Conservative leader Erin O’Toole says he will fix Canada’s controversial Fiscal Stabilization Program to make it more fair for the Western provinces.
Speaking on Thursday in Calgary, O’Toole said Canada’s fiscal programs need urgent reform to end what the Conservatives have called the “mistreatment of Western Canadians.”
“Even as Alberta’s economy suffered with massive reductions in resource revenues, Albertans continued to pay more than their fair share to support the rest of the country,” he said.
“That’s why a Conservative government will fix the Fiscal Stabilization Program as a first step to ensuring that Western Canadians are treated equally in our confederation.”
The Fiscal Stabilization Program was created in 1967 to provide additional funding for provinces that see a sudden drop in revenues.
O’Toole’s proposal will allow Alberta to qualify for more funding and create a $5 billion “Equalization Rebate” to compensate the provinces like Alberta which have paid more into the system historically.
O’Toole says the proposed reforms comes from a 2019 reform proposal that Canada’s premiers unanimously endorsed but was never implemented by the Trudeau government.
“Alberta is struggling, and Albertans quite reasonably expect the rest of the country, including the federal government, to be in their corner,” said O’Toole.
“To begin to address the fact that Albertans have been asked to pay more than their fair share, a Conservative government will implement an Equalization Rebate, to give Albertans back some of the extra money they’ve paid during these tough years.”
Despite paying the most in various equalization schemes, Alberta has received very little benefits over the decades, even after suffering an economic crisis from the decline of the energy sector last year.
In a campaign-style speech, O’Toole said that only the Conservative Party will make Confederation more fair for the West and keep the energy sector alive.
“Canada’s Conservatives are here to offer a choice – more of the same from Justin Trudeau’s Liberals and the other parties on the left, or restoring fairness in the West with Canada’s Conservative,” he said.