VICTORIA, B.C. – Is Alberta Premier Danielle Smith’s United Conservative Party Government now planning to introduce a new, tougher Sovereignty Act to fight Ottawa’s proposed emissions regulations?

Alberta Environment Minister Rebecca Schulz (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

As is well known, the plainly unconstitutional Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act has been shown to be a meaningless constitutional joke.

So, this morning Ms. Smith and her environment minister, who lately has been reduced to the role of an insignificant cheerleader for the premier, published a belligerent statement about the proposed federal “de facto production cap” in which they vowed to “develop a constitutional shield in response to this and other recent attacks on our province by what is fast becoming one of the most damaging federal administrations in Canadian history.”

Isn’t that what the Sovereignty Act was supposed to be?

What will this new Sovereignty 2.0 Act be, then? The Alberta Sovereignty Within a Somewhat Less United Canada Act? 

Or are we going to skip straight to a unilateral declaration of independence, as no doubt the premier’s separatist Svengali and office manager, Rob Anderson, would prefer and the threatening tone of today’s broadside suggests?

Alberta Energy Minister Brian Jean (Photo: Alberta Newsroom/Flickr).

Mr. Anderson, of course, is Ms. Smith’s unsavoury former Wildrose Party House Leader and a co-author of the Free Alberta Strategy, a separatist screed.

I mean, seriously: “This proposed cap also undermines the unity of our country. Albertans will not tolerate it. Our province is simply done with what amounts to a steady stream of economic sanctions and punitive measures thrown upon our citizens and businesses to intentionally damage their livelihoods and the economic engine that disproportionally powers our national economy and the programs that Canadians rely on.”

What are we planning here? A protection racket? I feel as if I should wander around the streets of the provincial capital next door accosting passers by and telling them they’ve got a nice little country here, so they’d better do what we want or somethin’ might happen to it! 

The passage quoted above is utter pish-posh, of course. We all know there have been no economic sanctions or punitive measures taken against Alberta. There have been policies the UCP government and its sponsors in the fossil fuel industry don’t like. And the contribution of the energy industry to Canada, while important, is exaggerated by bad actors like Ms. Smith and Mr. Anderson to leave us with the impression There Is No Alternative.

Well, there is no alternative to global electrification, but that’s a story for another day.

Anyway, we can’t ask Ms. Smith or Rebecca Schulz about this. They’re not scheduled to fly back into Alberta’s sovereign airspace until next Tuesday, having been conveniently at an energy industry lobbyists’ convention, or whatever it was that COP28 turned into, in Dubai.

Being out of the country on Pearl Harbor Day is convenient, giving the premier and her excessive entourage the opportunity to ignore the tough questions recently asked in the Legislature and elsewhere in Alberta about the economic sanctions and punitive measures against health care workers planned by the UCP government. 

It also raises an interesting question about the whereabouts of Brian Jean, Alberta’s increasingly hirsute Energy Minister who neither accompanied the premier to Dubai nor affixed his name to today’s inflammatory statement.

Is Mr. Jean just bored, or as a former Member of Parliament in the Harper Conservative government, is he troubled by the increasingly anti-Canadian tone of the Smith Government? Or does he sense things unravelling in Edmonton and want to be in a better position once again to offer his services as leader and premier?

As someone observed on social media recently, if he shaves off that Grizzly Adams beard, it’ll be a sure sign he’s making another run for the top political job. 

There is much more in today’s statement that deserves analysis. I never thought I’d see the day that Ms. Smith would be bragging about Alberta’s carbon tax – although, to be fair, a carbon tax is only a carbon tax when it’s imposed by Ottawa. When implemented by Conservatives in Alberta, it’s a “price for carbon.”

Calling the federal environment minister an eco-extremist is just abuse, of course, and ironic coming from an extremist government like Ms. Smith’s. But it does have the merit of distracting from the UCP’s plans to hijack our Canada Pension Plan and use its assets to prop up the foreign-owned fossil fuel industry as the world electrifies and perhaps to clean up the epic mess it leaves in Alberta when it walks away from the oilsands. 

By the way, the Trudeau Government is not an “administration.” That is an American term that describes the separation-of-powers system. It is a government, or, if you want to get fancy about it, a ministry. The use of this term shows the creeping and increasingly sweeping Americanization of this UCP Government and Alberta politics in general.

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  1. I watch a lot of TV so I was looking for an actor who might be Brian’s doppelgänger. Tim Allen in The Santa Clause or Bob Vila as himself? Will keep an eye open on this important issue!

  2. The words Danielle Smith most often bandies around are “constitution”, “constitutional” and “jurisdiction”

    1. Lars: Thanks. Fixed … better late than never. My hotel room is so small there is no desk. I have had to write sitting on the bed. Alberta politics just needs to settle down until I get back. DJC

  3. “develop a constitutional shield”? Is that like a tin foil hat or something?
    What ever it will be, its going to be fun watching Smith try to get that past the Supreme Court of Canada.
    Reminds me of Harper, when he passed 9 pieces of Legislation, which he was told were violations of the Constitution. He passed them and the Supreme Court of Canada, nixed them.
    I’ll be waiting to hear Smith announce the rest of Canada “can freeze in the dark”.
    “Protection racket”, she should think again. that has been tried before and the gangs who have run the “racket”, “next door” won’t take lightly to the competition. A number of people/businesses in B.C. have received letters from a gang demanding $2M. If people don’t pay up, they say they’ll shoot up their homes. So what is Smith going to do, that we haven’t seen before?
    “declaration of independance”, sounds like a teenager demanding more and not realizing without the parental units, they would find it tough to get about in life.
    What is interesting is all these Pronouncements or kites are being issued while Smith is out of the country.
    Hope you’re enjoying Victoria.

  4. At coffee today we were talking about how these idiots could make it so we weren’t welcome in other provinces and many of our friends are from eastern Canada. I ran into that problem in bc when people were honking at me and giving me the finder a few years ago when Albertans found it smart to hurl sarcastic comments Britsh Columbians over the pipeline.

    1. I must say I have seen visiting Albertans acting out in public with regard masks during the worst of Covid, particularly on the ferries—and that didn’t win the Wild Rose province any accolades here in BC. I guess the long line-ups of vehicles waiting for a ferry provided convenient fora to also remind BC drivers that they use gasoline—presumably with reference to popular opposition to the TMX pipeline terminal here on the Coast—AND advertise by way of licence plates, T-shirts and the odd Stetson that this was a message from Alberta to us allegedly self-centred, hypocritical, flakey Left-Coasters, one that struck everyone I know here as coordinated and probably grassroots-populist displays which—one could only guess—were supposed to change something like our attitudes about the weather. Seriously?

      There’s always an element of Alberta Exceptionalism but, out here, it’s generally seen as imitative, performative, and minoritarian. That’s a dividend from getting to know our new neighbours from over the mountains.

      But it is plainer that many retired or resettled Albertans now reside on the Coast—a gathering phenomenon that, near’s I can tell from my little Island, started several years ago. Not sporting Alberta plates anymore, their embarrassment over their former provincial compatriots antics wasn’t as plain—but I happen to know it existed then and probably still does, only now with regard the promotion of partisan preposterousness in Alberta politics these days.

      I think it works both ways: expat Albertans get used to us old hippies and we get used to them (maybe I’m more sensitive to the effect because I’ve lived in both places over the years). You don’t see—as much as you ever did, anyway—the bird flipped at Alberta plates these days.

      Maybe it’s also because people here have gradually accepted that TMX is happening despite the protests ( which have notably died down now). Maybe because, since it is now a federal government corporation which owns and operates the pipeline, there might be at least some regulation of volume piped to the Coast. I do know BC and Washington state have taken the prospect of supertankers plying the many navigational hazards on their shared inside marine waters very seriously, presumably reducing the risk of a dilbit spill which, after all, is the real issue on the Coast, not TMX itself per se.

      Apparently the prairie provacatuers of a few years ago in the age of conservative Freedumbite convoys were not apprised of this important fact—and that’s how you can tell them from the expat Albertans who have migrated out to the Coast, generally fit in —NDP n everything—and are generally quite welcomed.

  5. I see a lot of American idioms these days in Canadian politics. A few that stick in my craw include:

    – both sides of the aisles (it’s both sides of the house if even that);
    – claiming to vote directly for the prime minister (admittedly a golden oldie);
    – prime Minister as head of state (he/she is head of government.

    1. Expat: I learn something every day from my readers. I have always assumed “both sides of the aisle” was a wedding metaphor. I suppose henceforth I shall have to say “both sides of the room.” Seeing the PM as head of state is understandable, since a lot of prime ministers have encouraged that misunderstanding, probably for the same reason that when Canadian senators travel in the United States, they let the hotel staff think their jobs are somehow analogous to those of a U.S. senator. As for claiming to vote directly for the prime minister, or premier, that is exactly what most of us do, notwithstanding the technicality that to so so we have to vote for an MP or an MLA by name. So I think this is a reasonable statement. DJC

  6. The statements made by Danielle Smith are sounding increasingly unhinged and dangerous. Does she want to model Alberta after Venezuela or something?

  7. “ Albertans will not tolerate it. Our province is simply done…”

    Is the most arrogant pile of BULLSHIT I have read in my entire life in this province.

    Sorry for my language, but for real the hubris on these people is beyond belief, what are you going to do even if they are rob ? You don’t have a police force (much as you would like) and it’s a pretty short goddamn drive for the PPCLI to come nip your insurrection in the bud. Sabre rattling, and hubris, that’s all this is.

    I HAAAAAATE these insufferable idiots.

  8. I respectfully disagree. When the fossil fuel industry walks away from the tar sands, the Alberta Government will demand the Canadian taxpayers in the rest of the country pay to clean up the epic environmental disaster.

  9. This was always the danger of over wrought provincial belligerence, when it inevitably does not work. When you huff and puff and accomplish nothing, your supporters might start to notice how effective you really are. So you try to distract them with even more belligerence. They might not be the swiftest, but eventually they start to notice that all the over the top rhetoric they are being riled up with, is not really accomplishing anything.

    These are by the way the same people who are already often quite skeptical about Federal rhetoric and have noticed all that political talk does not always translate into action. They may be more forgiving of the Premier they support, but that is not a blank cheque. Smith’s clown car of kooks, semi detached from reality overlooks this at their own peril.

    Yes a lot of Albertans are unhappy with the current Federal government for various reasons, but they also realize all this talk about say replacing the CPP with a provincial one is going to do little or nothing to fix things.

    For the most part Albertans want changes Federally, not to detach from the country. I suppose we have a few aspects of a distinct society here, that as far as I can tell consists of things like no front licence plates and private liquor stores, but that is about it. If those with separatist leanings in the Smith administration are going to try push that further, they will become even more out of step with Albertans and their more mainstream supporters.

  10. Good call David.

    Along with “the creeping and increasingly sweeping Americanization” of Canadian politics comes the increasingly arid and empty gap between knowledge and ignorance in each and every one of these UCP cretins.

    Plato observed that “Opinion is the medium between knowledge and ignorance.”
    But Misty from Yellowjackets sez “Opinion is the wilderness between knowledge and ignorance”.
    I think Misty has the greater insight to the special brand of fools we have running around in conservative circles.

  11. I am convinced that Danielle Smith has OPP. So what are 3 symptoms of oppositional defiant disorder?
    Oppositional defiant disorder (ODD) includes a frequent and ongoing pattern of anger, irritability, arguing and defiance toward parents(read Feds) and other authority figures. ODD also includes being spiteful and seeking revenge, a behavior called vindictiveness. Am I wrong?

  12. As soon as an economic activity creates pollution, sorry externalities, that crosses provincial boundaries I have long felt that the Feds should and have a mandate to get involved. If the externalities stayed in Alberta the Feds would stay in their lane. Unfortunately … air and water doesn’t stay here in Alberta. If externalities from O&G production are put into water and air the Feds have a right to get involved as the air and water belong to all citizens on the planet. As the Feds are responsible for nation to nation agreements it is their jurisdiction. What about agreements between the First Nations and the Crown? I don’t believe that this is the responsibility of the provinces, but the federal government and the First Nations.

  13. What a rubbish article. Danielle Smith is acting in accordance with the people that elected her. She is not re-writing the constitution but is leveraging it to support Alberta and Albertans. Give your collective heads a shake.

    1. Craig: Danielle Smith’s main concern is herself, and her cronies. That’s it. When you are trying to cover up her lies, the very pricey shenanigans she does with the UCP, it’s part of the problem. These phony Conservatives and Reformers only cause problems, they don’t solve them. We didn’t see this ignorance under Peter Lougheed.

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