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Archive for 'equalization'

Quebec Tuition: Between a Rock and Hard Place?

In the context of student protests over Quebec tuition fees, my friend Luan Ngo has just written a very informative blog post on Quebec’s fiscal situation. While I encourage readers to read his full post, I do want to use the present space to make mention of three important points he makes: -On a per […]

Wall Strikes Out on Fiscal Federalism

Saskatchewan’s Brad Wall recently issued a statement exhorting his fellow Premiers to blaze largely unspecified new trails on healthcare, Employment Insurance and Equalization. Unfortunately, he misses the ball on all three issues. Greg Fingas and Verda Petry have already refuted Wall’s call for further healthcare privatization. On Employment Insurance, Wall implies that eastern Canadians are […]

Ontario Budget: Federal-Provincial Relations

My post on the night after Ontario’s budget hit the key features. However, the budget had a couple of other interesting aspects from a federal-provincial perspective. Childcare Funding Some progressive voices trumpeted the provincial budget’s allocation of $63.5 million annually to replace discontinued federal funding for childcare spaces. While the Ontario government finally made the […]

Equalization Bailout?

I have always grudgingly admired the Canadian Taxpayers Federation’s ability to manufacture news, but last week’s op-ed by Kevin Gaudet takes the cake. It launches an attack on Equalization from an utterly false premise: Next year, federal equalization payments to the provinces are expected to decline anywhere from 10 to 15%. As a result, some […]

The Star on Equalization: Another Reality Check

The lead editorial in today’s Toronto Star essentially restates McGuinty’s case more coherently than yesterday’s reports. The supposed problem identified is that, if Ontario becomes a “have-not” province, it would continue to pay more into Equalization than it would get out. This scenario is not nearly as strange as The Star makes out. Equalization has […]

McGuinty on Equalization: A Reality Check

For a while, the Ontario Premier was looking quite reasonable in his dispute with the federal government. As Jim Flaherty charged that Ontario’s economic woes reflected a lack of provincial corporate tax cuts, Dalton McGuinty correctly responded that a lower rate of tax on profits would entail a large fiscal cost and provide little assistance […]

Lawsuits Galore

While the Saskatchewan government’s decision to take the federal government to court over Equalization has captured more headlines, the Saskatchewan government is also helping to finance legal action against the federal government’s handling of the Canadian Wheat Board: Sask. backs CWB lawsuit The Leader-Post (Regina) Thursday, June 14, 2007 Page: D1 / FRONT Section: Business & Agriculture […]

Wading through the Equalization Swamp Armed Only With 1105 Words

This post was inspired by my wife, a non-economist (thankfully) who asked me the other day for my opinion on the endless equalization debate. My answer was simple: follow the politics. As every insider knows, the excommunication of Bill Casey, an MP from Nova Scotia, is only the tip of the iceberg of discontent over […]

Reflections on the “fiscal imbalance”

A year ago, I was concerned that the Harper government, in the name of “fixing” the “fiscal imbalance”, would endorse ideas coming from the Canadian Council of Chief Executives and the CD Howe Institute for a radical decentralization of fiscal federalism. This would have entailed eliminating the non-equalization transfers to the provinces (that fund health […]

Caledon Institute Budget Commentary

http://www.caledoninst.org/Publications/PDF/622ENG.pdf “There are several positive measures, most notably the Working Income Tax Benefit, the Registered Disability Savings Plan and the proposed changes to the Equalization program.  Other provisions, like the child tax credit, are a large cup of wasteful spending.  The funds could have been far better spent on an increased Canada Child Tax Benefit, […]

Politics and the “fiscal imbalance”

Having read the electoral tea leaves, Stephen Harper decides to take the “fiscal imbalance” issue off the table, to be replaced, it would appear with the new “green plan”, an issue unmentioned in the Tory platform, but one that they apparently think will get them better milage than the minefield of federal-provincial relations. When Harper […]

What’s New on the “Fiscal Imbalance”?

The Institute for Research on Public Policy (IRPP) organized a breakfast forum in Ottawa today (September 12), to launch a special issue of Policy Options on the so-called “fiscal imbalance” issue. A moderately decentralist (France St Hillaire) to distinctly pro province/ right of centre (Tom Courchene and Gilles Paquet) panel of economic experts lamented the […]

Fear of Sharing

All of this equalization talk has Preston Manning worried. While Alberta Premier Ralph Klein would have just told the rest of us to keep our grubby hands off Alberta’s wealth, Manning and his co-author Fred Kerr take 1200 words to explain to us that Alberta is already sharing as much as it can. Let’s take […]

Charest says give me more money (no strings attached, please)

Quebec wants big, new equalization dollars from Ottawa. Why equalization? Because it is not conditional – Charest could use new money for tax cuts or any way he wants. Did I mention a Quebec election is coming up next year? The Globe reports: Quebec maintains the key to solving the so-called fiscal imbalance between the […]

Alberta’s Oil and Quebec Seperation

Rafe Mair looks back at history, then contemplates high oil prices and resulting tensions in Confederation, in his Tyee column: First some history. With the arrival of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in 1965, the oil price fix has been in and we all know about the crisis in 1974 that brought […]

Greasing the wheels of federalism

The Globe and Mail's John Ibbitson (subscriber access only) thinks the outlines of a solution to the alleged "fiscal imbalance" has been found through a mix of more equalization plus increased program-related transfers to the provinces: The O'Brien report [aka the Expert Panel on Equalization and Territorial Formula Financing, appointed by former Finance Minister Ralph […]

Equalization – A Family History

Dalhousie's Lars Osberg reflects on his family in relation to the equalization program. This piece was published in the Halifax Mail-Star and Chronicle Herald Op-Ed, April 6, 2005 and merits a reprint here in the context of much bickering among the premiers: When my parents were growing up in Alberta in the 1930s, it was […]

Alberta, Equalization and a Little Irony

http://thetyee.ca/Views/2006/06/07/AlbertaEffect/ Over the years, Alberta Premier Ralph Klein has rarely missed an opportunity to poke a finger at the equalization program and to re-assert that Canada better keep its hands off Alberta's resource wealth. For King Ralph, it makes for great theatre and even better politics. Klein recently threatened to pull out of the equalization […]