Jason Franson The Canadian Press The Premier of Alberta, Danielle Smith invokes the Provincial Sovereignty Act in front of the press on Monday in Edmonton.
Premier Danielle Smith invoked the Alberta Sovereignty Act on Monday to implement new measures in her fight against Ottawa's looming clean electricity rules, while admitting she does not did not need the law to implement changes.
Smith said she wanted to invoke the law to send a message that her government is serious about opposing Ottawa's plan to green Canada's electricity grid by 2035, a plan that she says could wreak havoc on Alberta's natural gas system.
“We're creating an opportunity for the federal government to do the right thing and step back,” she said. Smith told reporters.
“We are sending the message: 'Continue working with us to reach our 2050 goal,'” she added.
Ms. Smith made the comment before a motion was presented to the House under the Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act.
She maintains there is reason to believe Alberta electricity producers could meet a later target of 2050. An earlier deadline could put the grid at risk of outage during peak periods, she fears. /p>
The law specifies that members of the House must debate and vote on motions before the Smith government can act.
Monday's motion calls on the Smith government to allow provincial officials and regulators not to cooperate with federal rules related to the 2035 green grid – but not to the point of breaking the law. It makes clear that this non-compliance order does not apply to private businesses or individuals.
The motion also calls on Alberta to consider creating a Crown corporation that would play a role in the province's privatized electricity system to provide electricity if the green grid risks depriving citizens of an adequate baseload.
While the motion does not call on Alberta officials to break the law, Smith said they would develop some sort of provision to protect them from prosecution if that were to happen.
Surprise in Ottawa
In Ottawa, federal Energy Minister Jonathan Wilkinson said he was disconcerted by Alberta's decision to use the sovereignty law against the proposed clean electricity regulations. He said he believed the two governments were moving toward consensus.
“It's a triumph of [partisan] politics over good public policy,” Wilkinson told The Canadian Press in an interview.
“That's exactly what Canadians should encourage their politicians to avoid,” he added.
Canada and Alberta have created a climate and energy working group to try to overcome some of the obstacles facing them. separate on various policies. Mr Wilkinson said the group met five times and four meetings were specific to clean electricity regulations.
Another meeting was planned for December.
At neither meeting did Alberta indicate it planned to turn to its sovereignty law, Mr. Wilkinson said.
“In the context of all these conversations, not once have Premier Smith or her staff mentioned that they are considering introducing the Sovereignty Act. To be honest, it's a bit confusing for me, in the context that good progress has been made,” he mentioned.
Ms. Smith said the declaration on the sovereignty law is not designed to end the work of this committee.
An ideological decision, according to Guilbeault< /h2>
The federal Minister of the Environment, Steven Guilbeault, also expressed his surprise during a press briefing on Monday afternoon.
“This is the first time let us hear about it,” he said of the law, the legal basis of which he doubts.
The minister alleged that the Smith government's strategy is “clearly motivated by an anti-environment, anti-climate change and anti-progress ideology.”
“It must be understood that the Prime Minister of Alberta has put in place a moratorium on the development of renewable energies, which puts thirty billion investments in its province at risk, recalled Mr. Guilbeault. Thousands of jobs are at risk and it is completely ideologically driven. »
Mr. Guilbeault released draft regulations in early August aimed at establishing a carbon-neutral energy network by 2035. He said Canada does not want to be left behind as the United States and other G7 countries move towards clean electricity.
He also said that any claim that building a clean electricity grid in Alberta would lead to blackouts is misinformation intended to inflame rather than inform.< /p>