In a candid and assertive interview today, Alberta Premier Danielle Smith discussed the province’s stance on federal overreach, introducing the groundbreaking Alberta Sovereignty within a United Canada Act. Host Bruce McAllister delved into the premier’s message to Ottawa and her upcoming appearance at COP 28.
The interview kicked off with Premier Smith expressing frustration over the federal government’s reluctance to collaborate on aligning with Alberta’s 2050 carbon neutrality target. Despite positive strides in hydrogen and geothermal projects, she pointed out Environment and Climate Change of Canada Stephen Guilbeault’s resistance to cooperation, leading to two court decisions admonishing federal overreach.
Premier Smith explained the purpose of the Alberta Sovereignty Act, emphasizing the province’s commitment to defending against federal clean energy regulations. She highlighted the Act’s role in providing a framework for new policies, resolutions, and potential legislation to counter federal interference in provincial matters.
Addressing concerns about future brownouts and blackouts, Premier Smith outlined the potential scenarios based on the federal government’s response to Alberta’s requests for collaboration. If the private sector hesitates due to federal regulations, Alberta is prepared to become the generator of last resort, ensuring a stable power supply while awaiting new projects.
As for the resolution, Premier Smith made it clear that Alberta has put everyone on notice, signaling its readiness to take necessary actions to protect its interests and the well-being of its citizens.
The conversation shifted to Ottawa’s response to provincial concerns, with Premier Smith noting that Alberta is not a subordinate level of government but an equal partner. Urging Ottawa to listen to the courts, she emphasized the importance of working collaboratively in areas where federal and provincial powers overlap.
With the UN Climate Change Conference on the horizon, Premier Smith expressed hope for a cohesive message between federal and provincial governments to attract green technology investments. Despite potential disagreements, she highlighted Alberta’s achievements in emissions reduction and emphasized the need for a unified front on reaching targets by 2050.
On a positive note, Premier Smith discussed Dell Chemicals’ massive investment in Alberta’s petrochemical sector, emphasizing job creation, carbon-neutral initiatives, and the alignment of provincial and federal efforts. The premier credited collaboration among different levels of government and a supportive environment for attracting such investments.
Navigating through Alberta’s fiscal landscape, Premier Danielle Smith openly acknowledged the financial hurdles inherited from the previous government. Under the NDP’s tenure, the province accrued significant debt, reaching tens of billions of dollars, and now faces the substantial task of refinancing $26 billion at double the interest rates over the next three years. Premier Smith, in addressing this fiscal challenge, underscored the imperative of fiscal responsibility. She emphasized the need for prudent financial management to guide the province through this demanding period. The premier emphasized that maintaining surpluses is crucial, not only for efficient debt repayment but also for securing ongoing economic stability for Alberta.
As Premier Smith prepares for COP 28, Albertans await updates on the province’s stance and initiatives on the global stage. The interview sheds light on Alberta’s resilience, determination, and commitment to asserting its autonomy within the Canadian federation.