Environment Minister Steven Guilbeault wasted no time responding to Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s invocation of the Sovereignty Act.
In a joint statement with Minister of Energy and Natural Resources Jonathan Wilkinson, Guilbeault took aim at Smith and her government.
“Premier Smith is choosing to create fear and uncertainty over collaboration and positive results for Albertans,” reads the statement.
The statement mentions collaboration numerous times. Smith had previously been clear about her intention to collaborate with the federal government to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050, however, Ottawa has insisted on accelerating the target year to 2035.
In a press conference on the same day, Alberta’s Minister of Affordability and Utilities, Nathan Neudorf, reiterated that many other nations shared Alberta’s goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, which has been enshrined in international agreements.
He said this goal would be attainable while maintaining grid reliability and affordability, which would be impossible if the goal were pushed to 2035.
“We wanted the federal government to negotiate with us in good faith so that we can work together and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 in a realistic and feasible manner, one where Albertans won’t have to freeze in the dark or have costs go through the roof,” said Neudorf.
“Unfortunately, Ottawa has yet to demonstrate they are willing to work with us and listen to our realities.”
While Guilbeault emphasized working collaboratively with Alberta throughout his statement, Smith had previously complained that his government acted unilaterally with little concern for Alberta’s energy situation.
“Over the past several months, the federal government has been engaging in good faith with the Alberta government on clean electricity investments and drafts regulations, very much including through the Canada-Alberta working group,” claimed Guilbeault in his recent statement.
Smith has also disputed Guilbeault’s claim that the federal government was acting in good faith, pointing to a past table discussion.
“They have not been acting in good faith because every other week, we hear an announcement from Steven Guilbeault that he wants to go outside that table discussion: wants to have more aggressive emissions reduction caps on methane, wants to have a cap on oil and gas emissions, wants to bring through a net-zero electricity grid by 2035. All of those are unconstitutional,” said Smith.
Smith had said this directly after the Supreme Court’s decision on the unconstitutional Impact Assessment Act.
On the same day she announced the Sovereignty Act, Smith said Guilbeault’s reaction had been extremely disappointing.
“He is acting like the Supreme Court never rendered a decision on the Impact Assessment Act. They’re carrying on as if that didn’t occur,” she said.
Guilbeault claimed in his statement that at no point in time did the Alberta government raise the Premier’s intent to introduce the Sovereignty Act motion.
Despite Guilbeault’s claim, True North reported Smith’s intent to invoke the Sovereignty Act two months ago to combat the federal government’s clean electricity regulations — which Smith just followed through with.
Guilbeault criticized Smith for spending millions of Albertan taxpayer dollars on “a national anti-clean electricity advertisement campaign that has no basis in fact.”
Smith criticized that if Guilbeault continues to bulldoze ahead with his net-zero electricity grid regulations, a private sector assessment suggested that it would cost the Canadian economy between $1 trillion and $1.7 trillion.
“The lion’s share of that falling upon us,” said Smith.