I have to admit, when I first heard about Alberta’s proposed Sovereignty law, I was initially sympathetic.
After all, Albertans and British Columbians and Saskatchewanians ALL have legitimate gripes and grievances against Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, the Liberal federal government: on pipelines, carbon taxes, health care funding … and the obvious double standard on so many issues when it comes to treatment of the West, especially compared to Quebec.
In fact, just yesterday a Blog reader sent me a link to a Toronto Sun article outlining how La Belle Province is getting a Special Deal from Ottawa to delay increasing its Carbon tax. Read it and weep: https://torontosun.com/opinion/columnists/gunter-quebec-gets-deal-on-carbon-tax-while-rest-of-canada-pays.
And I have ranted more than a few times about how ALL our federal “leaders” have just paid lip service to criticizing the latest outrageous LAWS passed in Quebec targeting observant religious minorities and restricting even more the rights of English-speaking Quebecois. (http://harveyoberfeld.ca/blog/trudeau-and-federal-leaders-must-denounce-challenge-quebecs-growing-official-racism/).
So I do understand the sentiments and resentments of Albertans … and so many others of us out West.
But the Alberta Sovereignty Act proposed by recently-designated new Premier Danielle Smuth would emasculate the federal government and laws so much, it would destroy Canada as a federal state.
Because if Alberta adopts it, and assumes major new powers for itself to ignore federal legislation, so would other provinces (not just Quebec!).
You can read about the basics here: https://www.standard-freeholder.com/news/politics/alberta-sovereignty-act-five-things.
However, I believe the very basic premise of the Act is the danger: that the Alberta government would be able to pick and choose which federal LAWS it will obey and which it will just ignore … according to news reports … “any federal policy, law or program it deems harmful to Alberta.”
That could be ANYTHING!
Not only that, under the proposal, the Alberta government (Cabinet or in changes coming later this week, the Legislature) would also be able to ORDER municipalities, government agencies, hospitals, school boards, even police forces NOT to obey or enforce specific Federal laws or acts.
How do you RUN a country like that? How do you HAVE a country like that?
Canada would have a system under which a Federal government passes NATIONAL legislation in the House of Commons, gets it through the Senate, has it receive Royal Assent … and then the Law could be just totally ignored by a “Sovereign” province?
And, of course, each “Sovereign” province would pick and choose which National laws it will obey … or ignore.
Even if the Laws deal with responsibilities and jurisdictions that fall under federal purvue under the Constitution.
Ridiculous! Ludicrous! Totally unworkable! And I’d bet unconstitutional!
Yet the damage that would be done to the country in the many years this would take to go through the Courts would be crippling.
Not even the previous separatist governments and nationalists now in power in Quebec ever came up with a “selective” Sovereignty Act, under which they would order provincial organizations NOT to follow or enforce federal laws.
They knew, and used, the Notwithstanding Clause of the existing Constitution (which is bad enough as it is!) to invoke/apply special powers in Quebec. Of course, Alberta also has the power to do that too on issues of provincial jurisdiction.
I believe the Sovereignty Act is just an attempt to bait Trudeau and the Liberals in Ottawa into a fight as Albertans prepare to the polls in a provincial Election next May 29.
And frankly, it’s kind of sickening that any politician from any province would inflict dangerous legislation on a province and the country to stir up division and discord in a bid for votes.
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