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Provincial Priorities Act will require approval for Alberta entities engaged in federal projects

Provincial Priorities Act will require approval for Alberta entities engaged in federal projects

EDMONTON – The Government of Alberta has introduced new legislation, The Provincial Priorities Act, 2024, requiring provincial entities to obtain approval before entering, amending, extending or renewing agreements with the federal government.

The new legislation will “support Alberta’s government in pushing back against the federal government’s ongoing overreach into areas of provincial jurisdiction. Alberta’s government will ensure federal funding is aligned with provincial priorities, rather than with priorities contrary to the province’s interests,” an Alberta government release said.

Under the Provincial Priorities Act, agreements between the federal government and provincial entities such as municipalities that have not received provincial approval would be invalid.

“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. We are not going to apologize for continuing to stand up for Albertans so we get the best deal possible,” Alberta Premier Danielle Smith said in a statement.

“Since 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 Municipalities (ABmunis) released a statement expressing disappointment with the proposed legislation.

“We cannot help but notice that the provincial government has pivoted from its original rationale. Initially, it said the legislation was intended to ensure Alberta receives its fair share of federal funding. Now, its justification is that the legislation will ensure federal funding aligns with provincial priorities. Yet again, the provincial government did not consult or communicate with our association on legislative changes that, if introduced, would profoundly affect the way municipalities work,” ABmunis president Tyler Gandam said.

“Albertans are tired and frustrated with all the inter-jurisdictional squabbling between the provincial and federal governments at a time when communities are facing numerous serious issues – things like inadequate local infrastructure funding, a shortage of affordable housing, sharp increases to cost of living, and a health-care crisis.”

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