By MAGGIE M, Editor, Wedgee-in-Chief, theWedge.LIVE
It’s not a new idea but it was not an option in Alberta–until now.
Premier Jason Kenney aims to offer Albertans a powerful voice after a model used in B.C. based on the 1991 British Columbia Recall and Initiative Act. Albertans could take back the power they feel they have lost with the Citizen’s Initiative Act.
The Act still on the drawing board could be in “first reading this Spring and reach royal assent by Stampede Week,” Kenney spokesperson states.
Kenney is sincere in recognizing his role as a civil servant. His desire to give Albertans a mechanism for Recall and Referenda is palpable from where the Wedge stands.
In his Fair Deal address at the Manning Centre in November Kenney announced this Act but it seems to have been missed by the media. (The Wedge had not moved its operations to Alberta at that time.)
Here are Kenney’s opening points made:
- strengthen its democratic reform agenda by introducing a Citizen’s Initiative Act to give Albertans the power to petition for referenda on matters of widespread public concern
- act to fulfill platform commitments that strengthen Alberta’s position within Canada
“The Citizen’s Initiative Act will give Albertans the power to hold this and future governments to account if we do not keep our commitment to stand up for Alberta.”Jason Kenney, Premier
We foresee secessionists jumping on this process. Kenney is a “staunch federalist.” It will come down to numbers of signatures within a given timeframe to trigger the dreaded break-up of our nation.
According to Kenney the mechanics of Alberta referenda will have to represent the majority with no undue influence from its larger cities. In B.C. the signature requirements were near impossible to achieve resulting in reportedly only one successful referendum in 25 years .
Referenda are a “good thing.” We wait to see the first draft of the Act.
Imagine referenda on:
- Establishing a provincial revenue agency to collect provincial taxes directly by ending the Canada-Alberta Tax Collection Agreement, while joining Quebec in seeking an agreement to collect federal taxes within the province.
- Creating an Alberta Pension Plan by withdrawing from the Canada Pension Plan.
- Establishing a provincial police force by ending the Alberta Police Service Agreement with the Government of Canada.
- Emulating Quebec’s practice of playing a larger role in international relations, in part by seeking Alberta representation in treaty negotiations that effect Alberta’s interests.
- Emulating Quebec’s legal requirement that public bodies, including municipalities and school boards, obtain the approval of the provincial government before they can enter into agreements with the federal government.
- Using the existing provincial power to appoint the Chief Firearms Office for Alberta.
- Opting out of federal cost share programs with full compensation, such as the federal government’s proposed pharmacare program.
- Seeking an exchange of tax points for federal cash transfers under the Canada Health and Social Transfers.
- Establishing a formalized provincial constitution.
These are all being sought from the feds by the Fair Deal Panel.
In the meantime, the PM is playing the quid pro quo game putting the stops on the Teck Frontier project today, the largest in Alberta. Some decry this as extortion. Why does the leader of a confederation not see its provinces’ health as his responsibility?
This is a redundant question but we have an answer.
Alberta is already behaving as a separate nation state, Kenney as diplomat. Or lobbyist. Trudeau does not see himself as a federalist or nationalist. He sees every asset in Canada from a globalist perspective.
Kenney cannot appeal to the PM as a federalist or nationalist (“potato-potato”). His romantic allusions are lost on the PM. The latter is serving a global vision and a foreign power. This point must be made.
The PM is fighting for a seat on the UN Security Council travelling on our dime to Africa to this end–right now. This unelected organization aims to dismantle Alberta’s resource foundation.
Ministers Savage and Fir have been strong in their warnings to the UN to keep out of our business. It is a daily merry-go-round with no end in sight.
So in 2020, nothing is off the table in referenda–including the usurious carbon tax.
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