On Tuesday, October 26th, eight days after Albertans went to the polls in the province-wide municipal election, the results of the referendum questions, including daylight savings time, and the Senate nominees have been tabulated.
With regards to the question on Albertans' ballots: Should section 36(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982 – Parliament and the government of Canada’s commitment to the principle of making equalization payments – be removed from the constitution?
Electors could vote “yes” or “no” on the question.
The Chief Electoral Officer has announced the following results for the referendum:
- “Yes” – 642,501 votes, representing 61.7% of valid ballots cast
- “No” – 399,169 votes, representing 38.3% of valid ballots cast
On Tuesday, Premier Jason Kenney discussed the result of the referendum.
"Later today, I will be tabling a motion in the Legislative Assembly to ratify these results, which, if passed, will formally initiate a constitutional amendment negotiation," Premier Kenney said, "In other words, 62 per cent of Albertans are demanding a fair deal in the Canadian Federation that received majority support in virtually every region of the province: in large urban centers in mid-sized cities and in small rural communities."
Kenney also underlined that Alberta's taxpayers, through their federal taxes, have contributed over 630 billion dollars net more to the rest of the country than they received back in federal benefits and transfers since the mid-1960s.
"I believe Albertans are big Canadians, generous Canadians. And in many ways, Alberta is the most Canadian of the 10 provinces because of the huge migration to this province," he said. "From across the country from Newfoundland to British Columbia. Hundreds of thousands of Canadians have come to Alberta to work hard and to pursue opportunities; to be part of our opportunity society."
However, it is important to remember that the referendum question about equalization is a constitutional question, and the vote is only binding on a provincial level.
In other words, this question will not spur the federal government to amend the Constitution Act, 1982. In order for a constitutional amendment to take place, both the federal and provincial governments must enter into talks about the proposed changes. To remove or amend the Constitution, the federal government and the other provinces and territories would need to enter into discussions about the proposed change.
According to the Center for Constitutional Studies, "To change the Constitution using the general formula, the change needs to be approved by 1) the federal Parliament, 2) the Senate, and 3) a minimum number of provincial legislatures. There must be at least seven provinces that approve the change, representing at least 50% of Canada’s population."
During a press conference on October 21st, 2021, Prime Minister Trudeau dismissed the idea of equalization in Canada.
"To eliminate equalization, which is what’s proposed in Jason Kenny’s referendum, is something that cannot be done by the federal government,” Trudeau told reporters.
Senatorial candidates chosen by Albertans were the three that received the highest number of votes:
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