TERRAZZANO: Canada must take Alberta’s equalization grievances seriously

0

Content of the article

Alberta’s referendum on equalization is more than a vote on a federal program: it is an urgent and necessary conversation about a deep rift in Confederation. So far, Canada has ignored the problem and the gap has widened. Now, a yes referendum vote will push the federal and provincial governments to the negotiating table. So let’s talk about it.

Advertising

Content of the article

All Canadians have been battling the pandemic for a year and a half, but our friends on the Prairies have been struggling economically for more than six years.

The collapse in oil prices in 2014 rocked the Alberta economy.

As of March 2016, around 100,000 jobs in the oil fields had been lost. In 2018, hard times were still being felt around Alberta kitchen tables. Dwayne, an Alberta oil industry manager, shared a haunting story with a morning radio show in Calgary.

“I have to lay off 25% of my workforce right before Christmas,” Dwayne revealed in 2018. “I love my guys, but I have to lay off 25%. They come home to tell their wives that Christmas is over. We have took a pay cut in order to keep as many people employed as possible and today I have to break people’s hearts.

Advertising

Content of the article

“It’s the worst day of my life.”

Only a few months before the pandemic, economic difficulties were still being felt.

We apologize, but this video failed to load.

“Outside of the Calgary headquarters, taxis were lining up to bring people home as they went out with their belongings,” CBC reported following layoffs at Husky Energy in 2019.

Canadian politicians have made hard times more difficult.

During the Alberta downturn, the federal government rejected the Northern Gateway Pipeline, shifted Energy East regulatory targets, imposed a No More Pipelines law and a discriminatory tanker ban, and watched as the United States put it aside. end of the Keystone XL pipeline.

In British Columbia, politicians have pledged to “use all available tools” to block Alberta’s pipelines. In Quebec, Premier François Legault called Alberta oil “dirty energy” and said there was “no social acceptability” for another pipeline.

Advertising

Content of the article

Despite open hostility to Alberta’s economic engine, the Prairie province continued to be above its weight for Canada. Between 2015 and 2018, Alberta taxpayers paid the federal government $ 73 billion more than they received in spending. This year, equalization alone will cost an Alberta family of four $ 2,600.

We apologize, but this video failed to load.

On October 18, Albertans will vote in a provincial referendum on equalization. One of the goals of the referendum is to bring these legitimate grievances to kitchen tables from coast to coast. The way the federal government has treated Alberta is unfair and remedies are needed.

But there are other reasons the provinces are rethinking the status quo of equalization and natural resources.

Canada needs taxpayer-friendly means to revive its economy, such as removing barriers to the development of Canadian natural resources. Since 2014, $ 215 billion in Canadian resource projects have been blocked or canceled in part because of governments, according to Secondstreet.org. About $ 140 billion of that amount occurred outside of Alberta.

Advertising

Content of the article

A taxpayer-friendly recovery is certainly needed given the $ 1 trillion federal debt. Equalization continues to spill more ink on the country’s finances. When Equalization was introduced in 1957, it stood at $ 1.3 billion (2021 dollars). It now costs $ 21 billion, a 1,500 percent increase. Despite the massive increase in costs, is there any evidence that a province is fundamentally better off?

Equalization hurts the taxpayers of the provinces that receive the money because it allows politicians to rely on external taxpayer money and less on sound policies to grow their own economies. Even politicians receiving equalization, like Blaine Higgs and Legault from New Brunswick in Quebec, have recognized this perverse reality.

The Alberta referendum will fuel a much needed conversation about equalization and natural resource development. As with any troubled relationship, silence can only increase problems. It is in the interests of all provinces to start this conversation.

Franco Terrazzano is the Federal Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation.

Advertising

comments

Postmedia is committed to maintaining a lively but civil discussion forum and encourages all readers to share their views on our articles. Comments may take up to an hour of moderation before appearing on the site. We ask that you keep your comments relevant and respectful. We have enabled email notifications. You will now receive an email if you receive a reply to your comment, if there is an update to a comment thread that you follow, or if a user that you follow comments. Check out our community guidelines for more information and details on how to adjust your email settings.


Source link

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.