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LETTER: Call for equalization program review no surprise

A rebuttal to James Perras’ Letter: Be Careful What you wish for
BNV.19.11.12.MD Letter
Send a letter to the editor at letters@cochrane.greatwest.ca

Mr. Perras doesn’t understand is that the entire concept of equalization created serious disparities all across the country and particularly in Alberta, that continues to be penalized because of its energy resources. Statistics Canada provides full details of how much each province contributes and which provinces do nothing but reap the rewards. 

 

Here are the facts. In 2018, Alberta’s share of GDP was 15.5 per cent, of which 11 per cent was oil and gas revenue. In the years 2007-18, Alberta’s required total transfer payment to federal coffers totalled $239.847 billion, an average of $19.987 billion per year. Transfer payments received by Alberta; minuscule to none! 

 

During the same period, two other “have” provinces, B.C. and Ontario, each paid $54.7 billion and $97.9 billion respectively into national coffers. However, even though their required payments were less than that which Alberta paid, B.C. and Ontario received federal payments of $365 million and $18.5 billion respectively in return. 

The inequities of the Canadian Confederation’s equalization program are even more startling when one considers that during this same period from 2007-18, the rest of Canada’s provinces were negative contributors to the equalization program while the province of Quebec, the third largest contributor to Canada’s GDP with 19.7 per cent, contributed nothing to the equalization program while receiving federal payments of $107.6 billion! 

Is this not a reason to raise the hackles of Albertans? 

Furthermore, not withstanding the passing of Bills C-48 and C-69 by the Trudeau government, both of which have severely limited Alberta’s efforts to get it’s energy products to world markets, Alberta will continue to be required to pay more than any fair share of it’s GDP to the federal coffers. It’s no surprise thousands of Albertans have demanded a complete review of the equalization program.  

Having said this, I must say that Alberta’s referendum demanding a futile review of the equalization program was a total waste of time and resources. The reason is simple; no change to Canada’s 1982 constitution can be accomplished unless and until seven of the provinces with 50 per cent of the populations of those provinces (including the territories), approve such a change. 

I would ask Mr. Perras how many provinces would be willing to kill the golden goose and the annual robbery of Alberta? 

As always, if anyone including Mr. Perras, wishes to challenge my research I welcome the call.

L. Leugner, Cochrane