Sask. Premier Moe to release policy paper discussing options to 'protect' from 'federal intrusion'

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is set to release a policy paper next week focusing on the impact of federal policies on the province and how to "protect" against "federal intrusion" into provincial jurisdiction.

Moe to speak with new UCP Leader and Alberta premier-designate on Friday

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe plans to release a policy paper on Tuesday aimed at the impact of federal policies on the province. (Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press)

Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe is set to release a policy paper next week focusing on the impact of federal policies on the province and how to "protect" against "federal intrusion" into provincial jurisdiction.

"Premier Moe will be releasing a policy paper next Tuesday which will outline the harmful economic impact of various federal policies on Saskatchewan, as well as options for next steps to protect Saskatchewan people, jobs and businesses from this federal intrusion into areas of exclusive provincial jurisdiction under the Constitution," said Moe's press secretary Julie Leggott on Friday.

"Legislation to clarify and defend Saskatchewan's constitutional authority is one such option."

Moe's announcement will come on the heels of Danielle Smith being elected United Conservative Party leader and Alberta's premier-designate.

Smith had campaigned on an Alberta Sovereignty Act, which she said would allow the Alberta legislature to ignore court rulings that find the province in violation of Canada's Constitution by not enforcing federal legislation. 

UCP caucus members were divided on the idea.

Travis Toews, who finished second to Smith in the leadership race and was the finance minister before entering the race, did not agree with the policy.

"It will create chaos within this business environment. It will send tens of billions of dollars packing out of this province. It will undo all of the gains that we've made in the last three years," Toews said during the campaign. 

Regarding Smith's proposed Act, Leggott said, "Premier Moe appreciates and understands the reasons why that legislation is pursued."

Last month, Alberta Premier Jason Kenney was critical of Smith's proposal, saying it would scare off international investment.

"They're interested in political stability, not political chaos. They're interested in a jurisdiction that respects the rule of law and the authority of the courts," Kenney said.

"Not one that thumbs its nose, banana republic-style, at those foundational principles."

Danielle Smith waves to the crowd.
Danielle Smith waves to UCP delegates after being chosen as the new leader of the United Conservative Party and next Alberta premier in Calgary on Thursday. (Jeff McIntosh/The Canadian Press)

Moe congratulated Smith on social media Thursday night.

"I look forward to working alongside you as we advance the priorities of Western Canada."

Leggott said Moe and Smith were scheduled to talk on Friday afternoon.

Smith, like Moe, focused on Ottawa

During her victory speech Thursday night, Smith sent a warning to the federal government.

"No longer will Alberta ask permission from Ottawa to be prosperous and free. We will not have our voices silenced or censored," Smith said.

"We will not have our resources landlocked or our energy phased out of existence by virtue-signaling prime ministers."

Moe's speech after winning the Saskatchewan Party leadership in 2018 featured a promise to fight the Liberal government's carbon tax.

"Justin Trudeau, if you're wondering how far I'll go: Just watch me," Moe said, borrowing a phrase made famous by Trudeau's father Pierre.

The Saskatchewan government, along with Alberta and Ontario, challenged the carbon pricing policy and Ottawa's jurisdiction all the way to the Supreme Court, which upheld the federal law in a 6-3 decision.

During her campaign, Smith vowed to attempt another challenge of the policy.

"I've been talking to lawyers who have said that with new information you're allowed to re-litigate," she told the Calgary Eyeopener on Tuesday.

"We have new information. We have a war in Ukraine. We have a world global increase in prices. We have global instability. We have an affordability crisis."

Federal Minister of Natural Resources Johnathan Wilkinson said the case is closed.

"It's been settled quite decisively at the Supreme Court. I am not a lawyer, but I think, certainly, if you ask any lawyers, they would tell you that the threshold to get the Supreme Court to rehear a case that they just decided is very high."

When asked about the possibility of mounting a new challenge to the carbon tax, Moe's press secretary said it is not currently being discussed.

"Saskatchewan will always look for ways to work with other provinces when interests and priorities align. No consideration has been given to any potential lawsuits that Alberta may pursue in the future."

In recent months, Saskatchewan's government has voiced opposition to the federal government's jurisdiction in a variety of areas including immigration, water testing and a firearms buyback.

This week, Moe co-signed a letter to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Joe Biden to call for land border crossings to return to pre-pandemic hours of operation. Kenney, Manitoba Premier Heather Stefanson, and the governors of Montana and North Dakota were the other leaders to sign.

Moe and members of his caucus have also spent the summer hosting 'in-house' meetings on provincial autonomy.

Moe asked Allan Kerpan, a former Saskatchewan Party MLA and former MP who recently was a part of the Wexit movement, to co-host the meetings.

Kerpan and veteran Sask. Party MLA Lyle Stewart (Thunder Creek) were chosen by Moe to lead the closed-door meetings.

In July, Kerpan told CBC he was "not looking for Confederation to really change," but said Saskatchewan and all other provinces "could all be a nation within a nation." 

In October 2021, the Saskatchewan throne speech indicated Moe's government wants to "build a stronger, more independent Saskatchewan within Confederation."

Days later, Moe said his government was "not talking about separation. We are talking about being a Saskatchewan cultural identity within the nation of Canada — but being a nation within a nation."

LISTEN | The Morning Edition's political panel discusses the open letter Moe and other leaders sent regarding border crossing hours:

Saskatchewan is once again at odds with the federal government, this time over hours of operation at the international border. What's behind its latest beef? CBC Saskatchewan provincial affairs reporter Adam Hunter and Leader Post columnist Murray Mandryk join host Stefani Langenegger to discuss.

with files from Kyle Bakx and Michelle Bellefontaine