For the federal Trudeau government, stacking the deck against Alberta has become a national pastime.
This week we learned that Ottawa’s flawed equalization program will continue increasing payouts to Quebec in 2019, while Alberta gets snubbed once again. It doesn’t matter that the Province of Quebec has run successive budget surpluses, or that Alberta’s structural deficits continue. Nor does it matter that Alberta has endured a once-in-a-generation recession, and that our debt in on a fast track towards $100 billion. Under the flawed equalization formula, Alberta continues to pay in, while Quebec stands to collect an additional $1.4 billion.
The intended purpose of the equalization program was to ensure that all provinces could provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation. However, over time, the formula has been altered to punish provinces that choose to develop natural resources and keep taxes low, policies that encourage economic growth, private sector job creation, and higher pay for workers.
The record shows that Albertans have been more than generous with our fellow Canadians. Since equalization was created, Alberta has received 0.02 per cent of all payments, the last of which was in 1964-1965. In contrast, Quebec has received equalization money every year of the program, totalling $221 billion, or 51 per cent of all payments.
So what are we getting for our generosity?
In the span of past few years, our federal government has used reams of bureaucratic red tape to stack the deck against our oil industry, effectively land-locking Alberta’s oil.
These efforts have been bolstered by the Provinces of British Columbia and Quebec, which continue to wage all-out war against pipelines. Just this week, for example, Quebec’s Premier told the national media that, “there is no social acceptability for oil in Quebec.”
In an effort to rectify this situation, earlier this year our Official Opposition drafted a motion asking the Notley administration to stand up for Alberta in equalization negotiations. The NDP voted it down and Trudeau chose renew the equalization formula without changes. It’s not fair, it’s not right, but it’s what we’ve come to expect from the Trudeau Liberals.
What should be shocking to every Albertan is the NDP government’s complete disinterest in defending our province. As we have seen on other issues, like the “no more pipelines” Bill C-69, and the carbon tax, Premier Notley continues to march in lockstep with Trudeau.
Albertans deserve a government that will speak up our province every day, not just when it’s convenient for Trudeau.
Standing up for Alberta isn’t a part time job. It’s time we had a full-time Premier.
For more information, contact: Constituency Office, 117 Centre St. Sundre, AB T0M 1X0, Phone 403-638-5029, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org.