The Alberta Sovereignty Act
On December 8, 2022, the Alberta Legislature passed the Alberta Sovereignty Act. This act gives Alberta the ability to act as a nation within a nation, something Quebec has done for years.
Essentially, Canada is a federation of sovereign, independent jurisdictions. Inasmuch as the federal government is a signatory to the Constitution, so are the provinces and territories. Hence, Alberta has a right to exercise its sovereign powers in its own areas of jurisdiction. Alberta’s new Sovereignty Act outlines this in its new legislation.
Provincial vs Federal Powers
The Alberta Sovereignty Act can support the Alberta Provincial Legislature in refusing to enforce any Federal law or policy that violates the jurisdictional rights of Albertans under Sections 92 – 95 of the Constitution Act or that breaches Albertan Charter Rights.
The Alberta Sovereignty Act was drafted and enacted according to Premier Danielle Smith’s vision that Alberta’s legislature should have the ability to vote against provincial enforcement of federal law or policies that overreach upon Alberta’s jurisdictional rights under the Constitution of Canada or Canada’s Charter of Rights and Freedoms Act.
Executing Alberta’s Sovereignty Act
Smith’s vision for invoking the Alberta Sovereignty Act could be applied in areas such as federal mandatory vaccination policies, freezing bank accounts of peaceful protestors, and production limits on Albertan energy companies.
According to Premier Smith, the Alberta Sovereignty Act will come into effect if the federal government institutes a law or policy that is perceived to violate Alberta’s jurisdictional rights. If this happens, Alberta’s MLAs will have a free vote on the issue to nullify any federal overstep that would impede Alberta’s sovereignty.
Elaine Allan, BA, MBA
Political & Business Blogger