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A 'sovereignty act' for Alberta?

United Conservative Party leadership hopeful Danielle Smith says her proposed Alberta Sovereignty Act would help the province protect its interests. Critics say it’s unconstitutional and could cause economic chaos.
Former Wildrose Party leader Danielle Smith is running for leader of the United Conservative Party in Alberta. (Bill Graveland/The Canadian Press)

In Alberta, the centrepiece of United Conservative Party leadership hopeful Danielle Smith's campaign is a controversial proposal called the Alberta Sovereignty Act. Smith says the act would allow the Alberta legislature to choose not to enforce any federal law or court order it believed ran counter to its interests.

But many legal experts have decried the proposal as unconstitutional, and some critics — including members of her own party — have claimed that it would unleash economic chaos in the province. 

While Smith's proposal is new, resentment with Ottawa is not — and for decades, provincial politicians have been promising action to protect Alberta's interests from federal political intervention.

Today, we speak to the CBC's Jason Markusoff about the Alberta Sovereignty Act and the enduring appeal of that concept.

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