Here We Go Again
On Tuesday, the Alberta Court of Appeal ruled 4-1 that the federal government overstepped its jurisdiction with the Impact Assessment Act - better known as Bill C-69.
The decision is not binding, and the federal government has already announced that they will appeal the decision, meaning that we're headed for another Supreme Court battle between Alberta and Ottawa.
We’ve been here before - the lyrics to Whitesnake’s 1982 hit song, Here I Go Again, come to mind:
Here I go again on my own
Goin’ down the only road I’ve ever known
As a quick refresher, you might remember that in February 2020 the Alberta Court of Appeal also ruled 4-1 against the federal carbon tax.
Of course, in March 2021 the Supreme Court of Canada overruled the Alberta Court's decision by 6-3, confirming the constitutionality of the carbon tax.
That ruling set a dangerous precedent that will have dramatic long-term consequences for the balance of power between the federal government and provinces in Alberta, and will no doubt be weighing on the minds of Albertans as we go back down the legal road that led us to defeat last time.
At the time, Premier Kenney said he was "disappointed" by the decision and that his government would "consult with Albertans to determine its next steps".
As far as we're aware, those consultations never happened, and nothing else has changed in the intervening period to suggest that the Supreme Court decision on this issue will be any different than last time.
'Cause I know what it means
To walk along the lonely street of dreams
Back in October 2019, Project Confederation put forward a new vision of Canada where regional differences are respected, where different provinces have the freedom to govern with the wishes of their people in mind, and therefore control their own destiny.
This vision includes resuming control of the powers we possess but which we have allowed the federal government to exercise for too long.
It is critical for Alberta to take all possible political and legal measures to reduce the financial raid of Alberta perpetuated by Canada’s tax and transfer system and the ever-creeping increase of centralized control of our key industries.
Like a drifter, I was born to walk alone
Under the heading of “A New Alberta Agenda,” we proposed nine different policy objectives we feel the Alberta government should undertake. These include:
- A referendum to abolish Canada’s equalization program (held in October 2021);
- Clarification of Section 92 and 121 of Canada’s Constitution Act, 1867, to strengthen Canadians' right to free trade across provincial borders for goods, services, and infrastructure;
- An equal, elected, and effective Senate;
- An Alberta Revenue Agency to collect our own personal income tax;
- Withdraw from the Canada Pension Plan to create an Alberta Pension Plan;
- Withdraw from the Canadian Employment Insurance program to create an Alberta Employment Insurance program;
- Exit from our RCMP contract to create an Alberta Provincial Police force;
- Establish an independent Alberta immigration system to replace the federal government's existing system, as exists in Quebec;
- Replacing the Canada Health Transfer, Canada Social Transfer, and various Infrastructure Transfers with a transfer of tax points, as Quebec has argued for many years;
While the Alberta Court of Appeal decision is a win for Alberta, it's expected to be a short-lived victory, with the Supreme Court likely to overturn it again.
If we want to make progress, Alberta needs to take much more significant actions than just another court case.
We must fight on multiple fronts, including all those listed above, in order to take the initiative and secure our future.
And I've made up my mind
I ain't wasting no more time
But here I go again
If you want to help us in this fight for fairness and get involved in our campaign, you can do so in three ways:
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Thank you again for your support, and we look forward to working with you over the coming months!