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:
- How the Canadian federation is supposed to work
- How it’s actually being run at the moment
- 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
PS: If you’re in a position to contribute financially to our important work fighting for Alberta, you can make a donation here.
UCP asks Albertans to consider an Alberta Pension Plan
News release from the United Conservative party
The government is eager to hear your views. To find more information, and participate in a survey, tap the button below.
Albertans deserve a pension plan that reflects their hard work and earnings, and it is up to Albertans to decide which pension plan that is.
-Your UCP Team
Police arrest two more people following killing of eight-year-old girl in Alberta
An Edmonton Police Service logo is shown at a press conference in Edmonton, Oct. 2, 2017. Police in Edmonton have charged two more people following the killing of an eight-year-old girl whose remains were found on a First Nation south of the provincial capital in April. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Police in Edmonton have charged two more people following the killing of an eight-year-old girl whose remains were found on a First Nation south of the provincial capital.
Officers responded on April 24 to a welfare call about the girl at an Edmonton home but were unable to locate her.
Her remains were discovered five days later on the Samson Cree Nation in Maskwacis.
Shayden Lightning, who is 21, and Raighne Stoney, who is 36, have been charged with being an accessory to murder and causing an indignity to a body.
Three others were initially charged in the case.
Police are not releasing the names of two of the accused in order to protect the identities of other children related to the victim, whose identity is under a publication ban.
A 27-year-old woman faces a charge of first-degree murder and a 25-year-old man faces charges of being an accessory to murder and causing an indignity to a body.
Edward Nievera, 67, was charged with being an accessory to murder and causing an indignity to a body.
Edmonton police Staff Sgt. Colin Leathem said in a release Friday that the recent arrests will be the last in the case and that the investigation has concluded.
“We want to thank the RCMP in Maskwacis and Wetaskiwin for their assistance with this investigation,” he said. “Needless to say, this was an exceptionally distressing investigation to work on, and they went above and beyond in helping to facilitate these final arrests and bring this file to conclusion.
“While nothing can change the horror of what occurred, we hope (the arrests) can provide some measure of justice to those who knew and loved this little girl.”
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2023.
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