The oil-rich province of Alberta in Western Canada has spit in the face of the country’s federal government in Ottawa by adopting a law, proclaiming its right to reject federal regulations and rules based on its own interests.
As per the province’s new law, Alberta claims the right to ignore any federal legislation contradicting the views of its political leadership, Dnyuz reported.
The provincial law is based on a notion of flexible federalism, in which the central government’s authority does not override that of the provinces, but instead manages a collection of “independent jurisdictions.”
The idea is championed by the head of Alberta’s government, Danielle Smith, who rejects the idea that Ottawa is Canada’s “national government.” Instead, she argues that America’s northern neighbor is a federation of sovereign provinces.
According to the report, the new law reflects a “far-right effort” in Alberta and partly its neighboring Western Canadian provinces to secede from Canada, an idea known as “Wexit.”
It is underscored that the political formations espousing the secession idea remain fringe parties, while Danielle Smith herself is not an official member of any of those groups.
The 19th Premier of Alberta is said to hold views that even other Canadian conservatives consider extreme.
Smith was adamantly opposed to any COVID-19 measures promoted by the Ottawa government, including mask and vaccine mandates.
She was quoted as saying that Alberta should be rejecting federal laws in crucial fields, such as health, firearms, and the environment.
A new law in the Canadian province of Alberta allows it to ignore any federal laws and regulations it opposes — a move that some critics described as an unconstitutional threat to the basic fabric of the country’s government. https://t.co/cYJpFNvDcu
— The New York Times (@nytimes) December 25, 2022
‘Butt Out, Feds!’
According to critics of Alberta’s anti-federal law, it violates Canada’s Constitution and would be struck down by the courts.
Some of the critics claim that the law could repel investors from Alberta’s economy or that the Native Americans in the province could suffer because their rights may be imperiled.
The Native Americans – or First Nations, as they are called in Canada – in Alberta are themselves opposed to any weakening of Ottawa’s authority.
They are opposed to the weakening of Ottawa’s authority because the federal government of Canada oversees the observation of the agreements they signed with Great Britain during the colonial period.
The report notes that one of Alberta’s biggest grievances towards the Canadian federal government is how the latter has been exploiting the province’s energy wealth to the benefit of the federation and the other provinces, while ignoring Alberta’s own needs in health care and other areas.
In spite of warnings by critics that Alberta’s law will not stand and the federal authority will be asserted, the provincial Premier, Danielle Smith, stated the legislation should be viewed in Ottawa as a message of defending the jurisdiction’s autonomy and that the federal government of Canada “should just butt out.”
#ICYMI The Alberta government is considering ways to push back on the Liberals’ “absurd” electric vehicle mandate, including employing the province’s new Sovereignty Act for the first time. https://t.co/ZrVyIWuEuf
— True North (@TrueNorthCentre) December 25, 2022
“We want to send a message to the premier, and the Alberta government that these lands are treaty lands, and this law directly infringes upon our Treaty 6, which is why we decided to take legal action.”#ableg https://t.co/iaNPMDkSr3
— Janis Irwin (@JanisIrwin) December 19, 2022
We’ll see what happens next.This article appeared in The State Today and has been published here with permission.