So, did Albertans vote in favour of Daylight Saving Time?
It very nearly was a 50/50 split, with 50.2 per cent of Albertans saying no to the referendum question on the ballot during last week’s municipal elections.
Those in Alberta took to the polls Oct. 18 to cast their municipal vote along with their vote when it comes to two referendum questions.
With more than 535,000 Albertans voting to keep with the status quo of Daylight Saving Time, the vote had a differential margin of 2,834.
That means Alberta will continue to fall back and spring forward their clocks.
When it comes to if the Alberta government should ask the federal government to remove Section 36(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982 — it was a resounding “yes.”
More than 640,000 Albertans — 61.7 per cent — voted in favour of the question. Just under 400,000 Albertans voted “no.”
“This is a powerful statement today,” the premier said.
“A democratic state, where Albertans are demanding to be respected. You’re demanding that the jurisdiction of this province under the Canadian Constitution be respected and demanding that we’d be able to develop this economy and responsibly develop our resources so that yes, the rest of Canada can continue to benefit from Alberta’s future prosperity.”
Kenney went on to say later Tuesday he’ll be making a motion in the legislature to ratify the referendum results and to initiate the amendment process.
The path forward on equalization not clear
Kenney has said while the vote was about removing equalization, he actually wants to use it as leverage to address all federal transfers that he feels are unfair to Alberta.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said last week that Kenney knows the federal government can’t unilaterally change the Constitution.
Trudeau said it can only be done with “significant consensus” involving Ottawa working with seven provinces or territories representing more than 50 per cent of the population.
He also questioned why Kenney was campaigning against an equalization program that was last tweaked by a federal Conservative cabinet that included Kenney.
Federal Intergovernmental Affairs Minister Dominic LeBlanc was asked Tuesday about Alberta’s referendum results on the question of equalization.
“I think Premier Kenney knows very well that changing the equalization formula is a constitutional conversation,” he said.
“Canadians want their governments to focus collaboratively on working together in the fight against COVID-19. That’s something that I have had the privilege to do with Premier Kenney and his government in the past, as Intergovernmental Affairs minister (and) I look forward to doing that work.
“The premier decided to ask a non-binding question on a municipal election in Alberta about an equalization formula in which he was one of the authors when he was a minister in Mr. (Stephen) Harper’s government, so I think you should ask him what he thought could be achieved by that particular referendum question,” LeBlanc said.
Equalization sees some tax money collected by the federal government redistributed from wealthier provinces to lower-income ones to ensure a basic level of service for all.
Kenney has said Alberta has concerns over billions of dollars its residents pay, while provinces such as British Columbia and Quebec obstruct oil and pipeline projects that underpin that wealth.
Alberta estimates it pays $20 billion a year to the equalization program. It has rarely been a net beneficiary of equalization since the program was created in 1957.
Senate nominees chosen
Also on the ballot were choices for potential Senate candidates.
All three Conservative Party candidates were voted for.
- Pam Davidson, Conservative Party of Canada
- Erika Barootes, Conservative Party of Canada
- Mykhailo Martyniouk, Conservative Party of Canada
Those in Calgary also voted in favour of introducing fluoride back into their water system.
— With files from Dean Bennett, The Canadian Press