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Intergovernmental Affairs Ministry

Rajan Sawhney

July 29, 2022

Intergovernmental Affairs Ministry

A few days ago I sent a statement to all members on Danielle Smith’s Sovereignty Delusion. In response, many of you asked what my plan was for addressing Ottawa.

I know that Canadians and Albertans understand, and are committed to, upholding the Rule of Law. Hence, I will not promise policies that cannot be delivered nor will I present any plans crafted to deliberately contravene basic Canadian laws. 

There are others who say that an Alberta Sovereignty Act presents a solution for legitimate grievances of Albertans while some may also think that it could be a final step toward separation.  I am opposed to these concepts because I believe that it’s time to move our party and our province forward not down a path that leads nowhere.  It’s time for serious and sensible solutions, not delusional policies that may sound good in principle but that have no practical outcomes to benefit Albertans.

I will fight for Alberta’s autonomy. I will stand up to Ottawa and policies that unfairly target Alberta. We are an industrious province, people with ideas and solutions, and we have the stamina to fight. 

I will immediately implement Major Policies that advance these BASIC PRINCIPLES:

  • FAIRNESS FOR ALBERTA: Alberta needs a fairer deal in confederation where we keep more money in Alberta to provide for Albertan’s priorities.
  • MORE ALBERTA, LESS OTTAWA: Alberta should be the default choice to run programs and services in provincial jurisdiction.
  • MORE SAY OVER FEDERAL POLICY THAT AFFECTS ALBERTA: Alberta should have a greater voice in decisions and policy made by the federal government that affect Alberta.

To accomplish these principles, my alternative will be to create a much stronger Minister of Intergovernmental Affairs who will also be the Deputy Premier. That Minister will be responsible for all intergovernmental relations as well as all international relations. She or he will also chair a Cabinet Committee for Intergovernmental Affairs.

That Minister and that cabinet committee will have two overriding objectives.

First, it will support and coordinate the maintenance and enhancement of investor confidence in Alberta along with the Ministry of Finance and other economic portfolios. This will include:

  • Continue the Alberta advantage of controlled spending and low taxes.
  • Get off the resource revenue roller coaster, including examining ideas for hedging Alberta government revenues while resource prices are strong.
  • Continue to build investor confidence in Alberta, welcoming diverse business opportunities and addressing labour and materials supply issues.
  • Align our Alberta Ministries with a common key focus to grow economic development, diversification, and tell the world the story of opportunity in Alberta.
  • Build a strong and permanent trade presence with our major trading partners, including Alberta Offices across the United States and around the world.

Second it will support and coordinate the maintenance and enhancement of Alberta’s autonomy within Canada – with the goal of ensuring Albertans see more Alberta and less Ottawa. As part of that work it will undertake the following:

  • Lead the work with other provinces, especially Western provinces to create strategic partnerships / alliances as it relates to Energy, Environment, Infrastructure and Transportation.  This work must extend to relevant jurisdictions in the United States as well.
  • Explore opportunities where we have not fully exerted our jurisdictional rights in such areas as:
    - Immigration – Alberta should have, at a minimum, all of the control over immigration that any other province in Canada has.
    - Alberta Pension Plan – consult and promote the idea that Alberta could have the same benefits at the Canada Pension Plan but pay much lower premiums.
    - Alberta Provincial Police Services – We will engage our Alberta municipalities, respecting their experiences with policing and their needs for safe communities. We will review opportunities to replace the RCMP with a provincially-run police force to meet the security needs of Albertans. Municipality buy-in is essential before proceeding with any plans.
    - Energy and Environment – We will stand and build on our record as a global supplier of clean and politically stable energy, including work to establish an independent panel comprised of Indigenous groups, women, industry members and not for profit organizations to advance the Alberta energy value proposition. My first act will be to implement all the Principal Recommendations from the Alberta Coal Policy Committee.
    - Strengthen the provincial relationship with Alberta municipalities by giving them a larger voice at the provincial table and in discussions with the federal government.
  • Exerting Alberta’s interests in areas of federal jurisdiction
    - Equalization reform – take proactive steps to build inter-provincial coalitions for equalization reform along with a comprehensive Alberta first position.
    - A Seat at the Trade Table - Alberta will have a seat at the table for international trade negotiations.
    - Judicial Appointments – Alberta needs a definitive voice into federal judicial appointments, particularly Supreme Court appointments.
    - Bilingualism - Seek to eliminate the bilingualism requirement for Supreme Court Justices.  This new requirement discriminates against Canadians from many diverse backgrounds, particularly Indigenous Canadians.
    - Notwithstanding Clause - Establish a framework for the judicious use of Section 33, the Notwithstanding Clause, for issues where it is in Alberta’s interest to do so.
  • Establish a framework and liaison to work with Members of Parliament to advance Alberta’s interests, such as an annual joint Alberta Conservative Party of Canada Members of Parliament from Alberta and United Conservative Party of Alberta Members of the Legislative Assembly caucus retreat.

I know there is pain and anger in Alberta and I passionately share the desire to be a prosperous and more autonomous Alberta. We have had our share of fights with the federal government. Be assured, I will dig in and fight when needed! I will also seek serious and sensible solutions, not delusions. I believe in Alberta and our strength together.

I welcome your support. Vote Rajan.