Atlantic Canada facing a political vulnerability

Fiscal federalism, the lifeblood of the region's economy, faces increasing pressure for reform, especially in the post-COVID-19 world

Atlantic Canada facing a political vulnerabilityMassive government spending has landed the four Atlantic provinces at the bottom of economic freedom rankings among the 10 provinces and 50 U.S. states, according to the new Economic Freedom of North America report. Newfoundland and Labrador and Prince Edward Island are tied at the bottom, just below Nova Scotia (58th) and New Brunswick (57th).…

Equalization rebate should go to Albertans, not the Alberta government

If the feds send the larger equalization rebate to Alberta, then it should be made out to the taxpayers who have been paying the bills

Equalization rebate should go to Albertans, not the Alberta governmentHere’s a fundamental point about equalization: the provincial government doesn’t pay for equalization, taxpayers do. Premier Jason Kenney is calling on the feds to increase the equalization rebate to the Alberta government to offset some of the impacts of the downturn. But any equalization rebate should go back to the Albertans who have been paying…

Federal student job program puts Alberta at the back of the class

Study finds no link between the circumstances in the local economy, student unemployment and the level of subsidies handed out. So is it all political?

Federal student job program puts Alberta at the back of the classThose who argue that the Canadian federation exhibits plenty of fiscal and program biases against Prairie Canadians will see further evidence in a recent study from the Halifax-based Atlantic Institute for Market Studies (AIMS). The study, Rethinking Student Job Subsidies, authored by David Murrell and Alan Chan, is subtitled The Case for Regional Equity in…

Anti-Alberta bigotry clothed in environmental clichés and platitudes

Anti-Alberta bigotry clothed in environmental clichés and platitudesDave Yager has spent nearly half a century in Alberta’s oil and natural gas industry and 40 years in journalism, notably with the oilfield trade magazine, The Roughneck. His first book, From Miracle to Menace: Alberta, A Carbon Story, combines his extensive experience in a well-written and fact-centred analysis of the economics, politics and history…

Equalization inequalities must be addressed

Encouraging short-term stability at the expense of economic performance and fairness is folly when alternatives are available

Equalization inequalities must be addressedIn recent years, equalization and other regional subsidies have captured the attention of many Albertans. Much useful research has been done at the University of Calgary and by the former Wildrose Party. There has been extensive comment in Alberta’s media on Canada’s fiscal arrangements, including equalization. Issues connected with regional subsidies are important to all…

Time to rethink the federal transfers system

Atlantic Canada enjoys a level of public spending that far outreaches that of the provinces that contribute most to equalization payments

Time to rethink the federal transfers systemIt is time for a fundamental course change by Atlantic Canadians with respect to equalization and other regional subsidies. I recently made a presentation to independent senators in Ottawa on this subject in which I said that Canada’s regional subsidies were ineffective. We've had a half-century of remarkably large subsidies to Quebec and Atlantic Canada,…

Canadian economy staring into the abyss

We are weeks away from a systemic collapse of large parts of the energy industry in Canada. We need to act quickly and decisively

Canadian economy staring into the abyssJust how close is the Alberta oil patch to catastrophic failure? In an informal and I admit very unscientific review of sentiment in Calgary's oil patch conducted by Alberta Council of Technologies (ABCtech) officers last week, a chilling tale of fear emerged. With Western Canada Select crude (WCS) bottoming out at less than $10 a…

Equalization hurts every Canadian

It’s time to get past political posturing and regional protectionism and reform the national equalization payment program

Equalization hurts every CanadianNational debates on the federal equalization program have been marked by conflict, obscure technical jargon, little research on the impact of the program and excessive vitriol. But we get no closer to fixing the problem. It's time for equalization reform. Many Canadians have tuned out. They can’t deal with discussions that have become inaccessible to…