Equalization and Alberta

Alberta is the richest Province in Canada with the highest average income in the country and it enjoys the lowest taxes. Conservative Albertans complain that they are being unfairly treated. Seriously?

Many angry Albertans falsely believe they are sending money to Quebec. The man who approved the Equalization formula while in Cabinet, Jason Kenney, throws gasoline on Albertans’ anger, promises to hold a referendum if elected, and claims he can fix it.

Jason Kenney can educate Albertans but he chooses not to because he needs their anger at Ottawa to get elected.

Misplaced Anger. Western alienation and the battle over equalization

EXCERPTS added 09/10/19 from 08/26/19: “Alberta isn’t a victim of unfair treatment. Rather, much of what is lamented today is a side effect of Alberta’s economic strength. Especially when it comes to equalization.

No tweak to a program meant to transfer funds to lower income provinces should ever transfer to the richest.

Alberta’s deficit is a choice. We choose low taxes. We choose high spending. And we pray resource revenues make up the difference. Sometimes this works out, sometimes (like today) it doesn’t. It’s not Ottawa’s fault, nor is it equalization’s. It’s our own choice. Period.

None of this is to diminish feelings of frustration and alienation in Alberta. It’s to help us guard against opportunistic partisans hoping to stoke anger and fear for short-term gain.

Blaming Ottawa in general and equalization in particular may feel good, but misplaced rage distracts from the thoughtful, practical solutions Alberta needs today.”

Here are the facts on Equalization from my Tweet thread. The resources actually tell the story

1) Danielle Smith, former leader of the Alberta Wildrose Party is the woman who threw her Party under the bus crossing the floor in the legislature to join the former Progressive Conservatives.

The woman who threw her Party under the bus would like to throw QC under it.

Every CANADIAN pays into EQ. AB pays more taxes b/c they have the highest avg incomes, the lowest taxes, & youngest pop. Quebec has the highest taxes & lowest avg income.

2) Albertans pay $21.8 billion more in taxes than they get back, but the equalization program isn’t to blame!

On the list of richest Canada cities/capita, Calgary & Edmonton occupy the #2 & #3 spots (Ottawa #1). Most rich people pay more taxes

3) Don’t blame equalization for Alberta’s fiscal mess

One in 8 Albertans older than 15 earns >$100,000 a year, according to the latest census. With only 11% of Canada’s population, AB is home to 21% of Canada’s $100,000+ earners!
(theglobeandmail.com/opinion/dont-b…)

4) Is Alberta really getting shafted on equalization payments? We talked to an expert

““There is no disputing that Alberta has the highest quality of living in the country, if not top three depending on the index you look at.” (thestar.com/amp/edmonton/2…)

5) Unpacking Canada’s Equalization Payments for 2018-19 by Trevor Tombe

“Equalization is a federal program that transfers federal funds to provinces with below average capacities to raise revenues.” (policyschool.ca/unpacking-cana…)

6) How much AB & QC pay in taxes & receive in Fed monies. Avg wages higher in AB than QC which has 2x AB’s population!

QC receives less-EQ/capita than some other Provinces. Why are Albertans so mired in victimhood & pick on QC?

See link for explanations and more graphs
(lop.parl.ca/sites/PublicWe…)

7) This is the deep dive, 2014: CANADA’S EQUALIZATION FORMULA: PEERING INSIDE THE BLACK BOX … AND BEYOND. U of C.

” The federal government’s move to rein in the potential ballooning cost of equalization may havebeen understandable, from a cost-control perspective, but it ultimately defied the very purpose of equalization.”
(policyschool.ca/wp-content/upl…)

8) Provinces won’t dictate equalization: Harper

And remember when Jason Kenney approved the Equalization formula while in Ottawa? Or Harper’s sharp words to Ralph Klein? It went like this

Na Na Na Na Hey Hey Goodbye!
(theglobeandmail.com/news/national/…)

My Tweet Thread:



Additional resources

Alberta doesn’t send oil money to have-nots, and Ontario contributes more than Alberta

“The problem with all this noise from the right is that it appears to be less about highlighting the genuine issues and challenges that currently exist with equalization, and more about exploiting generally flawed assumptions about how equalization works, all for the sake of fuelling anger and resentment toward Quebec and the federal government.

Contrary to commonly held beliefs, the Alberta government does not actually send money to have-not provinces like Quebec. Nor do any of the revenues, collected by the Alberta government from the oil industry, make their way to Quebec through equalization. Nor are Albertans who have lost their jobs during the economic downturn currently contributing anything to equalization. Nor does any individual Albertan contribute disproportionately to equalization.”

Alberta has the highest Median Household income in not only Canada but the U.S. as well.