Smith introduces Alberta’s sovereignty in the Canadian Union Act

This law promises to give Alberta the power to direct provincial agencies to act in violation of federal laws it deems unconstitutional or harmful to Albertans.

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Prime Minister Daniel Smith introduced a highly nefarious signature law in the Alberta Legislature on Tuesday, following months of anticipation. This gives the Cabinet new powers to change laws without the approval of the House of Commons.

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Alberta’s sovereignty in the Uniform Law of Canada promises to give Alberta the power to direct provincial agencies to take actions contrary to federal law that it deems unconstitutional or harmful to Alberta, and previously Under what used to be called the Alberta Sovereignty Act, Mr. Smith has delivered on many of the promises he made through his leadership campaign.

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“This law is intended to be a constitutional shield to protect Alberta from unconstitutional federal laws and policies that damage the province’s economy or violate Alberta’s rights,” Smith said. said when introducing the bill.

Proposed as Bill 1, the law calls on Ottawa to challenge the application of new laws in court rather than taking the federal government to court over laws the states disagree with, shifting responsibility for constitutionality to the federal government. We aim to .

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It also characterizes federal initiatives as unconstitutional, harmful to Alberta, or both, based on the opinion of Alberta’s MLA. The bill does not include a definition of “harmful” for Albertans.

Using these categories, ministers propose motions that identify a particular federal policy or law and explain how it is unconstitutional or harmful to the state.

The Legislative Assembly then debates and votes on the motion. If passed, the resolution would empower the Cabinet to take many actions.

These include instructions to “local authorities” such as health authorities, school boards, police services, royally controlled organizations, publicly funded service providers or local authorities.

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The law also gives the Cabinet the rare power to change laws by order of Congress. This power is generally reserved for regulatory changes only. This is similar to the temporary emergency powers the UCP government gave the Cabinet to suspend legislation at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“I hope I never have to use this bill”: Smith

At a press conference after the bill’s submission, Justice Minister Tyler Shandro stressed that the Cabinet’s unilateral legislative changes will only take place “after an open democratic debate and an initial vote in the Legislative Assembly.”

When asked how far the cabinet could go beyond the resolution, Chandlo said it was up to parliament to hold the cabinet accountable.

Smith said the bill is intended to be democratic and transparent.

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When asked by a reporter why emergency powers should normally be given to the Cabinet, Smith said that Alberta’s previous efforts to fight back against the federal government had failed, and that the provinces had Ottawa and Ottawa. said you need the permission to reset the relationship.

“Because we’ve been neglected,” Smith said, adding that he hopes the federal government is starting to recognize that natural resources are under state jurisdiction.

“I hope we don’t have to use this bill.

This law does not give the government the power to direct private individuals or businesses to violate federal law.

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The bill also protects state entities acting in good faith on directives issued under the bill from civil liability, according to government officials.

The government added in the briefing material that it would “defend provincial jurisdiction” while fully respecting indigenous and treaty rights, the Canadian Constitution and the courts. It is unclear whether the government is still negotiating indigenous rights. In recent weeks, Alberta’s First Nations community chiefs have voiced their opposition to the bill.

The states also addressed concerns that the federal government might use constitutional powers of disallowing, unused since the 1940s, to essentially deny legislation.

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“If the federal government were to exercise its powers of disapproval over this legislation, it would create an unprecedented constitutional crisis. We cannot be sure, but we think this scenario is unlikely.” said the government.

Prime Minister Smith told Cabinet members to move ahead of the spring legislative session to deny federal bill C-69, mandatory fertilizer cuts and emissions cuts, firearm confiscation, or tied funding for health care and education. to prepare a special resolution under the proposed legislation. .

These are just examples, but it’s still unclear how that happens. In particular, the RCMP, which polices many of Alberta’s rural and small towns, has not been directly captured by legislation, but the Mounties could be subject to ministerial orders, government officials said.

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‘Certainly anti-democratic’: LDP

All current members of the opposition NDP voted against the bill on Tuesday, with deputy leader Sarah Hoffman giving Smith’s government “dictatorial powers” to rewrite the law behind closed doors after it passed a motion in the House of Representatives. said to have given to

“It’s certainly undemocratic. It’s incredibly bad for the economy — just talking about sovereignty laws in the investor community is already having chilling effects,” Hoffman said.

This statutory order is valid for a maximum of two years, but can be extended for an additional two years.

The bill does not provide for an appeal mechanism. You can challenge it in court, but the law sets his 30-day deadline for making an application for judicial review rather than the usual six months.

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Smith’s first leadership campaign proposal was modeled after last year’s Free Alberta Strategy proposal, and was criticized throughout the UCP leadership race among many members of the UCP caucus, including most of Smith’s leadership rivals.

Critics, including former Prime Minister Jason Kenny, who dismissed it as “cockamey,” warned it was illegal and would scare investors from the state.

Legal scholars have previously said the proposal would be unconstitutional, incompatible with the rule of law, and contrary to the separation of powers between different levels of government.

“State agencies” as defined in this Act include:

– state public bodies,

– Organizations controlled by state governments,

– Entities performing powers, duties or functions under state statutes,

– Entities that receive grants or other public funds from state governments contingent on the provision of public services;

– local health authorities,

– public higher education institutions,

– Board of education

– municipalities,

– Local government or regional police services, and

– Other similarly state-regulated entities as provided for in the regulations.

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Smith introduces Alberta’s sovereignty in the Canadian Union Act

Source link Smith introduces Alberta’s sovereignty in the Canadian Union Act

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