It’s Time For Alberta – And Every Other Province – To Unilaterally Amend Canada’s Constitution

If Quebec can do it, everyone can, right?

When Quebec proposed unilaterally amending the Constitution in Bill 96, many assumed it was simply an aggressive assertion of power, rather than something that would actually take place.

But, what Quebec wants, Quebec seems to get.

And now, Justin Trudeau has said Quebec can indeed unilaterally amend the constitution:

“Trudeau says govt’s initial assessment is that Quebec can unilaterally amend the constitution as @francoislegault proposes in #bill96”

So, just like that, Quebec appears closer to having the power to change the constitution, without the input of any other province.

As you can imagine, this is generating outrage:

“Let’s start making amendments for the western provinces while we’re at it.”


“If any province can unilaterally call itself a nation, a distinct society, paradise on Earth, or anything else it can dream up, then it is absolutely meaningless. #cdnpoli”

“In my happiest dreams,@PremierScottMoe calls a conference of Western Premiers to fully explore the idea of re-confederating into something better in the Land of Spring. Canada has no sense of itself, certainly not in the way we do. Maybe Ontario would join.”

“It means separatism talk is back on the stage, and okay by the PM.

About to hear crickets from the people who were trying to talk about “Alberta separatism” as if it was a real issue. Quebec gov is anti Canada, and so is PM Trudeau.

Canada should never have a Quebec PM again.”

While Trudeau’s instant surrender isn’t a surprise, I don’t think it makes sense to direct anger at Quebec here.

After all, Quebec is simply ruthlessly asserting their own power, and criticism should instead be directed at provincial leaders who fail to do so:

“It’s funny how Quebec dominates the country by ignoring everything that is supposed to be ‘politically correct.’ They call themselves nationalists, cut immigration, defend their history, and are unafraid to demand immense power. And it works like a charm.”

“There’s a big lesson here for Conservatives. The more you give in to political correctness, the more you play into the Liberal frame and weaken yourselves. Strength and a willingness to actually assert your beliefs is essential.”

“Instead of criticizing Quebec for demanding the power to unilaterally change the constitution, criticize every other provincial leader who fails to aggressively assert the interests of their province. Why are almost all of our politicians so weak?”

Every province should do the same

If Quebec can unilaterally amend the constitution, it’s time for every province to do the same thing.

If Justin Trudeau wants a constitutional free-for-all, then let’s have at it.

Michelle Rempel Garner summed it up well on Twitter:

“So……by the same token, Alberta should be able to unilaterally amend Section 36 of the Constitution Act?”

“I mean if we’re going to play this game let’s do it up right.”

For reference, here is Section 36:

Equalization and Regional Disparities

Commitment to promote equal opportunities

36 (1) Without altering the legislative authority of Parliament or of the provincial legislatures, or the rights of any of them with respect to the exercise of their legislative authority, Parliament and the legislatures, together with the government of Canada and the provincial governments, are committed to

(a) promoting equal opportunities for the well-being of Canadians;

(b) furthering economic development to reduce disparity in opportunities; and

(c) providing essential public services of reasonable quality to all Canadians.

Commitment respecting public services

(2) Parliament and the government of Canada are committed to the principle of making equalization payments to ensure that provincial governments have sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.

Alberta should unilaterally amend the constitution

The equalization formula has treated Alberta brutally, with the province having immense amounts of wealth extracted and given to other provinces – like Quebec – even when Alberta is struggling.

It also incentivizes overspending and inefficient economies, as the strong are punished so that weak economies can be sustained – rather than incentivizing weak economies to become stronger.

It is the definition of a ‘rigged system.’

Alberta would benefit from the formula changing, or the system being scrapped entirely.

And, it would be solely a decision by Alberta to stop paying, right?

That wouldn’t be changing laws in any other part of the country.

So, just as Quebec seeks the unilateral power to change language laws in that province (thus amending the constitution), Alberta should have the power to unilaterally amend Section 36 and stop paying into equalization.

Further, Alberta shouldn’t have to consult on issues such as creating a provincial police force to replace the RCMP, and shouldn’t have to consult on getting rid of the Canada Pension Plan and replacing it with a made-in-Alberta alternative, they should just go ahead and do it.

Also, every province should have the power to control their own immigration levels.

Why not?

If this is what Quebec gets to do, then Alberta and every other province should get to do the same.

No, I’m not joking

If you’re reading this and thinking this is hyperbole, it’s important to realize that I am not joking here.

If Quebec can unilaterally change the constitution, and if Trudeau is willing to give in so quickly, then Alberta and every other province must start doing the same.

In fact, every provincial leader must immediately start to propose unilateral amendments, otherwise the question must be asked why they are so much weaker than Quebec’s leaders?

Separatism surge

With separatism already rising in Alberta and other parts of the West amid a rigged equalization system and a federal government that is hostile to Western Canadian energy (while glad to bring in more foreign energy imports), this quick surrender to Quebec on amending the constitution will lead to a further rise in separatist sentiment.

At this point, the only way Canada can be sustained is for each province to aggressively assert their own interests just as Quebec does.

And, if Trudeau is willing to let Quebec amend the constitution while rejecting the same push from Western provinces, that will clarify the true nature of Canada even more, giving people the information they need to make a decisive decision about the path forward.

Spencer Fernando

Photo – Twitter


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