The Alberta Sovereignty Act has dominated discussion in the ongoing United Conservative Party leadership race, but candidate Danielle Smith has only just released key details about her proposal. 

In prior weeks, Smith has asked critics, who include Premier Jason Kenney, not to disparage the proposal before seeing the details, which she released on Tuesday.

In her lengthy overview of the proposed legislation, Smith argues that the restoration of provincial rights is likely the only way for Canada to remain a unified nation.

“Ottawa’s ‘divide, control and conquer’ policies have placed Canada on a path of division and disunity,” she wrote. “Alberta can and must lead on this issue going forward and the Alberta Sovereignty Act is the first step in doing so.” 

Smith said the Alberta Sovereignty Act is not about secession, but asserting Alberta’s Constitutional Rights in Canada to the “furthest extent possible” by achieving autonomy as Quebec has. Quebec has its own provincial police force, collects its own taxes and has some control over its immigration levels. 

The Sovereignty Act would give MLAs the opportunity for a free vote on a special motion about whether a federal law or policy violates  Alberta’s jurisdictional rights under the Canadian Constitution or Albertans’ Charter rights, Smith said. 

Smith said each motion would include: identification of the federal law deemed to be in violation of the Constitution or Charter; the constitutional explanation for making that claim; an explanation of the harms on Albertans; a description of the specific actions the province would take to refuse the federal law; and a declaration of non-enforcement.

The motion would also include an imposition date to review and debate whether to amend, end or continue the actions outlined in the special motion. This review date would be no later than the earlier of 24 months or within 90 days of a court staying or deeming all or a portion of a special motion unconstitutional, the overview explains. 

If a court stays or deems an Alberta Sovereignty Act special motion to be unconstitutional, the government and Legislature would decide whether to amend, end or continue with them, understanding the legal implications such a decision could cause.

Smith said the act could be used to oppose federal vaccine mandates, the use of the Emergencies Act and mandatory cuts to fertilizer, to name a few. She also says her overview explaining how the Alberta Sovereignty Act would function shows that it’s constitutional.

“My hope in releasing this overview of the proposed Alberta Sovereignty Act, is that even more Albertans, their MLAs and perhaps even some critical thinkers in the mainstream media, will take a thoughtful look at this policy proposal, and join the growing number of Albertans who want to see our Province stand up to Ottawa, restore our constitutional rights, and take control of our future.”

Author

  • Rachel Emmanuel

    Rachel is a seasoned political reporter who’s covered government institutions from a variety of levels. A Carleton University journalism graduate, she was a multimedia reporter for three local Niagara newspapers. Her work has been published in the Toronto Star. Rachel was the inaugural recipient of the Political Matters internship, placing her at The Globe and Mail’s parliamentary bureau. She spent three years covering the federal government for iPolitics. Rachel is the Alberta correspondent for True North based in Edmonton.

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