February 19th, 2020

Alberta does not make equalization payments

By Letter to the Editor on December 18, 2018.

Re: “Facts speak the truth on past PC governments,” Dec. 5

Mr. Taylor repeats a pernicious falsehood which is held as truth by many on the right of the political spectrum in Alberta. I do not accuse Mr. Taylor of lying, only of failing to understand the falsity of what he repeats. He referred to Alberta’s Heritage Fund and Alberta’s Sustainability Fund and he wondered how much more money would be in those funds if Alberta did not make equalization payments.

Jason Kenney repeated the same falsehood in the Sept. 7, 2018 News, where he said, “The ultimate leverage for Alberta is equalization. We contribute about $20 billion net to the rest of Canada each year, $200 billion in the last decade.”

The truth is that Alberta does not make any equalization payments. The Province of Alberta has never made such payments and it never will, and the reason is that Canada’s constitution has prohibited this since 1867, which is 38 years before Alberta even existed.

Our Constitution Act prohibits one level of government from taxing the other.

Equalization payments are made by the federal government. They are paid out from federal revenue, paid by the federal government to some provinces to help maintain certain standards of services to residents.

What Mr. Taylor and Mr. Kenney are really complaining about is how federally collected tax revenue is being spent. If they disagree with such spending, that is fair comment, but please, don’t try to portray this as a predatory and rapacious federal government somehow extorting billions from this province. It is not true. It does not happen.

Mr. Kenney, having been a federal cabinet minister in successive Harper governments, had a very good opportunity to change that which he now seems to find so wrong. Where was he? Yet he now perpetuates the falsehood for crass political gain. Given Mr. Kenney’s political experience, he must know that what he said is not true. He promotes a falsehood, he plays on people’s belief in it, and tries to gain from it. These are the hallmarks of a scam, yet he wants to be premier. He seeks support by fostering fear and divisiveness.

Space precludes my responding to other parts of Mr. Taylor’s letter, but one. He claims a carbon tax does not lower greenhouse gas emissions. Another falsehood. Please see the Dec. 3, 2018 letter in the News from Denis Hoffman.

Gregory Cote

Irvine, Alta.

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One Response to “Alberta does not make equalization payments”

  1. Fedup Conservative says:

    Gregory has nailed it. When reporters asked Ralph Klein why Alberta was broke and Norway and Alaska weren’t he created the lie that it was because we had to send billions of dollars to Ottawa and Quebec in the form of equalization payments. His supporters bought it like he knew they would and they still believe it today. Brian Jean brought it up again when he became leader of the Wildrose Party and Kenney is playing this mind game once again hoping Albertans will be dumb enough to believe it. Most don’t.

    But then after watching our fellow seniors believe the lies that closing hospitals, closing 1,500 hospital beds, and cutting 5,000 nursing positions would make our health care system better, or slashing massive amounts from our education system would make it a lot better, it’s not surprising that they would believe anything Ralph Klein fed them. They even bought the lie that deregulation of electricity would make their power bills a lot cheaper, even though members of the industry , including my Power Engineer father were saying it wouldn’t .

    They still go around singing the praises of Ralph Klein, talking about all the wonderful things he did for us, but when you ask them to give you a list of these wonderful things, you get a funny blank stare followed by a moment of silence, then they turn away saying he did lots of things. Everything he did took money out of their pockets and put this province in financial ruin yet he is their hero.

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