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Danielle Smith fires back at Kenney following criticism of proposed sovereignty act

UCP leadership candidate Danielle Smith is firing back at Alberta Premier Jason Kenney’s recent criticism of the proposed Alberta Sovereignty Act.

The Alberta Sovereignty Act has been proposed by Smith to give Alberta powers to ignore federal laws and court rulings deemed “not in the province’s interest.”

In a tweet Sunday, Smith released a statement which says that Kenney’s attacks on the act are disrespectful to what she claims is a “large and growing majority of UCP members” who allegedly support the idea.

She also said in the statement that “the premier and other experts should reserve their opinion on this legislation until they can actually read it first.”

Finally, she accused Kenney of interfering in the UCP leadership race, telling him to respect the UCP’s democratic leadership process.

On the latest broadcast of his province-wide radio show., Kenney said an Alberta Sovereignty Act  would be a “proposal for Alberta to basically ignore and violate the constitution in a way unprecedented in Canadian history”

In a press conference to get Torontonians and Vancouverites to move to Alberta on Wednesday, he doubled down on the criticism, saying a Sovereignty Act would be a disaster for the province.

“It would massively drive away investment, it would cause people to leave the province, businesses not to come here, just when our economy is experiencing such fantastic economic momentum," he said.

Kenney cited the recent Supreme Court decision that quashed appeals by several First Nations in British Columbia to prevent the construction of the Trans-Mountain pipeline.

He said if British Columbia had legislation like the Alberta Sovereignty Act, it would mean the jurisdiction could override the Supreme Court ruling and not build the pipeline. Kenney also ridiculed the notion that the United Nations would come and build the pipeline.

“So the same people who are promoting conspiracy theories about the United Nations and the World Economic Forum would invite UN peacekeepers wearing blue helmets to come in and to enforce the construction of a pipeline to the BC coast? This is just nuts!”

Kenney also addressed the criticism of alleged meddling in the leadership race, saying he has expressed his thoughts about the Sovereignty Act long before the campaign even took place.

“I am not getting involved in the leadership campaign, but I did declare publicly my views about the so-called Sovereignty Act many times in the months preceding this leadership campaign. So I’m just re-stating my public position.”


The Sovereignty Act is a centrepiece policy proposal of the Free Alberta Strategy, which argues that federal laws, policies and overreach are mortally wounding Alberta’s development. The strategy was authored by former Wildrose member Rob Anderson, University of Calgary political science professor Barry Cooper, and lawyer Derek From.

Speaking to CTV News, Mount Royal University political scientist Duane Bratt said it's one thing for Kenney to address Smith's sovereignty act on his radio show and another entirely to mention it again in a news conference.

"He clearly wanted the question, he was clearly prepared, and he wanted to talk about it," Bratt said.

"I think on the merits of his critique of the Sovereignty Act, he's dead on. There is a wide consensus that if enacted, it would create a constitutional crisis, it would violate the rule of law and it would create investor flight -- so he is he is right to point that out.

"On the other hand, he is this leader of the party intervening in a leadership race. He says he's not, but he is. This is the centerpiece of Danielle Smith's campaign.

"Kenny said he's unaware of who supports this and who doesn't support that, that he's not really following the race – that's garbage. He is following the race. This is a direct attack on Danielle Smith."

Calgary’s business community has also expressed concerns over the Sovereignty Act. Chamber of Commerce CEO Deborah Yedlin tweeted the proposed act would “cause significant investment uncertainty, translate into capital being invested in other jurisdictions.” She goes on to say “We need to attract investment, not scare it away.”

Former BC premier Christy Clark was blunt in her assessment of the act Sunday, saying it amounts to a sovereignty referendum. “I think that is bats—t crazy,” Clark said, prompting the crowd to burst into laughter.

She was speaking at a conservative conference in Edmonton. Top Stories

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