project Confederation

The current Alberta government has certainly talked the talk about standing up to the federal government much better than previous administrations.

Actions speak louder than words, though, and action has been sorely lacking.

It has been more than nine months since Albertans strongly voiced their opinion in favour of abolishing equalization from the Constitution.

In the aftermath, the muted response from the federal government speaks volumes – when we called, nobody answered.

It has, therefore, become glaringly obvious that the equalization referendum was not enough to convince Ottawa to come to the table and initiate constitutional talks.

It’s also important to make sure we keep focused not just on any one particular problem, but on the core issue itself – the jurisdictional fight between the federal government and the provinces.

That’s why we need to effectively communicate to every Albertan three things:

  1. How the Canadian federation is supposed to work
  2. How it’s actually being run at the moment
  3. How to fix the problem and get it back to how it should be

1 How Canada is supposed to work is misunderstood (or misrepresented, perhaps deliberately so) all the time by the media, academics, politicians, and many others.

Canada is designed as a federation, and that word actually means something.

A federation is a union of (at least partially) self-governing states or provinces.

The creation of Canada didn’t merge a bunch of provinces, territories, colonies and countries into a single new entity.

Canadian confederation created a system where there was a clear division of powers between the federal government and the provinces.

Many (especially in Ottawa) think that the federal government sits “above” the provinces, suggesting it is more important, more powerful, and can tell the “lower” level of government what to do.

In fact, the federal government has complete sovereignty over the issues they were given jurisdiction over, while the provincial governments have complete sovereignty over the issues they were given jurisdiction over.

In short, Alberta – and all the other provinces – are supposed to be equal partners in this country, not subservient to continuously hostile federal governments in Ottawa.

 

2 Unfortunately, over time, the federal government has exerted jurisdiction over things it’s not supposed to control, and because the federal government gets to appoint federal judges, the federal judges have tended, also over time, to let the federal government get away with this.

Historically, this has involved ever-increasing federal control of natural resources and environmental concerns and the current federal government continued this trend, spending the past seven years trampling all over the constitutional jurisdiction of Alberta – through Bill C-69, Bill C-48, the carbon tax, and more.

Worse, they haven’t just completely ignored Alberta’s complaints about this overreach – they’ve actually continued to make things worse.

Since the equalization referendum, the federal government has continued to roll out even more new federal policies that will take over Alberta’s jurisdiction on a wide range of issues – childcare funding, healthcare rules, agriculture and fertilizer constraints, environment regulations, and more.

The current relationship between federal and provincial governments in Canada is not how it is supposed to be, and it isn’t sustainable.

Something has to give.

 

3 Given this approach by the federal government, it has become abundantly obvious that the equalization referendum was not enough to convince Ottawa to come to the table and negotiate some kind of compromise with Alberta.

Alberta must stand up for itself.

Alberta needs to start saying no to Ottawa, not just asking Ottawa nicely to change their mind.

Alberta must also demand that the Canadian Constitution be re-opened.

If the federal government’s judges are willing to twist the words in the Constitution so much that they become meaningless, then we need to re-write sections of the Constitution to make it crystal clear, in plain language, that the federal government’s current actions will not be tolerated or permitted any longer.

At a minimum, these changes would involve:

  • Abolishing equalization
  • A fair House of Commons
  • An equal Senate
  • Unrestricted free trade (including pipelines)
  • Complete provincial control over resources

Yes, this would be a big change from the current status quo.

But, let’s be clear, that’s only because things have drifted so far from what they are supposed to be.

Albertans are not actually asking for anything unique or radical.

We are simply asking for the federal government to follow the rules of the Constitution as they are written, not as they’ve been twisted to mean since.

And if the federal government won’t even agree to something as simple as that, well… at least we’ll have our answer then

Regards,

Josh Andrus
Executive Director
Project Confederation

PS:  If you’re in a position to contribute financially to our important work fighting for Alberta, you can make a donation here.

 

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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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