Premier Jim Prentice’s seemingly bland statement of helplessness, “I don’t know if much can be done at this point. This arrangement was put in place by previous governments” is either a lie, or shows an appalling ignorance of the law.
Ten years ago, the Supreme Court of Canada authoritatively resolved the issue of whether there are constitutional limits on the ability of legislature (federal or provincial) to enact retroactive legislation.
The court, in British Columbia versus Imperial Tobacco Canada Ltd (2005 SCC 49), held that (except in the area of criminal law) retroactive legislation can overturn settled expectations, even though sometimes perceived as unjust by those affected.
It ruled, clearly and unequivocally, that there is no constitutional impediment to retroactive legislation.
Therefore, there is nothing he can name preventing Prentice from eliminating the obscene windfalls, starting with the $873,00 no doubt eagerly anticipated by Yvonne Fritz, the $627,000 earmarked for Heather Forsyth, of course the half-million headed our own Mary Anne Jablonski’s way, and so on down the line.
Prentice would have us believe these MLAs have “a legal entitlement” — but omits the truth that they will cease to have it the moment he chooses to give the word; to say “enough is enough.” He has at his fingertips the power to retroactively legislate away all these millions in undeserved giveaways.
If he doesn’t, it will be all we ever need to know about the real Jim Prentice, and his real views of the PC “culture of entitlement” he so loudly bewails.
Roderick G. MacGregor