Tuesday, June 29, 2021

History of referendums

In the Globe and Mail, constitutional scholar Eric Adams demolishes the constitutional pretentions behind Premier Jason Kenney's proposal to hold an Alberta referendum this fall on the alleged "unfairness"
of the federal government's equalization payments program. 

Mr. Kenney cites the Supreme Court of Canada decision in Reference re Secession of Quebec to argue that if a majority of Albertans vote to remove the principle of equalization from the Constitution, it would create a “binding obligation” on the Government of Canada “to negotiate that amendment with the province in good faith.”

“That’s the theory behind the referendum,” the Premier explained.

The theory is wrong.

Not just wrong, in fact, but so ludicrously wrong, so evidently offered in bad faith, as to expose the demagogic intent behind the Kenney government's wish to manufacture a populist mandate in order undermine the democratic and constitutional structures of Canadian governance. 

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