Skip to content

LETTER: Be careful what you wish for with the equalization vote

This UCP red meat distraction was on the ballot with little or no explanation of the implications of a yes vote
cochrane-opinion

I found myself quite disappointed that the electorate of Alberta, except Edmonton, voted in favour of doing away with equalization as part of the constitution. 

This UCP red meat distraction was on the ballot with little or no explanation of the implications of a yes vote. It was politically presented as a revenue grab by those ungrateful Easterners when in fact no such action took place. 

First, if your income is $100,000 per year you pay the same amount of tax to the federal government no matter which province you live. Secondly, the reason Albertans pay so much income to the federal government is because (the last time I checked) the median household income in Alberta ($93,000) is the highest in Canada, exceeding the next highest in Saskatchewan by almost $15,000 per year (excluding the territories). Third, from this pot of cash money is distributed to provinces so that the level of services is approximately the same no matter where you are in the country.

How quick we are to forget that food flowed from the Maritimes to Alberta in the dirty thirties. This is what equalization is all about in principle. Are there problems with the equalization formula? That's a question people should ask Jason Kenny as he was one of the architects of the present formula.

Finally, bringing this issue down to the provincial level the two major income producers for provincial tax revenue are Calgary and Edmonton. What would happen if these two population centres decided that they did not want to share their wealth with the rural areas of Alberta, including Cochrane? How would rural Albertans vote on a question of provincial equalization? Beware of what you wish for.

James Perras