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Alberta

It’s time for the Alberta Sovereignty Act – Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan

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This article submitted by Red Deer South MLA Jason Stephan

THE ALBERTA SOVEREIGNTY ACT IS GOOD FOR ALBERTA

I supported the concept of the Alberta Sovereignty Act before the UCP leadership race. It was developed by the Free Alberta Strategy. I participated in their townhalls supporting their strategies, as did two of the UCP leadership candidates, Danielle Smith and Todd Loewen. Jason Kenney and his cabinet ministers did not.

What is the Alberta Sovereignty Act?

The Sovereignty Act affirms Alberta’s right to refuse and reject Federal Government actions or laws that intrude into provincial areas of jurisdiction or attack the interests of Alberta.

Ottawa recently released a “discussion paper” seeking to limit, or impose additional carbon taxes on, oil and gas development. This is not an isolated incident; this is a pattern of hostile behavior from Ottawa seeking to attack and take advantage of Alberta, holding it back.

Albertans should be aware that this discussion paper is likely a pretext, an excuse to either take more money from Alberta or prevent it from excelling ahead of other provinces.

Albertans should be aware that at any time Ottawa may leverage the Supreme Court of Canada decision permitting carbon taxes, overruling our Court of Appeal describing Ottawa’s carbon taxes as a “constitutional trojan horse”, to impose a targeted windfall or carbon tax on Alberta’s natural resources that discriminates and disproportionately punishes Alberta while sparing Ontario and Quebec from burden or harm.

The Supreme Court of Canada says carbon taxes are a tool that Ottawa has its disposal at any time to punish Alberta, yet under section 92A of the Constitution Act, Alberta has jurisdiction over its natural resources, not Ottawa.

The Alberta Sovereignty Act should be invoked to reject the “discussion paper” and tell Ottawa to leave Alberta and its constitutional jurisdiction alone.

The unfortunate truth is that Ottawa has made itself an unpredictable and hostile variable, a threat to the freedom and prosperity of Alberta businesses and families that should not be underestimated.

Alberta is compelled to protect itself.

Does the Establishment like the Alberta Sovereignty Act? No. Many Eastern politicians and their media pundits do not like the Alberta Sovereignty Act. It challenges the status quo they benefit under.

Their status quo has enabled a pattern of abuse and economic warfare on Alberta, disrespecting its jurisdiction over its resources, creating chaos and injecting commercial uncertainty, chasing away billions in private sector investments and thousands of Alberta jobs.

Albertans are becoming more aware that this is a rigged partnership. Alberta businesses and families give hundreds of millions more to Ottawa than they receive in return, with Ottawa using our money, not to benefit Alberta, but for political gain, primarily in Quebec, the structural welfare recipient under the partnership. Equalization is one of the devices that Ottawa uses for this purpose.

Albertans want change. Alberta held an equalization referendum. Ottawa ignored the result –to them Alberta is means to an end, they want our money. Strongly worded letters from Alberta politicians have accomplished nothing. It is time for less words and more actions.

Boundaries are reasonable and normal.

Boundaries are integral to adult relationships. The Alberta Sovereignty Act seeks to impose boundaries that Ottawa continually disrespects, to discriminate, attack, and force itself into Alberta’s constitutional jurisdictions.

Some of the UCP leadership candidates say the Alberta Sovereignty Act will produce chaos. They are wrong. It is a morally and fiscally bankrupt Ottawa, a trillion dollar plus fiscal train wreck, that is producing chaos. Ottawa is the risk that we can no longer afford, not a law that seeks to do something about it!

The Alberta Sovereignty Act is good for Alberta. Wisely applied it can help protect the Alberta Advantage, as the most attractive Canadian jurisdiction to start and grow a business, to work and raise our families. Alberta is a land of freedom and opportunity for us and our children. We must be vigilant to keep it that way.

The deadline to become a member of the United Conservative Party to vote in this leadership race is this Friday, August 12.  We invite all Alberta conservatives to become a member of the party, to vote and have your say on who will be the next leader and Premier of Alberta!

You can buy a membership here, or check if your membership is up-to-date here.

 

Alberta

Smith won’t seek early vote if she wins UCP leadership, becomes next Alberta premier

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United Conservative Party leadership candidate Danielle Smith says if she wins this week’s vote and becomes the next Alberta premier, she would not call an early election to seek a broad mandate on her policy ideas.

Smith, the perceived front-runner in the race, says the public tends to punish leaders who call an early election.

She says she would wait until the next scheduled election in May 2023, but believes she has a mandate now to proceed with her plans.

Smith has said she would immediately pass an Alberta sovereignty act, which would allow the province to ignore federal laws and court rulings deemed not in its interest.

Legal experts, some of Smith’s leadership rivals and Premier Jason Kenney have labelled the act not only illegal but a recipe for constitutional and economic chaos.

Smith has also talked about revamping the health system by using health spending accounts and firing the board of Alberta Health Services, which oversees the front-line delivery of care.

Today is the last day for advance voting, as seven candidates dig in for the final campaign push before UCP members select a new leader to replace Kenney on Thursday.

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Alberta

Alberta commits $20.8 million over the next four years to fight human trafficking

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By Rob Drinkwater in Edmonton

The Alberta government is providing $20.8 million over the next four years to implement recommendations from a star-led task force on human trafficking.

Country singer Paul Brandt, chair of the Alberta Human Trafficking Task Force, personally thanked Premier Jason Kenney during the funding announcement Sunday at Edmonton International Airport for his willingness to prioritize the issue, and for putting faith in Brandt to lead the group.

“Premier Kenney’s longtime personal dedication and commitment to the issue of human trafficking is authentic and is admirable,” Brandt said.

“He’s the only political leader I’ve met in my 17 years of advocating for trafficking victims and survivors who took the time and initiative to personally write a plan to address this horrific crime.”

The money will establish an office to combat trafficking as well as a centre of excellence for research and data collection — recommendations the government accepted when the task force presented its report in March.

Justice Minister Tyler Shandro said the goal is to launch the office by next summer.

Other task force recommendations that will be supported include a new grant for community projects and Indigenous-led and culturally appropriate services. Civilian positions that will focus on supporting victims and survivors throughout human trafficking investigations will also be funded.

“Human trafficking is far more prevalent — way more common — than the stats would suggest because it’s a hidden crime,” Kenney said at the announcement.

“It festers in the dark. There are victims who face fear, shame and self-doubt and some who will never report what they’ve gone through.”

The task force was appointed in May 2020 and engaged with nearly 100 experts and survivors of trafficking to provide guidance on how to best implement the government’s action plan to fight human trafficking.

The government has said human trafficking includes sexual exploitation, forced labour trafficking and trafficking in human organs or tissues.

Kenney, who will be replaced as premier when his United Conservative Party selects a new leader on Thursday, noted he started fighting human trafficking over 20 years ago when he was an MP and joined a group of international parliamentarians on a coalition to fight the practice.

Later as Canada’s immigration minister, he said he took steps to make it easier for human trafficking victims who had migrated to Canada to obtain safety and protection.

In winter 2019, he said he committed the UCP to a nine-point action plan to combat human trafficking, which led to the Protecting Survivors of Human Trafficking Act, which took effect in May 2020.

Brandt said it was exciting to be part of the funding commitment at the airport, where he said he stood in 2019 for a partnership with the facility and other groups in the Edmonton region to fight trafficking, which he called “modern day slavery.”

“It has been our dream that special focus and permanent funding would one day become a reality. Today is that day,” Brandt said.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 2, 2022.

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