Right in the centre - Standing up to the feds


By Ken Waddell

Neepawa Banner & Press

This past week, Alberta’s premier Danielle Smith was sworn in, named her cabinet and presided over an AGM. She brought a lot of people into cabinet, among them her leadership rivals. She also laid down some rules for how to deal with Ottawa. Other than Quebec, no other province has been so vocal in their complaints about how they are treated by Ottawa.

Our federal government has done just about everything possible to thwart the Alberta economy with their asinine efforts to force feed electric vehicles decades ahead of realistic usage. The federal message is oil is bad, tax it heavily, break buisnesses and families but convert everything to electricity. The problem is that electric vehicles, while having many advantages, cannot simply meet the rigours of the Canadian climate or distances. Their capacity is suspect at best.

But there are other issues that go back way farther in our history.

Health care is a prime example. The federal government isn’t actually supposed to be involved in heath under the constitution but they inserted themselves with both feet back in the days of universalizing medicare. Begun in Saskatchewan, and not by Tommy Douglas, in 1938, medicare grew for many years until it was adopted by Tommy Douglas and the CCF party in 1962. The CCF later became the New Democratic Party and love to claim medicare as their baby. It isn’t but that’s another story.

The feds got into health care in the 1960s with the extension of health care across Canada by the Lester Pearson Liberal government. It has evolved and expanded so the the Canadian Health Act has far reaching effects. The problem is the act is not applied equally across the land. In Manitoba you can’t buy certain health services. We are told it’s “against the Canada Health Act.” Problem is, those same services can be purchased privately in Quebec and Alberta. Maybe in other provinces as well. That may not be a fight that Alberta wants to make with Ottawa but what it does prove is that federal laws are heavy-handed and applied without equity.

It’s early in Danielle Smith’s tenure and she does have to get elected in a by-election. She plans to introduce a yet to be detailed Sovereignty Act that she claims will allow Alberta to not enforce federal laws and regulations if the province deems them to be detrimental to Alberta. Sounds good to me but the prospect is driving the Liberals and NDP crazy. According to them, provinces, and people in general are supposed to pay and obey. No questioning federal wisdom allowed. Not surprising, considering how much Prime Minister Trudeau loves Communist China. Just think about that for a minute.

If Alberta is able to back the feds off more often, just as Quebec has, maybe we will have a better country. If it works, other provinces could do well to copy Alberta. Maybe our Manitoba government should make some similar noises as we go through the process. 

Smith’s idea is simple. If legislation isn’t good for Alberta, they won’t enforce it. If the feds don’t like it, they can sue and go to the Supreme Court. It’s unfortunate if it has to go to that but we shouldn’t be surprised. The feds have screwed up the COVID-19 situation from vaccines to C-19 rules to the Arrive Canada App. As mentioned above,  they have spent us into the poorhouse by enforcing a highly questionable climate policy. In reality, there isn’t much the feds have done right in recent years.

It’s no wonder Alberta is angry. We all should be.

Disclaimer: The views expressed in this column are the writer’s personal views and are not to be taken as being the view of the Banner & Press staff.