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2023 UCP Alberta election

IKnowNothing

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I'm not a lawyer, and all of my legal education and experience are in tort/contract/employment law, but to my reading there is a pretty clear line where this act crosses from "laudable attempt to protect against Federal overreach" and "laughable attempt to apply sovcit-esque "rules don't apply to me- I'm special" bullshit at at governmental level", and that line is: 3(b)(ii) OR "causes or is anticipated to cause harm to Albertans", especially given the fact that the act makes no effect to define harm or apply thresholds to that clause. It effectively gives them carte blanche to ignore any Federal law or act they don't like, regardless of whether it is within Federal jurisdiction, for any reason that they can justify to themselves.

That clause undermines any noble/justified intent the act may have. Were it limited to giving the province the power to reverse the process of court challenge on issues where it legitimately has grounds to believe the Feds overreached- great, god speed Alberta. But its not.
 

QV

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I'm not a lawyer, and all of my legal education and experience are in tort/contract/employment law, but to my reading there is a pretty clear line where this act crosses from "laudable attempt to protect against Federal overreach" and "laughable attempt to apply sovcit-esque "rules don't apply to me- I'm special" bullshit at at governmental level", and that line is: 3(b)(ii) OR "causes or is anticipated to cause harm to Albertans", especially given the fact that the act makes no effect to define harm or apply thresholds to that clause. It effectively gives them carte blanche to ignore any Federal law or act they don't like, regardless of whether it is within Federal jurisdiction, for any reason that they can justify to themselves.

That clause undermines any noble/justified intent the act may have. Were it limited to giving the province the power to reverse the process of court challenge on issues where it legitimately has grounds to believe the Feds overreached- great, god speed Alberta. But its not.
Don’t worry:

2 Nothing in this Act is to be construed as
(a) authorizing any order that would be contrary to the Constitution of Canada,

We‘ll all be just fine.
 

brihard

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I doubt it. Not to her constituents anyway and that is really all that matters. Nobody gives a shit what the PMO and his MSM think. If she can back him down on one big thing, she's a winner. The people in Alberta have had enough. They don't care if it's Constitutional or not.
She still has to actually win the next election, which is definitely not a sure thing. On the one hand, this move is likely to impress voters who were already a lock for the UCP. On the other, it may dissuade swing voters who could go either way, or motivate apathetic voters who don’t want a provincial government pulling blatantly dumb stunts. Populism is a sword that’s sharpened on both edges.
 

Fishbone Jones

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And it can swing as much in my direction as yours.
We're both making hypothetical opinions. Neither is right and neither is wrong. Just that neither is proven.
 

Halifax Tar

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She still has to actually win the next election, which is definitely not a sure thing. On the one hand, this move is likely to impress voters who were already a lock for the UCP. On the other, it may dissuade swing voters who could go either way, or motivate apathetic voters who don’t want a provincial government pulling blatantly dumb stunts. Populism is a sword that’s sharpened on both edges.

That's exactly what I said further back in this thread. The people of Alberta will decide the validity of this.

To me that's the real test for this legislation, as it will polarize. Only if she wins the province is the game afoot.
 

Lumber

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Reddit subs in Alberta have self-imploded over this.

When a sub is against something then it was the correct decision.
The inverse of the flavour of a reddit sub is how you identify whether or not a major political decision/law is the right one or not?

That's... quirky...
 

brihard

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The people of Alberta will decide the validity of this.
No. An unconstitutional law could have 100% popular support, and still be illegal and thus invalid. The population can determine the political support a law has, and thus its impact on an election, but the validity of a law is a matter for the courts
 

Halifax Tar

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No. An unconstitutional law could have 100% popular support, and still be illegal and thus invalid. The population can determine the political support a law has, and thus its impact on an election, but the validity of a law is a matter for the courts

Its about perception. Not reality.

Validity is a state of perception in this scenario.

I would argue letting her have this cake and eat it may actually be politically expedient. As any move by the Feds to restrict this will only make a martyr of her and the legislation.

Lets also remember laws depend on people to follow them. If no one follows them is it really a law ? Or just words on a paper that people ignore ?
 

Remius

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Its about perception. Not reality.

Validity is a state of perception in this scenario.

I would argue letting her have this cake and eat it may actually be politically expedient. As any move by the Feds to restrict this will only make a martyr of her and the legislation.

Lets also remember laws depend on people to follow them. If no one follows them is it really a law ? Or just words on a paper that people ignore ?
On that note, if Alberta decides that a federal law won’t be followed and orders people and organisations to disregard and or ignore what sort of thing could that look like?

Do you think that federally regulated industries would ignore said laws? What if they said, « sorry Alberta we aren’t playing this game » ?

What if the RCMP states that it will still enforce federal laws that Alberta decides it won’t follow?

The feds will tread lightly I think until something needs challenging but politically the people of Alberta will speak one way or another but I get the impression that this is pretty divisive even in Alberta.
 

Halifax Tar

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On that note, if Alberta decides that a federal law won’t be followed and orders people and organisations to disregard and or ignore what so sort of thing could that look like?

Do you think that federally regulated industries would ignore said laws? What if they said, « sorry Alberta we aren’t playing this game » ?

What if the RCMP states that it will still enforce federal laws that Alberta decides it won’t follow?

The feds will tread lightly I think until something needs challenging but politically the people of Alberta will speak one way or another but I get the impression that this is pretty divisive even in Alberta.

I have no idea. I think we're blazing a new trail here somewhat. Que recognized.

It has the making of an interesting Novel. But I am a fan of "What if" novels.

It should be divisive. This no small move. This is massive and could have dire consequences.
 

Remius

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I have no idea. I think we're blazing a new trail here somewhat. Que recognized.

It has the making of an interesting Novel. But I am a fan of "What if" novels.

It should be divisive. This no small move. This is massive and could have dire consequences.
I believe there is an election there this spring. I would imagine this will be front and center.
 

Halifax Tar

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That and the first challenge in court.

If she gets elected it wont matter what the court says. Alberta will have made its statement, and the bigger she wins the louder her statement.

Canada needs to be very careful right now. We should be trying to mend divisions.
 

Colin Parkinson

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On that note, if Alberta decides that a federal law won’t be followed and orders people and organisations to disregard and or ignore what sort of thing could that look like?

Do you think that federally regulated industries would ignore said laws? What if they said, « sorry Alberta we aren’t playing this game » ?

What if the RCMP states that it will still enforce federal laws that Alberta decides it won’t follow?

The feds will tread lightly I think until something needs challenging but politically the people of Alberta will speak one way or another but I get the impression that this is pretty divisive even in Alberta.
Alberta and BC for a very long time told Ottawa to go pound sand. My old office had many files covering that period and you can see the FU in the letters from the Province to the Feds anytime there was a Federal Mandate in the way of a Provincial goal. There are a lot of ways a Provincial government can make life miserable for the Feds in that province.
 

QV

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This is absurd. The federal government is intentionally and purposefully restricting Canada's economic prosperity while forcing allies to seek help elsewhere.
 

Brad Sallows

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What a province orders its minions to do is separate from the obligations of everyone else.

Suppose the federal government passed a national speed limit law. A province could abstain from enforcement, but drivers would still be required to obey. The federal government would have to provide its own policing to enforce the law.
 

Blackadder1916

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While I don't regularly follow his scribblings, this opinion piece from Don Martin is an interesting perspective and may well express the thoughts of (some?) Albertans who haven't drunk Smith flavoured cool-aid.

Eight years ago, Danielle Smith ended her first political fling by jumping into a dumpster fire. Having botched a merger attempt between two Alberta conservative parties, she was blocked as unworthy of re-election by her new political masters.

Just three years ago, Jason Kenney capped a stellar career as a senior federal cabinet minister to launch the United Conservative Party and start what looked to be a long run as premier of Alberta.

On the very same day this week, specifically Tuesday, the story of Jason and Danielle took unimaginably divergent twists as Kenney quit being an MLA in the party he had created while successor Smith posted an Alberta declaration of independence as the new premier’s first item of legislative business.

You really can’t make this stuff up and my lingering Alberta DNA from two decades living there is severely baffled by the goings-on. Polls suggest more than half of Albertans feel the same way.

Smith has gone straight from the political altar to a divorce from common sense – and her out-of-the-gate antics suggest she could soon claim the title of Alberta’s briefest premier.

Not only is this fledgling premier throwing vote-buying cheques out the door for every Albertan regardless of financial need, she is phoning businesses and agencies with vaccine mandates in place to request they be dropped if they want to remain in her good books.

And now comes the kicker – a sovereignty act that will empower the government to amend laws by simple cabinet decree, compel cities, police and other agencies to ignore offensive federal laws and to nullify federal actions allegedly hurting Alberta’s best interests.

To compound the confusion, Smith insists her government may never unleash its new powers on one hand while ordering her ministers to seek and find ways to deploy it on the other.

But, but, but, her defenders will argue, the overarching section 2 of the bill specifically prohibits the Alberta government from acting against the Constitution or directing anyone to break a federal law or Indigenous treaty right.

That might be comforting except the Act gives her government the power to decide what is unconstitutional or an invasion of Alberta’s jurisdiction before acting against it.

‘JUDGE, JURY AND ENFORCEMENT COP’
In other words, an Alberta cabinet minister would become judge, jury and enforcement cop in deciding what laws to ignore if, in their view, it’s “harmful” to Alberta, whatever that means.

And by building in protection against legal review, the government is signalling it knows the Act wouldn’t survive a constitutional court challenge, which means it should quickly be denied royal assent from the province’s lieutenant governor.

The only consolation is how this tougher-than-expected bill will barely pass Smith’s majority-controlled legislature before the UCP will likely lose the May election and NDP Leader Rachel Notley landfills the Act.

Look, I get Alberta’s angst, particularly as oil is the engine powering the Canadian economy and filling federal coffers with windfall dollars for squandering on pet causes in other provinces.

Albertans want powers of their own after seeing Quebec act in unCanadian ways by essentially declaring their province unilingually French in a bilingual country, banning religious attire in public sector jobs and guarding its borders against unacceptable mostly-refugee immigration.

But to suggest Alberta should simply opt out of curbing carbon emissions, a ban on certain types of semi-automatic guns or protecting the environment just because some minister feels it’s unAlbertan is not political power equivalency. Actions that impact the entire country deserve national imposition.

Now, anyone living through the early 1980s’ National Energy Program (count me among them) had ample reason to loath federal intrusions into Alberta’s energy sector.

That move by Prime Minister Trudeau The First sledgehammered the runaway economy into see-through office buildings and a devastating home foreclosure epidemic.

But today’s perceived grievances are more irritants than impediments to Alberta’s prosperity.

While Prime Minister Justin Trudeau may believe Alberta's oil patch is on the countdown clock to oblivion in this century, which might be correct economically if not politically, anger over pipeline capacity constrictions are not his fault.

Keystone was killed by the U.S. president, pipeline capacity to Atlantic tidewater is blocked at Quebec, Line 5 is at risk from Michigan’s governor and when the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion was in jeopardy, Trudeau bought it and is building it.

On allegedly “harmful” health issues, Albertans have never faced a federal mask requirement or vaccine mandate unless they wanted to leave the country or travel by air.

And to unleash plans to replace the Canada Pension Plan and RCMP just because they bear Ottawa’s watermark is more about cosmetic tinkering than constitutional muscle-flexing.

Smith’s sovereignty act does not reflect growing hardcore separatist sentiment in Alberta. The vast majority of Albertans merely consider Ottawa to be a left-leaning alien planet best viewed from a considerable distance.

Smith is misreading the Alberta room - and probably a big chunk of her caucus and cabinet - with her excessive and arguably undemocratic jurisdictional protectionism.

In the story of Jason and Danielle, Kenney’s challenging pandemic reign will appear competent by contrast while Smith’s brief stint as premier will enter the history books as mostly cockamamie.

That’s the bottom line.

I would briefly take exception to Martin's characterization of ". . . ended her first political fling by jumping into a dumpster fire. Having botched the merger attempt of consrvative parties . . . ". He obviously has forgotten the clusterf*** that was the board of trustees of the Calgary Board of Education that ensued following the 1998 election that included Ms. Smith being one of the successful candidates. Though she was not solely responsible for the dysfunction that lead to the entire board being dismissed by the Provincial Government and a by-election held to replace the board, she did seem to take some satisfaction back then in the part she played.

I don't suggest that there is some untapped well of liberal-ish sentiment in Alberta that will rise up and sweep (no, that too decisive a sentiment) bump her from office. This is Alberta, after all. But there is a number - 42,423. That's how many Albertans actually voted for Ms. Smith and the central plank of her platform, the Sovereignty Act, when she ran for the leadership of the UCP two months ago. 42,423 out of a total of 78,903 on the sixth and final ballot (6500 who voted in the first round didn't stick around for the final ballot). And while Ms. Smith did lead in opinion polling of UCP supporters throughout the campaign, polling of all Albertans would suggest that she was only slightly more favoured than Brian Jean (the perennial bridesmaid of Alberta conservative leadership politics). Most Albertans seemed to have preferred any number of possible replacements for Premier Kenney. Unfortunately, most of those decided not to run; the available selection was decidedly second string material.

Let's not confuse the Sovereignty Act platform of Premier Smith's leadership campaign with the UCP party platform, though it may (probably will) be included in, or more likely replace, the party's current official stance on relations with the federal government.

2 FEDERAL
The United Conservative Party believes that the Government of Alberta should...
a) oppose intrusions by the federal government into the property, legal, constitutional and democratic rights of Albertans. To that end, Alberta should hold a referendum to obtain approval from Alberta residents, for the Alberta government to demand and negotiate changes to the wording of the Canadian Constitution under Section 121 to grant Alberta a constitutional right to freely export its resources, products and services across other provinces and outside of Canada`s borders, without restrictions;
b) advocate for senate reform. The UCP supports having a provincial review on senate reform to balance the current imbalance in the senate. The review should consider all options and the UCP should support a future constitutional amendment on senate reform, with the senatorial selection process to be the dominion of each province;
c) commit to working with the federal government to develop one- window regulatory approval processes to minimize regulatory delays and burdens imposed on projects, particularly regarding critical infrastructure.
d) advocate to the federal government to collect carbon taxes on imported goods from foreign countries that do not have equivalent carbon tax/pricing schemes.

It will be interesting to see how some of the leading figures in the UCP (party and government) publicly embrace this policy when their opinion of it during the leadership campaign was decidedly contrary, such as these two pieces from the National Post back in Aug by the two primary challengers in her bid for the leadership (and now currently in her cabinet).

Travis Toews: Alberta Sovereignty Act would bring economic chaos
Brian Jean: Alberta needs constitutional change, not a virtue signalling Sovereignty Act
 
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