Fraser Institute News Release: Any province—including Alberta—has ability to mandate constitutional negotiations on equalization, other issues

Fraser Institute News Release: Any province—including Alberta—has ability to mandate constitutional negotiations on equalization, other issues

CALGARY, Alberta, Jan. 28, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Despite popular misconceptions, particularly in Central Canada, Alberta (or any province) can compel other provinces and the federal government to negotiate aspects of the Constitution including equalization—but they must do it the right way, finds a new essay released today by the Fraser Institute, an independent, non-partisan Canadian public policy think-tank.
“If Alberta charts the correct course, it can bring otherwise reluctant governments to the table to discuss fiscal federalism,” said Rainer Knopff, professor emeritus of political science at the University of Calgary, Fraser Institute senior fellow and author of the essay Refining Alberta’s Equalization Gambit.The Alberta government is considering a provincial referendum to support removing equalization from the constitution. According to a 1998 Supreme Court judgment (known as the Secession Reference in a case about Quebec separation), provincial referendums can trigger the “duty to negotiate”—but only when the question concerns secession.However, Knopff ‘s essay demonstrates that the Court also provides an alternative trigger for this duty; one that applies to any amendment initiated in the manner prescribed by the Constitution Act, 1982—that is, by legislative “resolution.”The essay argues that while Alberta can still hold a provincial referendum, it must be followed by a legislative resolution, which would trigger the duty to negotiate.“If other modes of political negotiation do not suffice, there’s a clear path for Alberta to launch formal discussion about the state of federal-provincial transfers,” Knopff said. MEDIA CONTACT:
Rainer Knopff, Senior Fellow, Fraser Institute
To arrange media interviews or for more information, please contact:
Mark Hasiuk, 604-688-0221 ext. 517, mark.hasiuk@fraserinstitute.org
Follow the Fraser Institute on Twitter  |  Like us on FacebookThe Fraser Institute is an independent Canadian public policy research and educational organization with offices in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal and ties to a global network of think-tanks in 87 countries. Its mission is to improve the quality of life for Canadians, their families and future generations by studying, measuring and broadly communicating the effects of government policies, entrepreneurship and choice on their well-being. To protect the Institute’s independence, it does not accept grants from governments or contracts for research. Visit www.fraserinstitute.org
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