Albertans have contributed immensely to Canada’s economy and federal coffers, but the Equalization program is deeply flawed and using far too many precious tax dollars to benefit only certain provinces. It is past time for serious fiscal reforms in Canada, beginning with Equalization – it’s only fair. Vote YES!
Equalization grows with GDP regardless of need. Provinces have become much more equal since 2015 – meaning billions in extra dollars are being handed to certain provinces via equalization
Overall, far too many federal tax dollars from people in Alberta, Ontario, B.C. and Saskatchewan are sent to Quebec and the Maritimes for provincial services at a time when all provincial governments and economies are struggling.
2 other major flaws in the program – not properly accounting for Quebec Hydro and ignoring lower costs in recipient provinces – inflate the program and push Quebec’s annual no-strings payment to $13 billion
Canada’s federal debt has exploded and a bloated Equalization program is not only unfair – it is unaffordable.
Equalization grew 23% since 2015 despite declining need and will grow another 20% in the next four years to $25 billion.
Albertans are on the hook for roughly $2700 per family of four this year to fund other provincial governments when they need that support to stay in Alberta to support our services and reduce our debt.
Since 2015 there has been a “great convergence” between provinces where the wealth gap between median ‘have’ and ‘have not’ dropped 68%
Equalization payments duplicate the enormous federal support to provinces via the $55b health and social transfers where Albertans and Ontarians net contribute another $1.5 billion each
Equalization payments (combined with higher taxes) enabled Quebec to run provincial surpluses that they put into a “Generations Fund” that will soon be larger than Alberta’s Heritage Fund
This referendum is an opportunity to force negotiations with Ottawa to get Albertans a fairer deal in confederation. Please sign our petition and consider a donation so that we can help Canadians understand why the status quo is unacceptable.
Why a Referendum?
Albertans have contributed immensely to Canada’s economy and federal coffers, but the reality is we are only 11.5% of the population, and our share of seats in the House of Commons is even smaller.
Albertans are easy to ignore, as made clear when the federal government dismissed the unanimous request from 13 Premiers to give Alberta a retroactive Fiscal Stabilization payment. There have also been a string of federal initiatives that openly undermine Alberta’s economic future like Bills 48 and 69, pipeline approval quagmires, the Clean Fuel Standard, and carbon tax hikes.
We need to be creative and persistent to get the country’s attention. Our future depends on it.
“Support for the principle of Equalization payments” is in section 36(2) of the Constitution. In the 1998 Supreme Court reference case concerning Quebec Secession, the Court made clear that a provincial vote supporting any Constitutional change triggered a duty for the Federal government and other provinces to negotiate in good faith. (For more details see our FAQ section)
This is why the Referendum question is worded as it is – only a vote in support for Constitutional change compels negotiations. Once negotiations begin, all aspects of fiscal and economic fairness for Albertans can be brought to the table.
Regardless of the outcome of that negotiation, given the heavy federal involvement in provincial affairs Equalization could disappear tomorrow and there will still always be a high level of support for poorer provinces. Albertans, however, cannot afford to maintain the unfair levels of redistribution in recent decades, and they shouldn’t have to.
For the sake of national unity it is time for serious fiscal reforms, starting with Equalization.
Vote YES October 18 to tell Ottawa meaningful renegotiations need to happen now!