Alberta to require provincial permission before municipalities and other provincial entities cut deals with feds

by Staff

Provincial entities looking for federal funding will need provincial approval before entering, amending, extending or renewing agreements with the federal government. 

The UCP says its Provincial Priorities Act, 2024 will support the province’s pushing back against what it says is the federal government’s ongoing overreach into areas of provincial jurisdiction. 

The government says the Act would ensure federal funding is aligned with provincial priorities rather than those contrary to the province’s interests. 

Agreements between the feds and provincial entities, including municipalities, would be invalid if provincial approval is not granted. Under the Act, provincial entities include Alberta public agencies and Crown-controlled organizations, public post-secondary institutions, school boards, regional health authorities, Covenant Health, municipal authorities and housing management bodies.

The UCP government cited the federal government’s “unrelenting and ideological push toward electric buses” in Canadian cities, including Calgary, in light of significant problems in Alberta’s climate as an example of the need for the Act.  

“It is not unreasonable for Alberta to demand fairness from Ottawa. They have shown time and again that they will put ideology before practicality, which hurts Alberta families and our economy,” said Premier Danielle Smith in a media release Wednesday. “We are not going to apologize for continuing to stand up for Albertans so we get the best deal possibleSince Ottawa refuses to acknowledge the negative impacts of its overreach, even after losing battles at the Federal and Supreme Courts, we are putting in additional measures to protect our provincial jurisdiction to ensure our province receives our fair share of federal tax dollars and that those dollars are spent on the priorities of Albertans.”

Alberta’s NDP Opposition was quick to criticize the new legislation, with NDP Leader Rachel Notley stating that it would create a giant spool of red tape for municipalities, post-secondary institutions, and health authorities.

“Danielle Smith’s government has neglected the municipalities that deliver critical services and build needed housing and infrastructure,” Notley said. “For her to be playing petulant partisan games is not securing Albertans their share of federal dollars.

Notley went on to say the Act would make things more expensive for Albertans in need of critical infrastructure investments, leaving funds on the table in Ottawa.

Alberta’s Minister of Municipal Affairs, Ric McIver, said the federal government has been imposing its agenda on Alberta taxpayers through direct funding agreements with cities and other provincial organizations for years.

“Not only does Alberta not receive its per capita share of federal taxpayer dollars, the money we do receive is often directed towards initiatives that don’t align with Albertan’s priorities,” McIver said. “Albertans from all corners of the province expect our federal share of taxes for roads, infrastructure, housing and other priorities – not federal government political pet projects and programs in select communities.”

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