The Alberta Agenda
In summary, the Alberta Agenda argues that Alberta should:
-create our own Alberta Pension Plan (APP).
-collect our own revenue from personal income tax as we already do for
our corporate income tax
-create our own police force. The RCMP would remain in Alberta to
enforce federal statutes.
-resume constitutional responsiblity for health care.
-use section 88 of the Supreme Court's decision in the Quebec Secession
Reference to force Senate reform back onto the agenda
-take all possible political and legal measures to reduce the financial
drain on Alberta caused by transfer payments and equalization
-utilize the Notwithstanding Clause coupled with a referendum to allow
Albertans to shape our own path
These items are more controversial than they really should be,
especially considering that:
-Quebec has their own pension plan, one that is better operated than
the Canada Pension Plan
-Quebec already collects their own personal income tax
-Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland have their own police forces
-these items are nothing more than adhering to the Canadian constitution
| Misconceptions about the Alberta
Several people have misconceptions about the
Alberta Agenda. One misconception is that the Alberta Agenda
agenda for Alberta independence. While I wish this were true, all it is
doing is Alberta claiming her constitutional rights. Alberta's
constitutional rights were not the same as other provinces in
Confederation. Quebec, Ontario and Newfoundland have adopted several
provisions of the Alberta Agenda for themselves. Has the presence of the Ontario Provincial
Police led to secessionists gaining prominence in Ontario?
Another misconception is that the Alberta Agenda will solve all our
problems within Confederation. Just as the Alberta Agenda is not the
agenda of nationalist Albertans, nor is it the agenda of federalists.
Has the adoption of half of the Alberta Agenda solved the problems of
sovereignists in Quebec? No. It will not do the same with
pro-independence forces in Alberta. The reason for this is that it
doesn't address most of the grievances that Albertans have, and more
importantly, it does not address the problem with Canadian
Confederation: that the majorty can trample on the rights of the
minority, particularly Alberta.
Related to the misconception that the Alberta Agenda will solve our
problems with Canada is a misunderstanding of the tax collection
section of the Alberta Agenda. The Alberta Agenda does NOT advocate the
collection of federal income taxes by Alberta. It advocates the
collection of Alberta personal income taxes in Alberta, in much the
same way we collect corporate income taxes - we do not collect federal
corporate income taxes. While some may see a solution to
equalization/transfer payments by Alberta keeping the tax moneys of
Albertans taxed by Ottawa, realize that that is not what the Alberta
| Some Provinces Were More Equal
Alberta's constitutional rights were not the
as other provinces in Confederation when Alberta became a part of
Canada in 1905. Alberta did not have rights to resources and natural
resources, unlike every other province with the exception of Canada.
Nor did Alberta have the ability to chose the educational system - this
was imposed on us. This unfair treatment led to Clifford Sifton
resigning from Laurier's cabinet.
This unjust situation was rectified by the Alberta Act in 1930, whereby
Alberta was finally recognized as possessing her natural resources.
Ironically, this wasn't done for any reason except that the Canadian
government didn't think too highly of Alberta's natural
| Alberta's Constitutional Rights
Taken Away By Federal Government
As found in the BNA Act (found below), Alberta
exclusive powers over many areas of jurisdiction. Many times, Ottawa
has decided to legislate and enforce legislation that infringes upon
Alberta's jurisdiction. It did so with regard to education and natural
resources from Alberta's first day in Canada. It does so today in such
areas as healthcare. In fact it has such an effect in healthcare that
healthcare is seen as a federal responsibility, even by some MLAs.
Alberta's jurisdiction over her natural resources has been infringed
upon by many schemes designed to wrest Alberta's wealth to the central
government. Constitutional protection has been anything but for Alberta.
|The Alberta Agenda: Good, But...
It won't save us.
Having our own pension plan will allow us to have our own pension plan,
which will save hundreds of millions of dollars and allow our pension
plan to actually be funded. It will not prevent Canada from raiding
Alberta in order to finance their pension plan. A good idea, but the
solution is one small piece among many larger ones.
Having our own police force may allow the execution of some poor laws
to not be enforced, but that's problematic in itself, as it lessens the
respect for all laws, not just federal laws. It is a good idea from a
Collecting Alberta's personal income tax does not mean we will
collect federal personal income tax, and then withhold funds from
Canada until they stop stealing funds from us thru
equalization/transfer payments. The federal government will continue to
collect federal income taxes paid by Albertans. Collecting our own tax
will eliminate any notions of being secondary to the federal government
and provide money in the form of carry on interest to more than cover
the costs. It will not prevent equalization/transfer payments.
The Constitution Act does not allow the Notwithstanding Clause to
override all legislation, only a portion of it. It can be only done to
affect fundamental freedoms, legal rights or equality rights, and even
within this, it can only affect legislation that we would be able to
enact. Bill 202, dealing with same sex marriage, would not be subject
to the Notwithstanding Clause, for example. That's a legal judgment
that came down in 2002. Done right, the Notwithstanding Clause could be
a good addition to a bill of rights. However, that is not the case in
Canada: it has little merit in protecting Alberta.
Resuming constitutional responsibility for health care is a good thing,
but Alberta may not come out ahead on this financially. The Canadian
government pays for 19% of Alberta's health care. In order to take
responsibility, we would forego that 19%. We may gain enough
efficiencies to make up that 19%, but it is not a large benefit to
Using the Clarity Act for refederation is like using potential
independence as a bargaining chip - and it could result in our
independence. This would lead to a fluid situation in my opinion, where
anything can happen. And because it will be recognized as such, it most
likely not be adopted. However, if this part of the Alberta Agenda is
adopted, it could save us - because it may have the unintended
consequence of Alberta leaving Confederation hoping to renegotiate a
new federalism, which is rejected by Canada.
How would legal fights to equalization and transfer payments be
successful? And how would these prevent the federal government from
making new laws to overcome any successful legal challenge?
The Alberta Agenda will not give us redress from our problems. That
said, it is prudent policy.
Exclusive Powers of Provincial Legislatures
In each Province the Legislature may exclusively make Laws in relation
to Matters coming within the Classes of Subject next hereinafter
enumerated; that is to say,--
2. Direct Taxation within the Province in order to the raising of a
Revenue for Provincial Purposes.
3. The borrowing of Money on the sole Credit of the Province.
4. The Establishment and Tenure of Provincial Offices and the
Appointment and Payment of Provincial Officers.
5. The Management and Sale of the Public Lands belonging to the
Province and of the Timber and Wood thereon.
6. The Establishment, Maintenance, and Management of Public and
Reformatory Prisons in and for the Province.
The Establishment, Maintenance, and Management of Hospitals, Asylums,
Charities, and Eleemosynary Institutions in and for the Province, other
than Marine Hospitals.
8. Municipal Institutions in the Province.
Shop, Saloon, Tavern, Auctioneer, and other Licences in order to the
raising of a Revenue for Provincial, Local, or Municipal Purposes.
10. Local Works and Undertakings other than such as are of the
Lines of Steam or other Ships, Railways, Canals, and other Works and
Undertakings connecting the Province with any other or others of the
Provinces, or extending beyond the Limits of the Province;
(b) Lines of Steam Ships between the Province and any British or
Such Works as, although wholly situate within the Province, are before
or after the Execution declared by the Parliament of Canada to be for
the general Advantage of Canada or for the Advantage of Two or more of
11. The Incorporation of Companies with Provincial Objects.
12. The Solemnization of Marriage in the Province.
13. Property and Civil Rights in the Province.
The Administration of Justice in the Province, including the
Constitution, Maintenance, and Organization of Provincial Courts, both
of Civil and of Criminal Jurisdiction, and including Procedure in Civil
Matters in those Courts.
15. The Imposition of Punishment by Fine,
Penalty, or Imprisonment for enforcing any Law of the Province made in
relation to any Matter coming within any of the Classes of Subjects
enumerated in this Section.
16. Generally all Matters of a merely local or private Nature in the
Non-Renewable Natural Resources, Forestry Resources and Electrical
92A. (1) In each province, the legislature may exclusively make laws in
(a) exploration for non-renewable natural resources in the province;
development, conservation and management of non-renewable resources
natural resources and forestry resources in the province, including
laws in relation to the rate of primary production therefrom; and
development, conservation and management of sites and facilities in the
province for the generation and production of electrical energy.
In each province, the legislature may make laws in relation to the
export from the province to another part of Canada of the primary
production from non-renewable natural resources and forestry resources
in the province and the production from facilities in the province for
the generation of electrical energy, but such laws may not authorize or
provide for discrimination in prices or in supplies exported to another
part of Canada.
(3) Nothing in subsection (2) derogates from the
authority of Parliament to enact laws in relation to the matters
referred to in that subsection and, where such a law of Parliament and
a law of a province conflict, the law of Parliament prevails to the
extent of the conflict.
(4) In each province, the legislature may
make laws in relation to the raising of money by any mode or system of
taxation in respect of
(a) non-renewable natural resources and forestry resources in the
province and the primary production therefrom, and
(b) sites and facilities in the province for the generation of
electrical energy and the production therefrom,
or not such production is exported in whole or in part from the
province, but such laws may not authorize or provide for taxation that
differentiates between production exported to another part of Canada
and production not exported from the province.
(5) The expression "primary production" has the meaning assigned by the
Nothing in subsections (1) to (5) derogates from any power or rights
that a legislature or government of a province had immediately before
the coming into force of this section.(49)
In and for each Province the Legislature may exclusively make Laws in
relation to Education, subject and according to the following
(1) Nothing in any such Law shall prejudicially
affect any Right or Privilege with respect to Denominational Schools
which any Class of Persons have by Law in the Province at the Union:
All the Powers, Privileges and Duties at the Union by Law conferred and
imposed in Upper Canada on the Separate Schools and School Trustees of
the Queen's Roman Catholic Subjects shall be and the same are hereby
extended to the Dissentient Schools of the Queen's Protestant and Roman
Catholic Subjects in Quebec:
(3) Where in any Province a System of
Separate or Dissentient Schools exists by Law at the Union or is
thereafter established by the Legislature of the Province, an Appeal
shall lie to the Governor General in Council from any Act or Decision
of any Provincial Authority affecting any Right or Privilege of the
Protestant or Roman Catholic Minority of the Queen's Subjects in
relation to Education:
(4) In case any such Provincial Law as from
Time to Time seems to the Governor General in Council requisite for the
Execution of the Provisions of this Section is not made, or in case any
Decision of the Governor General in Council on any Appeal under this
Section is not duly executed by the proper Provincial Authority in that
Behalf, then and in every such Case, and as far as the Circumstances of
each Case require, the Parliament of Canada may make remedial Laws for
the due Execution of the Provisions of this Section and of any Decision
of the Governor General in Council under this Section.(50)
93A. Paragraphs (1) to (4) of section 93 do not apply to Quebec. (50.1)
Uniformity of Laws in Ontario, Nova Scotia and New Brunswick.
Notwithstanding anything in this Act, the Parliament of Canada may make
Provision for the Uniformity of all or any of the Laws relative to
Property and Civil Rights in Ontario, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick,
and of the Procedure of all or any of the Courts in Those Three
Provinces, and from and after the passing of any Act in that Behalf the
Power of the Parliament of Canada to make Laws in relation to any
Matter comprised in any such Act shall, notwithstanding anything in
this Act, be unrestricted; but any Act of the Parliament of Canada
making Provision for such Uniformity shall not have effect in any
Province unless and until it is adopted and enacted as Law by the
Old Age Pensions.
Parliament of Canada may make laws in relation to old age pensions and
supplementary benefits, including survivors, and disability benefits
irrespective of age, but no such law shall affect the operation of any
law present or future of a provincial legislature in relation to any
Agriculture and Immigration.
each Province the Legislature may make Laws in relation to Agriculture
in the Province, and to Immigration into the Province; and it is hereby
declared that the Parliament of Canada may from Time to Time Make Laws
in relation to Agriculture in all or any of the Provinces, and to
Immigration into all or any of the Provinces; and any Law of the
Legislature of a Province relative to Agriculture or to Immigration
shall have effect in and for the Province as long and as far as it is
not repugnant to any Act of the Parliament of Canada.