Did you know that Alberta has a Constitution? If not, you are in the vast majority. Part of the reason is probably that the constitution is unwritten. In fact, no-one has a copy, and no-one really knows what is in the Alberta constitution.
Apparently, such things as legislation, proclamations, court decisions and conventions (meaning that’s how we have always done things) are all included.
Nearly all countries have a written constitution codified in a single document. Most subnational jurisdictions in other countries (such as provinces) also have written constitutions.
In the Westminster tradition; Britain, Canada and New Zealand have unwritten constitutions.
Although Alberta is subject to the Constitution of Canada that too is unwritten and consists of numerous documents.
Should a Constitution be a public document or a private document? I would argue that it should at least exist in some form.
The first step is to put together a draft document for us all to see.
In order for any club, organization, or any politically organized entity to have some common purpose, there needs to be a clear understanding of what that organization is all about.
Many organizations have a constitution and a written mission statement to help provide direction.
It would seem that the provincial government at any time can add to the Constitution of Alberta by inserting a clause in any piece of legislation.
If there are no stated foundational principles in a constitution, then amendments or additions or deletions (if possible) to the Constitution may not be consistent or serve a common purpose.
We can do better. Albertans have an identity and sense of purpose that should be recognized, known to everyone and celebrated.
The Premier’s directions to the Fair Deal Panel included: “We will ask the panel to advise us on the wisdom of establishing a formalized Alberta Provincial Constitution.”
This is a good first step.
Hopefully, transparency will triumph over secrecy.