The Legislative Assembly of Alberta has voted in favour of a motion calling for the government to educate Albertans on the reality of Canada’s equalization program.
According to the Western Standard, motion 507 calls for the Alberta government to create an education campaign on equalization payments. The motion was brought forward by UCP MLA Jason Stephan,
“As Albertans grow in awareness of the massive, unfair subsidies and taxes they are paying, the more accountability they will require from the government in respect of those costs,” he said.
“Canada is spending itself into oblivion; marching towards bankruptcy, dragging Alberta down with it. Canada is rudderless; at a worst possible time; under the control of individuals out of their depth.”
Stephen noted that the equalization program heavily favours Quebec at the expense of Alberta.
“Since 1961, Alberta families and businesses have contributed more than $600 billion into the Canada partnership; while Quebec took more than $476 billion from it.”
Stephen said that Alberta contributes $3 million more than it gets back every year towards the Canada Pension Plan (CPP.)
The CPP has heavily invested in the Chinese coal industry while Canadian coal has been phased out in recent years. Much of Canada’s coal supply came from Alberta.
In June, Premier Jason Kenney promised that Alberta would hold a referendum on equalization in the future.
While the federal government and other provinces would have to agree on a new equalization formula, Kenney says that a referendum would give Alberta the mandate to negotiate.
“Albertans are happy to have had the opportunity to contribute mightily to the rest of the federation,” Kenney said.
“But what Albertans cannot and will not accept is governments across the country benefiting from that wealth and our resources while seeking to block and impair our development of that wealth.”
The referendum was one of the recommendations made by Fair Deal Panel, a group created to help reassess Alberta’s place in Canada.