The Alberta Sovereignty Act – Questions answered

Defending Alberta from Ottawa’s continued economic and constitutional attacks against our province along with my proposed Alberta Sovereignty Act have thus far been the central issue of the UCP leadership campaign.

The majority of Albertans are frustrated with the ineffective letter writing campaigns and empty rhetoric employed by past Premiers in dealing with attacks on Alberta by their Federal Government, and want effective action to deal with the ‘Ottawa Problem’ without further delay.

Tens of thousands of Albertans have embraced the idea of an Alberta Sovereignty Act, and many more are open to learning more about how it could be practically and effectively deployed.

Unsurprisingly, many in the ‘woke’ media and political establishment do not support the Alberta Sovereignty Act and have turned to the tried and tested methods of fear mongering and disinformation to discredit the idea outright. Some have falsely equated it to separatism and the 1995 Quebec vote on leaving Canada. Others have resorted to lashing out at the idea as entirely “nuts” or “unconstitutional”.

Obviously, none of these so-called ‘experts’ and politicos have read the bill (as drafting legislation is not typically done during political campaigns as most understand), and are simply assuming the legislation will be unconstitutional in order to justify their knee-jerk opposition to the concept.

My hope in releasing this Overview of the proposed Alberta Sovereignty Act, is that even more Albertans and their MLAs (and maybe even some critical thinkers in the mainstream media) will take a thoughtful look at this policy idea, and join the growing majority of Albertans who want to see us stand up to Ottawa, restore our constitutional rights, and take control of our future in this manner.

Sincerely,

Danielle Smith

The Alberta Sovereignty Act is a proposed provincial law that would affirm the authority of the Provincial Legislature to refuse enforcement of any Federal law or policy that violates the jurisdictional rights of Alberta under Sections 92 – 95 of the Constitution or that breaches the Charter Rights of Albertans.

No, the entire objective of the Alberta Sovereignty Act is to assert Alberta’s Constitutional Rights within Canada to the furthest extent possible by effectively governing itself as a Nation within a Nation, just as Quebec has done for decades and as Saskatchewan is also now considering.

If anything, the restoration of provincial rights and autonomy of every province from the destructive overreach of Ottawa is likely the only viable way for Canada to survive and flourish as a unified country. Ottawa’s ‘divide, control and conquer’ policies have Canada on a path of division and disunity. Alberta can and must lead on this issue going forward.

No, just the opposite.

Over the last several years the Federal Government has triggered a constitutional crisis through repeated lawless attacks on provincial constitutional jurisdictional rights and the Charter.

The Trudeau Government has effectively imposed economic sanctions against Alberta (and parts of Saskatchewan and BC) that have resulted in economic chaos.

Hundreds of billions in investment and tax revenues, and hundreds of thousands of jobs, have been lost to these sanctions as investors around the world find it too risky to do business in Alberta’s energy industry. In fact, no new major development of our world class oil sands has been commenced in almost 20 years as a result.

The idea expressed by some that the Alberta Sovereignty Act would “cause chaos” in the markets is naive in the extreme. The “chaos” is already here and has been caused by both Ottawa’s unlawful policies and an utter lack of provincial leadership on effectively pushing back against those attacks.

The fact is the Alberta Sovereignty Act reimposes constitutional rule of law on a lawless Ottawa by reaffirming the critical import of respecting the powers, responsibilities and exclusive jurisdictions of the Provinces under the Canadian Constitution, as well as the Charter rights and freedoms of Albertans.

Prior to being introduced in the Legislature for debate and vote this Fall, I will work with Cabinet and Caucus to draft the Alberta Sovereignty Act (ASA) in accordance with sound constitutional language and principles.

However, as a starting point for discussion, my proposed ASA is intended to function as follows:

When the Federal Government institutes a law or policy that appears to violate Alberta’s jurisdictional rights under the Canadian Constitution or Albertans’ Charter rights, the Government of Alberta may introduce a Special Motion for a free vote of all MLAs in the Legislature. Each such Special Motion would need to include the following detailed information:

  1. Identification of the Federal law or policy that is deemed to be in violation of the Constitution/Charter
  2. Explanation of the harms that the specified violation of the Constitution/Charter imposes on the citizens of Alberta
  3. Detailed description of the specific actions the Province and its agencies will take to refuse or otherwise oppose the enforcement of that Federal law or policy within Alberta
  4. A Declaration that by authority of the Alberta Sovereignty Act, and notwithstanding the specific Federal law or policy in question, it shall not be enforced by the Provincial Government within Alberta in the manner outlined by the Special Motion
  5. Imposition of a date to review and debate, in the Legislature, whether or not to amend, end or continue the actions outlined in the Special Motion. This review date shall be no later than the earlier of 24 months or within 90 days of a Court deeming a portion of a Special Motion unconstitutional.

No, the Alberta Sovereignty Act may not be invoked or otherwise utilized unless specifically authorized by way of a free vote of all elected MLAs in the Alberta Legislature as explained above.

The above description of how the Alberta Sovereignty Act (ASA) would be drafted is clearly constitutional.

Where disagreements surrounding constitutionality may arise between the Federal and Alberta Governments from time to time, are the specific actions the Alberta Government and Legislature choose to utilize via Special Motion as described above. These will have to be litigated accordingly. However, during that litigation process, the Special Motion actions in question will continue to remain in force.

This is yet another advantage of the ASA process, as currently, it is the Federal Government that passes and declares unconstitutional laws and policies on a regular basis knowing that it will take years for Alberta to successfully challenge them, if ever, in Court. The ASA reverses this process and puts that onerous process and cost squarely back on the Federal Government.

If a Court ultimately deems that the actions undertaken by the Province under a specific ASA Special Motion are unconstitutional, then the Government and Legislature will have to review the actions in question and make a decision as to whether or not to amend, end or carry forward with them further understanding the legal implications such a decision could cause. That decision will be up to the Government and Legislature at the time in question as each such situation would be unique and case specific.

Invoking the Alberta Sovereignty Act via Special Motion against a specific Federal law or policy will likely be done relatively sparingly and only upon passing a Special Motion (as previously detailed) via free vote of the entire Legislature.

However, in my view, if the Federal Government continues to violate provincial rights and Albertan’s Charter freedoms, our Provincial Government should not hesitate to use it to protect Albertans.

Examples of Federal legislation and policies the Alberta Sovereignty Act, via Special Motion, could be used to oppose include (though there are many more of course):

  • Federal mandatory vaccination policies involving enforcement activities by a Provincial agency (Charter violation)
  • Use of Emergencies Act to jail & freeze accounts of peaceful protesters (Charter violation)
  • Authorizing commencement of private and public projects being held up by Federal agencies by authority of Bill C-69 ‘No New Pipelines’ Law (already found unconstitutional by Alberta Court of Appeal)
  • Any mandatory cuts to fertilizer use by Alberta Farmers (violation of s.95 of the Constitution)
  • Any mandatory emissions and production cuts to Alberta energy companies (violation of s.92A of the Constitution)
  • Any mandatory cuts to electricity generation and use from fossil fuels as recently announced by Canada’s Environment Minister (likely violation of both the Charter and a.92A of the Constitution).
  • Provincial takeover of firearms licensing and enforcement refusal of Federal firearms ownership regulation (violation of s.92(13) of the Constitution)
  • Federal censorship or inappropriate sanction of Albertans or independent or other news media based in Alberta (violation of the Charter).
  • Mandatory participation by Albertans or information sharing by provincial agencies of Albertans’ personal data for the purpose of a Federal digital identification program (Charter violation)

Unlikely. Several Federal laws and policies, though harmful to Alberta, are not necessarily in areas of policy over which our Province has constitutional sovereignty. We can’t, for example, force the Federal Government to build the Energy East pipeline through Quebec.

However, provinces do have a significant amount of control over how law (both provincial and federal) is enforced within their boundaries. This is where the Alberta Sovereignty Act can and should have a role in pushing the Federal Government out of our provincial jurisdiction.

How this is accomplished will vary depending on the specific circumstances and Federal law or policy in question.

But make no mistake, Alberta can and must be creative, courageous and unflinching in defense of our rights if we are to stop the concerted economic attacks by the woke establishment politicians in Ottawa against us.