Trudeau says economic issues more pressing than Alberta's sovereignty act
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he will remain focused on jobs and the cost of living for Albertans as the province prepares to table controversial legislation one federal minister called a threat to national unity. The Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act — which is expected to be tabled later today in the Alberta legislature — was a centrepiece of Premier Danielle Smith's campaign for the leadership of the governing United Conservative Party this fall.
EDMONTON — When the Alberta legislature resumed sitting Tuesday, the first bill introduced by the United Conservative Party government was one aimed at shielding the province from federal laws it deems harmful to its interests. © Provided by The Canadian Press
The Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act was a key promise from Premier Danielle Smith when she was running for the leadership of the party, replacing Jason Kenney.
Smith said Tuesday that past efforts to work with the federal government have not worked and Ottawa continues to interfere in constitutionally protected areas of provincial responsibility.
Trudeau says he's 'not looking for a fight' over Alberta Sovereignty Act
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said he’s “not looking for a fight” after the Alberta government tabled controversial legislation Premier Danielle Smith said would tell Ottawa to “butt out” of the province's jurisdiction.The Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act — tabled Tuesday in the Alberta legislature — was a centrepiece of Smith's campaign for the leadership of the governing United Conservative Party this fall.
Here are four areas Alberta has accused the federal government of overreaching:
Last year, Kenney said that he hoped the Supreme Court of Canada decision upholding Ottawa’s right to levy a carbon tax on provinces wouldn't open the door to federal overreach in other areas.
Alberta, along with Ontario and Saskatchewan, challenged the federal carbon pricing rules.
In its 6-3 decision, the Supreme Court ruled that climate change is a critical threat to the globe and that Canada cannot effectively combat it if each province can go its own way on greenhouse gas emissions.
Kenney’s government campaigned and won the 2019 election around a centrepiece promise to scrap the Alberta NDP consumer carbon tax and that was his first bill as premier, prompting Ottawa to impose its own levy at the start of 2020.
Carson Jerema: Surprise, Danielle Smith's sovereignty act is very likely constitutional
What you think you might know about Danielle Smith’s Alberta Sovereignty Act is probably wrong. Whatever the demerits of the bill, which enables provincial non-enforcement of federal laws, it is not “unconstitutional.” Nor does it “erase the rule of law,” or empower the legislature to circumvent the courts, as Premier Smith’s critics argue. Those criticisms were valid against earlier versions of this proposal, but have no bearing here. Anyone Anyone expecting a successful court challenge overturning the act, which was introduced Tuesday, is very likely to be disappointed.
Smith, who was sworn in as premier last month, has said her government is planing another challenge.
IMPACT ASSESSMENT ACT
The Alberta government, calling it a Trojan Horse, challenged the federal act and was supported by Saskatchewan and Ontario.
The Impact Assessment Act, given royal assent in 2019, lists activities that trigger an impact review and allows Ottawa to consider the effects of new resource projects on a range of environmental and social issues, including climate change.
Alberta asked its Appeal Court for a reference, or an opinion, which is not a binding decision and is used to guide governments in determining a law’s meaning or constitutionality.
In May, the Alberta Court of Appeal said the act is an "existential threat" to the division of powers guaranteed by the Constitution.
In September, the Alberta government said it was taking steps to oppose federal firearms prohibition legislation and the potential seizure of thousands of assault-style weapons.
Legal experts say Ottawa unlikely to be 'main combatant' in Alberta sovereignty fight
Asked whether Canada has any redlines regarding the use of weapons it's supplying to Ukraine as they fight to repel Russia's invasion, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Wednesday that Canada works "with all our allies." He added, "We all share similar redlines — it's an issue around making sure that we are showing clearly that Ukraine can and must win in this conflict."
Since May 2020, Ottawa has prohibited more than 1,500 different models of assault-style firearms from being used or sold in Canada. It has committed to establishing a buyback program to remove those firearms from communities.
Alberta Justice Minister Tyler Shandro said the province will not agree to have RCMP officers act as "confiscation agents" and will protest any such move under the provincial-federal agreement that governs policing.
Alberta also plans to seek intervener status in six ongoing judicial review applications challenging the constitutionality of the legislation.
The Alberta government, along with Saskatchewan, said in July that it was disappointed with Ottawa’s fertilizer emissions reduction target.
Federal Agriculture Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau has said reducing those emissions by nearly a third by 2030 is ambitious but must be accomplished.
In a news release at the time, the provinces said the commitment to future consultations is only to determine how to meet the target “unilaterally imposed” on the industry, not to consult on what is achievable or attainable.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 30, 2022.
The Canadian Press
Alberta NDP says premier's rejection of federal authority lays separation groundwork .
EDMONTON — Alberta’s NDP Opposition leader says Premier Danielle Smith's comments rejecting the legitimacy of the federal government betray her unspoken plan to lay the groundwork for eventual separation. Rachel Notley cited Smith’s comments to the house just before members passed her sovereignty bill earlier Thursday, in which Smith rejected the federal government’s overarching authority. “It's not like Ottawa is a national government,'' SmithRachel Notley cited Smith’s comments to the house just before members passed her sovereignty bill earlier Thursday, in which Smith rejected the federal government’s overarching authority.