The legislature of the Canadian province of Alberta invoked the controversial Alberta Sovereignty Act on Monday in response to Canada’s federal clean energy initiatives. Alberta’s legislature passed a resolution which resolved to “urge the Government to use all legal means necessary to oppose the implementation and enforcement of the Federal Initiative in Alberta.” The federal initiative mentioned in Alberta’s resolution is Canada’s proposed Clean Energy Regulations.
The legislative resolution states that the Clean Energy Regulations mandate “a set of emissions standards and timelines that are unattainable within the context of Alberta’s electricity industry and available energy resource,” and would have “an extreme chilling effect on investment in Alberta’s electricity generation industry.” It is unclear what effect, if any, the resolution will have. The Clean Energy Regulations which Alberta’s government has been directed to “oppose the implementation and enforcement of” are still only draft laws with no legal effect.
The resolution invoked the Alberta Sovereignty Within a United Canada Act. That Act permits the Legislative Assembly of Alberta to render inoperative portions or the entirety of federal statutes in the province deemed by the provincial cabinet “unconstitutional or harmful to Albertans”, and allows them to be replaced with substitute provincial legislation.
The Alberta government in a press release indicated that Danielle Smith—the Premier of Alberta and co-sponsor of the resolution to oppose the Government of Canada’s Clean Energy Regulations—will travel to Dubai for the UN’s 28th Conference of the Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP28). The press release states Smith will showcase Alberta’s “common-sense and innovative approach to reducing emissions.”
Smith previously introduced the Sovereignty Act in November 2022 amidst speculation of legal challenges to the act. At the time, Smith claimed that Albertans no longer wanted “Ottawa to…interfere in our constitutional areas of jurisdiction.”