adplus-dvertising
Connect with us

News

‘Bumbling and stumbling’: Alberta’s UCP caucus votes for changes to sovereignty bill

Published

 on

'Bumbling and stumbling': Alberta's UCP caucus votes for changes to sovereignty bill

Alberta‘s governing United Conservative caucus says it wants changes to fix a bill that grants sweeping, unchecked powers to Premier Danielle Smith and her cabinet to pass laws behind closed doors without the scrutiny and approval of the legislature.

Smith, meanwhile, is facing Opposition demands to explain to Albertans whether she is authoritarian or incompetent, given the way her signature sovereignty bill has rolled out.

“She either got caught in her attempt to seize power and is now desperately scrambling to cover that up, or she literally didn’t know what was in her bill and very possibly still doesn’t,” Opposition NDP Leader Rachel Notley said during question period Monday.

“She’s lost people’s trust with this bumbling and stumbling.

300x250x1

“Her bill is beyond saving. Why won’t she just withdraw it?”

Smith responded that she welcomes the changes.

“I want to make sure that we get this bill right and I’m grateful that my caucus is going to propose amendments to do that.”

Smith said over the weekend that amendments were in the works to reverse provisions of the sovereignty bill that grant her cabinet the unfettered powers.

Smith told her Saturday morning radio talk show that the unchecked powers were never supposed to be in the bill, but she didn’t explain how they got there.

“You never get things right 100 per cent right all the time,” she said on the show.

Smith’s United Conservative caucus said in a news release Monday that it voted to propose an amendment to clarify that any changes cabinet makes to laws under the act can’t be done in secret, but must instead come back to the house for the normal process of debate and approval.

The caucus also voted to change the act to more narrowly spell out when cabinet can take action.

Under the current bill, cabinet has wide latitude to respond to whatever federal law policy or program it deems harmful to Alberta’s interests.

With the amendment, harm would be defined as anything a majority of the legislature deems to be an unconstitutional federal intrusion in provincial areas of responsibility.

“These proposed amendments reflect feedback we’ve received from Albertans who want to see aspects of Bill 1 clarified to ensure it gets across the finish line,” government whip Brad Rutherford said in the release.

The release does not contain suggested legal wording of the amendments and the amendments have yet to be presented to the house.

The bill is now in second reading.

Political scientist Duane Bratt said the proposed amendments represent a major climbdown.

“Both of those were flagged early and often by critics of the bill. Those were two of the most outrageous things in there,” said Bratt, with Mount Royal University in Calgary.

He said the outstanding question is how did these clauses end up in the bill in the first place.

“Either they meant it that this is something they wanted to do … meant it and didn’t think anyone would notice, meant it but didn’t anticipate the backlash or they were just cut-and-pasting legislation and they didn’t think it all through.”

Either way, said Bratt, “it looks incompetent.”

Smith introduced the bill a week ago, characterizing it as a deliberately confrontational tool to reset the relationship with a federal government that she accuses of interfering in constitutionally protected areas of provincial responsibility from energy development to health care.

The bill has been widely criticized by political scientists and legal experts as constitutionally questionable and a threat to the checks and balances that underpin a healthy democracy.

Indigenous leaders have called it a heavy-handed trampling on treaty rights. Business groups, including the Calgary Chamber of Commerce, warn the legal uncertainty surrounding the bill is not good for investment.

Concerns remain over the provision that would grant Smith’s cabinet the right to order provincial entities — municipalities, schools, health regions, city police forces and others — to flout federal laws.

Under the bill as it currently is constructed, once cabinet identifies a federal harm, it would send a resolution to the legislative assembly spelling out the nature of the harm and the remedies to fix it.

If the Legislature gives its approval by majority vote, cabinet takes over and can pass laws and direct provincial agencies.

The current bill says cabinet “should” follow the direction of the house but doesn’t mandate it.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 5, 2022.

— With files from Colette Derworiz in Calgary

News

Alberta to require 'free speech reporting' after uproar over controversial academic visit – CBC.ca

Published

 on


[unable to retrieve full-text content]

Alberta to require ‘free speech reporting’ after uproar over controversial academic visit  CBC.ca

728x90x4

Source link

Continue Reading

News

Canada’s Black population faces varying job prospects despite equal education. Here’s why – Global News

Published

 on


[unable to retrieve full-text content]

Canada’s Black population faces varying job prospects despite equal education. Here’s why  Global News

728x90x4

Source link

Continue Reading

News

Inflation in Canada: Finance ministers meet

Published

 on

TORONTO – The two big spending pressures on the federal government right now are health care and the global transition to a clean economy, Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland said Friday.
After hosting an in-person meeting with the provincial and territorial finance ministers, Freeland said U.S. President Joe Biden’s Inflation Reduction Act, which includes electric-vehicle incentives that favour manufacturers in Canada and Mexico as well as the U.S., has changed the playing field when it comes to the global competition for capital.

“I cannot emphasize too strongly how much I believe that we need to seize the moment and build the clean economy of the 21st century,” Freeland said during a news conference held at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy.

Food prices set to increase — again — as blackout on price hikes ends at some stores
Still no answers on yearslong bread price-fixing scandal: law professor
Loblaw ends No Name price freeze, vows ‘flat’ pricing ‘wherever possible’
BCE says it’s ready for price competition, reports Q4 profits down
“This is a huge economic opportunity.”

Capital Dispatch: Sign up for in-depth political coverage of Parliament Hill

300x250x1

Canada needs to invest in the transition in order to potentially have an outsized share in the economy of the future, she said, or it risks being left behind.

This year in particular will be an important year for attracting capital to Canada, she said, calling for the provinces and territories to chip in.

“This is a truly historic, once-in-a-generation economic moment and it will take a team Canada effort to seize it.”

At the same time, Freeland spoke of the need for fiscal restraint amid economic uncertainty.

“We know that one of the most important things the federal government can do to help Canadians today is to be mindful of our responsibility not to pour fuel on the fire of inflation,” she said.

Freeland said these two major spending pressures, which were among the topics prioritized at Friday’s meeting, come at a time of a global economic slowdown which poses restraint on government spending.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to meet with the premiers Feb. 7 to discuss a long-awaited deal on health-care spending. The provinces have been asking for increases to the health transfer to the tune of billions of dollars.

Freeland said it’s clear that the federal government needs to invest in health care and reiterated the government’s commitment to doing so but would not say whether she thinks the amount the provinces are asking for in increased health transfers is feasible.

“It’s time to see the numbers,” Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard said Friday afternoon, in anticipation of the Feb. 7 meeting.

The meeting of the finance ministers comes at a tense time for many Canadian consumers, with inflation still running hot and interest rates much higher than they were a year ago.

The ministers also spoke with Bank of Canada governor Tiff Macklem Friday and discussed the economic outlook for Canada and the world, said Freeland.

“We’re very aware of the uncertainty in the global economy right now,” said Freeland. “Inflation is high and interest rates are high.”

“Things are tough for a lot of Canadians and a lot of Canadian families today and at the federal level, this is a time of real fiscal constraint.”

The Bank of Canada raised its key interest rate again last week, bringing it to 4.5 per cent, but signalled it’s taking a pause to let the impact of its aggressive hiking cycle sink in.

The economy is showing signs of slowing, but inflation was still high at 6.3 per cent in December, with food prices in particular remaining elevated year over year.

Interest rates have put a damper on the housing market, sending prices and sales downward for months on end even as the cost of renting went up in 2022.

Meanwhile, the labour market has remained strong, with the unemployment rate nearing record lows in December at five per cent.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Feb. 3, 2023.

728x90x4

Source link

Continue Reading

Trending