Opinion: Alberta’s sovereignty act looks increasingly like a sham

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Alberta Premier Danielle Smith spoke in Edmonton about calling for state sovereignty action on federal clean energy regulations.Jason Franson / The Canadian Press

It’s all fun and games until one loses the country.

Since Danielle Smith’s presentation of Alberta sovereignty – oops, Alberta sovereignty In the United Canada – Law, it was clear that there were only two options.

The act, or actions, armed the Alberta government with surprising, not to say revolutionary, new powers — namely the power to ignore any federal law it didn’t like and order provincial agencies to do the same. Or it didn’t.

If the former, it would be unconstitutional: if the rule of law is to have meaning, no government can decide for itself which laws it will and will not obey. If it was the second, the action was pointless.

As long as the law was not in use, both cases could be argued. Of course, the fact that the act contained a provision stating that the government and its ministers were exempt from legal liability was not encouraging.

But on the other hand, the government was clear that in his opinion the action “Alberta will not allow the violation of the Canadian Constitution.” This is actually against the practice. The fathers of knowledge – Premier A close advisor Among them – He was saying..

So there’s that.

Well now we finally have the first attempt to implement the law, with a proposal introduced in the Alberta Legislature on Monday, and it looks like interpretation option two – the whole thing. Pretentious, little performance worthless – It has an early run.

In the first place, the rejection of federal measures – clean electricity regulations – does not exist yet. The rules are still in the drafting stage and won’t take effect until 2035, 12 years away.

The second is that the resolution does not make any difference to the actions that the government is ordered to take. State entities that are ordered not to comply with or fail to comply with CERs are not required to comply or enforce them: the regulations intended to transition the country’s electricity grid to zero emissions apply directly to the state’s power producers, not the states. His supervisors.

As long as the involvement of state bodies is necessary, the resolution says they should refrain from complying “to the extent legally permissible.” In other words, they must do or do what is permitted or required by the act of sovereignty or by law.

That’s just as well, because if their services aren’t needed — if the county orders its employees to ignore federal law — they could be at risk of being sued. The province’s assurance that it will protect them from this is as immaterial as all the others, and it has no power to do so. (Unless it is said of course, what makes those state employees who refuse to follow the lawless abyss? Do they obey the law and be prosecuted?)

Perhaps the involvement of a state agency, particularly the Attorney General’s office, is considered necessary. The criminal code is federal law, but prosecution is generally left to the states. In general, but not alone. The Federation has been working to prosecute non-criminal offenses since Confederation. Certain criminal law offenses since 1969. as a The Supreme Court decided Since the early 1980s.

The district seems to be in a pickle. It can order its own agencies and employees not to comply with the CER – but does not require their compliance. Respective entities, the province’s energy producers, are privately owned. Even the act of sovereignty does not pretend that the province has the power to order private businesses to break the law.

Ah, but Ms Smith has an answer to that: set up a Crown Corporation to buy private power producers, some of them at any rate. It could then be ordered to produce power in violation of the rules — the way the Scott Moe government in Saskatchewan ordered public energy utility SaskPower to stop collecting a carbon tax on natural gas starting Jan. 1.

Nationalizing an industry to order it to break the law—socialism, in the service of anarchy—strikes many readers as a new version of conservatism. It’s certainly a strange way to achieve the Prime Minister’s goal of “restoring certainty” into the industry.

But it doesn’t stretch much further than saying you have the power to decide which laws you obey, or that a province can override federal law as part of a “united” Canada.



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