Legislative assembly

Sovereignty Act is a threat to the building blocks of democracy, says Fluker

Airdrie Cochrane NDP candidate Shaun Fluker believes the sovereignty bill that is at the heart of Danielle Smith’s UCP leadership campaign is a threat to the building blocks of democracy.

“It’s a real threat, more or less, I think those are the building blocks of democratic governance in Alberta, and that’s the rule of law, the separation of powers, and viable federalism.”

Although he thinks it would be challenged, he finds it even more disturbing that a political party is considering passing a law that he knows is unconstitutional. The ensuing legal process would be long and costly for taxpayers.

“The idea of ​​a sovereignty law is really trying to usurp the function of Canadian courts, which is to rule on the validity of legislation. I can say that an NDP government in Alberta would not go that route at all. much more pressing issues facing Albertans that they want their government to focus on, and it’s certainly not even close to being on the list. »

“I think the biggest question for me is whether it’s appropriate for a government to pass legislation that they know is unconstitutional, and that’s the part that I think is the most problematic because it really represents a grapple with some of these basic principles.”

Fluker is an associate professor of law at the University of Calgary and co-wrote a blog on Sovereignty Law on June 22 with Martin Olszynski and Jonette Watson Hamilton.

“Law scholars dismissed the idea as one that would clearly offend Canada’s constitutional order, but mainstream media commentary to date has failed to acknowledge the fundamentally illegal and undemocratic nature of this proposal,” he says in the opening paragraph.

Under his final subheading of Sovereignty at What Cost, he asserts that disagreements over the division of powers between the federal and provincial governments are as old as the constitution and have led some to seek constitutional amendments and others to seek separation.

“But the Alberta Sovereignty Act is quite different: it promises essentially the same result through an attempt at legal sleight of hand, he says. “In our view, however, the clearest and most immediate effects of these ideas are not sovereignty, nor changes to the confederation market, but rather a damaging blow to the rule of law and elements of basis of democratic governance.”

If elected, Smith said the Sovereignty Act would be the first piece of legislation passed in the fall session. Its purpose would be to allow Alberta to refuse to enforce any federal law or court order that the Legislative Assembly deems intrusive to provincial authority or unfairly prejudicial to Alberta’s interests.

The law is a product of the Free Alberta Strategy group, of which Rob Anderson is the co-founder. Anderson is Smith’s campaign manager.