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Canada's provinces increase their challenges to Ottawa

Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Significance

Tensions between Ottawa and some provincial governments have been mounting in recent months. Alberta’s Sovereignty Act and Quebec’s ending of a parliamentary oath of allegiance to the British monarch have taken the headlines but more serious conflicts over healthcare costs may lie ahead.

Impacts

  • Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will come under increasing pressure to compromise with provinces on funding health expenditure.
  • The Supreme Court will rule on the Alberta Sovereignty Act before the end of 2024, and almost certainly deem it unconstitutional.
  • If the NDP wins Alberta’s May elections it will revoke the Alberta Sovereignty Act, easing tensions with Ottawa.
  • Premiers Doug Ford and Francois Legault, both recently re-elected, may well outlast Trudeau in office.
  • Trudeau appears reluctant to challenge provincial legislation which would effectively change the Constitution.

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