Source: Facebook

Alberta has declared yet another one of the Liberals’ environmental initiatives unconstitutional. 

In a statement released on June 14, Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz argued that the federal Liberals had no right to dictate the management of Alberta’s land or resources.

“Any plan for our province must reflect the social, economic, and environmental values of Albertans, not Ottawa; especially when Ottawa’s ultimate goal is to sterilize our land and resources, which hinders economic opportunity and resource development projects before they can even be proposed,” wrote Schulz. 

The Liberals introduced the Nature Accountability Act in Parliament a day before Schulz’s statement. The bill provides steps to achieve Canada’s vision for 2050, including the 2030 nature strategy.

The strategy seeks to implement all 23 Kunming-Montréal Global Biodiversity Framework targets.

Some of the 23 targets include restoring 30% of all degraded ecosystems and conserving 30% of land, waters, and seas. Other targets include spending at least $200 billion annually on biodiversity and ensuring “gender equality and a gender-responsive approach for biodiversity action.”

One target that the provincial and federal leaders may find agreement on is the sixth target, which would reduce the introduction of invasive alien species by 50%. Alberta recently raised the fines for various methods that historically brought invasive species into the province.

Schulz argued that the Liberals’ nature strategy disregards provincial viewpoints and exacerbates concerns about federal encroachment on provincial jurisdiction.

“This report is yet another example of Minister of Environment and Climate Change Steven Guilbeault blatantly ignoring the Canadian constitution and pretending to engage with provinces to carry out his radical, ideological agenda,” said Schulz. 

According to Schulz, 76% of Canada’s landmass is provincial and territorial, while only 6% is federal lands.

“Despite this, the federal government is setting targets and making grand plans that they cannot execute, as it is once again outside of their area of jurisdiction,” said Schulz.

The Nature Accountability Act aims to establish a national biodiversity strategy and action plan, requiring regular progress reports and establishing an advisory committee.

Guilbeault confirmed while speaking in Parliament that Canada is the second country in the world to introduce such an act, following Chile.

“Ottawa needs to stay in its own lane. Albertans — including communities, Indigenous people, farmers, ranchers, hunters, resource workers, and stewards of our beautiful province — will decide how to best manage provincial lands,” said Schulz.

While introducing the act in Parliament, Guilbeault also tabled the Toward a 2030 Biodiversity Strategy for Canada: Halting and reversing nature loss.

Alberta’s statement comes just one day after the federal Conservatives demanded Guilbeault’s resignation. 

“Steven Guilbeault lied to Canadians. He must resign, and if he won’t, then Justin Trudeau must fire him and start telling Canadians the truth,” reads the federal Conservatives’ news release.

Alberta’s history of challenging federal legislation that the province deems unconstitutional is lengthy.  Recent disputes include the Impact Assessment Act, the plastics registry and production cap, and the emissions cap.