Alberta can’t blame the equalization system for its economic mess

Undisciplined spending by successive governments is responsible for Alberta’s fiscal problems

Alberta can’t blame the equalization system for its economic messBy Ben Eisen and Steve Lafleur The Fraser Institute In William Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, one of the conspirators encourages his ally not to blame fate for his misfortunes, but rather to recognize his own responsibility. “The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, but in ourselves,” says Cassius. When it comes to the state…

Alberta still loses if resource revenue removed from equalization

Options for reform are severely limited so long as a rule requiring program costs to escalate every year remains

Alberta still loses if resource revenue removed from equalizationBy Ben Eisen and Joel Emes The Fraser Institute Jason Kenney, candidate for the leadership of Alberta’s United Conservative Party, recently called for reform to Canada’s equalization program. Specifically, he suggested a referendum in Alberta to force the federal government to consider removing non-renewable resource revenue (in Alberta’s case, mostly revenue from oil) from calculations…

Should equalization really grow forever?

A rule requiring payments to grow – no matter what the circumstances – can only exacerbate regional friction

Should equalization really grow forever?  By Ben Eisen and Joel Emes The Fraser Institute The relative economic strength of Canada’s provinces has shifted in recent years, as former powerhouses struggle while former laggards improve. The nation’s equalization program is not equipped to respond fairly to these developments. In the past two fiscal years, Quebec has collected more revenue from natural…

Sharing the wealth is the Canadian – and Albertan – way

Wildrose's attack on equalization payments is based on a skewed view of the program and a lack of respect for the true Alberta perspective

Sharing the wealth is the Canadian – and Albertan – wayIt’s déjà vu all over again. Equalization payments are under attack by Alberta's Wildrose Party. It’s an easy target because while the intent of the program is clear, the process for calculating payments is not. Equalization payments are made out of federal tax revenue, not provincial revenue, collected across Canada. However, over the years, provincial…

Robertson, Coderre charter members of Misguided Mayors Club

Vancouver's Robertson and Montreal's Coderre are front and centre when it comes to policy pronouncements that are dangerously delusional

Robertson, Coderre charter members of Misguided Mayors ClubMayor Gregor Robertson wants Vancouver to be “the world’s greenest city by 2020.” That's a laudable goal, provided the path is rooted in sound science and economics, rather than a religious belief in a carbon-free heaven. The first step, narrowing already-busy streets in favour of bike lanes, is infuriating drivers while their gridlocked cars increase…

Trudeau is out of touch with Canada’s economic reality

Blissfully unaware of the devastating impact of collapsed resource revenues on the entire nation

Trudeau is out of touch with Canada’s economic realityPrime Minister Justin Trudeau has a penchant for clever quips. He seems to especially relish combining them with digs at Stephen Harper. He told a Davos audience, “My predecessor wanted you to know Canada for its resources. I want you to know Canadians for our resourcefulness.” Besides being a gratuitous shot that hardly dignifies his…

Federal transfers to the provinces at an all-time high

The complaint from some provinces that Ottawa is shortchanging them is false

Federal transfers to the provinces at an all-time highBy Ben Eisen and Charles Lammam The Fraser Institute Over the years several provincial governments have complained about the amount of money they receive from Ottawa. Senior officials in the Ontario government, for instance, have accused the federal government of “turning its back” on Ontario, and failing to be a constructive “partner.” Following the 2014…

The feds doesn’t owe Ontario – or Alberta – more money

Premiers will invent any excuses - including blaming it all on the federal government - to cover their own failures

The feds doesn’t owe Ontario – or Alberta – more moneyIn a year when two heavyweight provinces, Ontario and Alberta, which together constitute 55 per cent of Canada’s GDP, are running substantial deficits, there are three ways to reduce the red ink. Strategy one: cut (and reform) spending, something neither province has been serious about. Strategy two: raise taxes (which both provinces have done), then…