On Wednesday, the House of Commons voted on a motion that has garnered a fair amount of attention. The non-binding motion put forward by the Bloc Québécois dealt with concerns related to a province's ability to amend its own constitution through Section 45 of Canada's Constitution. After much consideration and discussion over the last number of days on this, Conservatives voted in favour of respecting provincial jurisdiction and a province's right to bring forward issues that are important to their region.
Much discussion has taken place over the last number of weeks on the ability of a province to amend its constitution. The fact is any province can—within limits. There are a series of provisions within the Constitution that layout different criteria for amendments. In this case, Section 45 of the Constitution Act of 1982 makes it clear that provinces can amend their provincial constitution within the areas that are fully provincial jurisdiction by an act of a provincial legislature. This has been done before not only in Quebec, but in Alberta and most other provinces throughout our history.
I know there will be those across the country who will try to conflate this into something it's not. I'd like to take this opportunity to explain some misconceptions. First, this motion does not deal with the Quebec provincial Bill 96 as many have suggested it does. Second, it does not change anything in Canadian law regarding the Constitution, or Quebec's—or any other province's—status in the federation, but emphasizes that provinces can, in fact, amend aspects of their constitution. And third, it recognizes the fact that French has been the common language since 1608 in Québec.
I respect that Québec is using the tools at its disposal included in Canada's constitutional framework to do what it feels is in its best interest. That's the job of any provincial government.
Whether I personally agree or disagree with legislation being dealt with before Quebec's National Assembly is irrelevant to this issue and not addressed in this motion. As a proud Albertan and a Member of Parliament from Alberta, I have and will continue to make clear that regional respect is a keystone of how our federation operates. This includes the ability for Alberta to stand up for our interests, and in this, I encouraged my provincial colleagues in the Alberta Legislature to use the tools they have to stand up for Alberta's best interests. They are already taking steps in this as we have seen with the provincial Fair Deal Panel and I am sure we will hear more about this in the months to come.
This debate has made something very clear; an attitude shift is needed across our country for Canada to operate as a federation that respects regional differences the way it was intended to. Separatist movements, regional alienation, and erosion of national unity are symptoms of the larger problem. Self-serving, left-leaning politicians have put their narrow personal and electoral interests above our nation's best interests. The Liberals, NDP, Greens, and Bloc are trying to impose their divisive ideological will on the country. They play politics by pitting region against region—like the Bloc have tried to do with this motion.
We have seen this strategy used by Prime Minister Trudeau and the Liberals time and time again—in refusing to renegotiate the equalization formula, enacting Bills C-48 and C-69, and shutting down pipelines. Change is needed but treating a symptom doesn't fix the problem. The way we fix the problem is by electing a Conservative government that respects our country, its regions, and the way Canada was intended to operate.
Conservatives supported this motion and we are continuing to take a clear stand that we respect provincial jurisdiction and are committed to ensuring that respect is clear across Canada.
Damien Kurek is a Conservative Member of Parliament from Battle River-Crowfoot in rural Alberta. In his first run for office in 2019, he has the distinction of winning his seat by the largest margin in the country. Damien is from a small town with a farming and energy background. Follow him on social media @dckurek.
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