Speaking on his weekly radio show, Premier Jason Kenney called UCP leadership frontrunner Danielle Smith’s proposed Alberta Sovereignty Act “nuts,” adding that it’s “unthinkable” that it would be granted royal assent.
So far in the UCP leadership race, Kenney has managed to stay impartial in that he hasn’t supported or commented on this or that candidate or their policies.
However, that changed on Saturday. Kenney said of the Alberta Sovereignty Act, “The proposal is for Alberta basically to ignore and violate the Constitution in a way that is unprecedented in Canadian history. To not enforce the laws of the land, including federal laws, which include the Criminal Code, which is nuts.”
He further stated that there’s no way the lieutenant-governor would give the Act royal assent and that even if she did, it would be struck down by the courts.
“So, we would become a laughing stock, with the lieutenant-governor doing her job, which is to ensure that the rule of law and the constitution is respected,” Kenney said.
“If a lieutenant-governor were, in the unthinkable circumstance, to grant it royal assent, it would immediately be struck down by the courts.”
As for the Act, Smith says that it would authorize the Alberta government to “refuse to enforce any federal or policy that attacks Alberta’s interests or our provincial rights.”
For pretext, Smith says that the inspiration for the Act came in 2015 when Ottawa stepped in to hamper Alberta’s ability to develop and sell its resources abroad, causing undue financial and economic turmoil for Albertans, many of whom support Smith’s Alberta First agenda.
In an official statement, Smith responded to Kenney, calling his comments “premature, ill-informed, and disrespectful” to UCP members that support the Act.
“If elected to replace [Kenney] as Leader and Premier, I will work closely and collaboratively with our entire UCP Caucus to ensure the Sovereignty Act is drafted, passed, and implemented in accordance with sound constitutional language and principles,” responded Smith.
“Perhaps the Premier and other “experts” should reserve their opinion on this legislation until they can actually read it first,” Smith continued.
Smith also clearly didn’t appreciate Kenney chiming in on the proposed policy, saying that the process of selecting a replacement for Kenney should be free from his “interference.”
“I would also urge the Premier to focus on being a voice for Party unity and to respect our Party’s democratic leadership process that allows members to select our Leader in an open and transparent selection process without interference from the acting Premier and Leader of the Party,” Smith said.