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Letter to the Editor: The facts about equalization payments

Letter to the Editor from David McLaughlin

Dear Editor,

The June 17 issue of the Pipestone Flyer contained an article by MLA Mark Smith concerning a referendum on equalization payments. This article contains many misleading half truths and mis-statements.

Here are the facts:

1. There is no equalization fund. Alberta does not send money to Ottawa for such a purpose. The equalization payments are taken out of general revenues.

2. All Albertans pay federal income tax at the same rate as every one else in Canada, this is what funds the payments. If the were no equalization this would remain the case.

3. Ottawa does not “siphon wealth” from Alberta to fund Equalization. Ottawa does not “pull billions of dollars out of our province and funnel it into strong booming economies”.

4. The current equalization payments are determined through a number of economic indicators. Currently Alberta does not receive payments, mainly because per capita income here is the second highest in Canada. There is a lag time. Ontario, BC, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland also do not receive payments.

5. The current formula was designed and implemented by Stephan Harper, Jim Flaherty and Jason Kenny 2006-09. Trudeau and/or Notley had nothing to do with it.

6. He says in the article a change to the constitution is required and approval by 7 provinces. This is not true unless they are trying to eliminate the program altogether.

7. The entire payout to the 5 “have-not”provinces in 2019-20 was 19.6 billion. Again this was from general revenues not from any provincial transfer.

Other misleading statements in the article include:

“Put an end to the Trudeau-Notley alliance”, as if they had anything to do with equalization. The provincial NPD and federal Liberals were responsible for saving the Trans Mountain pipeline, a 12 billion dollar transfer of federal tax funds to support Alberta.

I don’t understand how creating an Alberta Parole Board and appointing a Chief Firearms Officer will “start addressing the issue of equalization” What are they planning??? Separation?

-David McLaughlin, Wetaskiwin AB