Alberta could ignore court rulings under Smith’s sovereignty act

United Conservative leadership candidate Danielle Smith says her proposed Alberta Sovereignty Act would allow the legislature to bypass court rulings that the province violated the Canadian Constitution by failing to act. federal law exam.

In a news release on Tuesday, Smith outlined how the law works.

A special proposal, passed by free vote in the Alberta Legislature, would identify the law at issue, explain the harm to Alberta and describe how the province and its agencies would not law enforcement.

If Ottawa believes Alberta is acting unconstitutionally, then the federal government will be dependent on filing a constitutional appeal.

Smith’s description of the action says Alberta can choose to bypass the court if it rules in Ottawa’s favor.

‘Banana Republic’

Prime Minister Jason Kenney said on Tuesday that such a move would turn Alberta into a “banana republic” that would terrify international investors, such as those he met in South Korea back first month.

“The Alberta Sovereignty Act will be like kryptonite to them,” Kenney said at an unrelated news conference in Calgary.

“They care about political stability, not political chaos. They care about a jurisdiction that respects the rule of law and the jurisdiction of the courts.

“Not someone who likes to point his nose, banana republic, because of those fundamentals.”

The Smith Bulletin said the ideas of the Alberta Sovereignty Act were constitutional and criticized the “sober” media and “so-called ‘experts'” who use “information scare and mislead” to discredit the statute.

By allowing Alberta to bypass federal laws it opposes, the legislation would represent specific action against a “lawless” Ottawa that routinely harms Alberta’s interests, Smith said.

Smith did not respond to CBC’s request for an interview.

The government does not respect the law

Legal experts say allowing the provincial legislature to ignore court decisions would upset the checks and balances laid out in Canada’s democratic system, where the judiciary can provide remedies to citizens if the government violates their rights or exceeds its authority.

Eric Adams, a law professor at the University of Alberta, said the idea of ​​a provincial government declaring a law unconstitutional is not part of the Canadian system of government.

He said it was also worrisome that Smith’s action appeared to give Alberta quasi-judicial power to assess the constitutionality of another government’s law and recommend remedial action, such as refusing to enforce it. that law.

Consider the mayhem that could ensue if Alberta refused to enforce a federal change to the Penal Code that it didn’t like, he said.

“What are the police supposed to do when you have a level of government that says ‘Don’t apply that law,’ the Canadian Parliament says ‘It’s the law’ and citizens raise their hands to the sky saying, ‘I Adams says: ‘I’m not sure what the system is’ Which laws govern what else?

Martin Olzynski, a law professor at the University of Calgary, similarly warned that the move would allow the Alberta government to ignore the jurisdiction of the courts.

Governments in Canada are not entitled to the rule of law, he said.

“You can’t sidestep the courts when you don’t like the outcome. That’s the difference between the rule of law and the rule of the individuals. And what I’m referring to in other cases, of course, is the rule of law. tyranny,” Olzynski said.

“When governments decide that they are above the law, we are no longer dealing with democratic government.”

Smith has said she will introduce the Alberta Sovereignty Act this fall if she wins the UCP leadership position.

The party will announce the results of the leadership vote on October 6.

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