Alberta changing sovereignty bill to reverse provision giving cabinet unchecked power

EDMONTON — Alberta Premier Danielle Smith says her government is crafting changes to be debated next week to reverse the part of a bill that gives her cabinet unfettered power to rewrite laws behind closed doors without legislature approval.

Smith told a radio talk show Saturday that her sovereignty bill was never supposed to give cabinet such sweeping authority, and says her government wants to make it clear in law that this is not the case.

The bill, introduced this week, has faced widespread criticism and condemnation for granting Smith and her cabinet authority to redress any federal policy, law or program it deems harmful to Alberta.

Critics say such power exercised in secret without legislature oversight is a threat to the checks and balances that underpin a healthy democracy.

The bill has also raised concerns over the provision that grants cabinet the power to order provincially legislated or funded entities to reject federal laws.

Those entities include municipalities, police forces, health regions, post-secondary institutions and school boards.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Dec. 3, 2022.

The Canadian Press