The Province of Alberta is drawing the line in the sand when it comes to what is sees as a continuous overreach by the federal government.
Minister of Municipal Affairs, Ric McIver, has sounded the alarm over what he perceives as a growing trend of federal intrusion into provincial jurisdictions, particularly in matters concerning municipal affairs.
In a strongly-worded statement released Monday Morning, McIver expressed concern about the federal government's intentions to engage directly with municipalities, bypassing the authority of provincial governments.
"I am concerned about the repeated public comments from the federal government and federal Minister of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities Sean Fraser indicating they will continue to deal directly with municipalities," McIver stated.
Highlighting a recent incident where Minister Fraser hinted at federal involvement in decisions related to short-term housing, McIver labelled it as the "federal government's latest attempt to bypass Alberta and other provincial governments and overstep their authority."
Earlier this month, at the first ministers meeting in Halifax Premiers from across Canada called on the federal government to work with municipalities and stop circumventing provinces in housing discussions.
Premier Danielle Smith said at the press conference in Halifax that provinces may need to take a page out of Quebec's playbook and pass legislation that would force the federal government to work with the province rather than the municipalities, "It seems to be working for Quebec. They have a Law M-30 that requires the federal government to negotiate with (the province) directly rather than through the municipalities.
"We will be looking at that in our Province," Smith Added. "If defending our jurisdiction means passing legislation similar to Quebec assists us in being able to get fair treatment then that's what we're going to do."
McIver in the press release said that the province is ready to defend it's jurisdictional rights, "Our government intends to protect and ensure Alberta’s constitutional right to oversee the governance of Alberta’s municipalities. We will continue to stand up for our constitutional jurisdiction while also making sure that we can work with our municipalities to get the best deal from the federal government."
Feds Don't Plan to Slow Down
In Ottawa Monday morning, Sean Fraser the Federal Minster of Housing, Infrastructure and Communities highlighted more than $4.1-billion in federal investments to build almost 12,000 purpose-built rental units across 73 projects in Canada.
"We need to boost housing supply and this is why we are making strategic investments through programs like the Rental Construction Financing Initiative to build much-needed rental units across the country.
"The projects announced last week across Canada are a huge step forward in addressing the housing crunch faced by Canadians and will bring nearly 12,000 homes to our cities," Fraser said. One of those projects was in Calgary, Alberta.
Speaking to reporters on parliaments Hill earlier this month, Fraser said that he wasn't going to stop working with municipalities to get housing built, "I have no appetite to slow down when it comes to building homes during a housing crisis."
He said that the fund that the federal government is supplying municipalities is working and he will not be taking it off the table, "The fund is working and it's working more effectively than I think most people expected it would. When we have a useful tool that's proving itself as an effective way to get more homes built, there's no good argument - in my view - to take that tool off the table."
Fraser added that most premiers have his phone numbers and has worked with his counterparts across Canada on this file, adding, "I see no reasonable excuse to not work with municipalities if we are actually achieving progress."