Our government’s three-year plan to balance the budget is on track at a time when Saskatchewan taxpayers are also helping to balance the budgets of other provinces, such as Quebec.
Through the federal equalization program, taxpayers in Saskatchewan are funding programs and services in other provinces, even when those other provinces’ economies are strong.
Just last year, equalization made up 10 per cent of Quebec’s revenue – over $11 billion. This was a year in which that province posted a $2 billion surplus.
Provinces like Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador are receiving zero year-after-year, even with the downturn in the resource sector. Meanwhile, other provinces continue to receive billions.
Your Saskatchewan Party government recently released a proposal calling for a simple change to a complicated formula that would make equalization fairer.
Under the 50-50 formula we’ve proposed, the overall amount of equalization and relative fiscal capacity of each province would continue to be calculated in the same way it is now, using the same revenue sources. Half of the total equalization pool would be distributed on this basis.
The other half would be distributed based on the population of each province relative to the other provinces. This would ensure that all provinces receive some amount of funding from the equalization program, while continuing to ensure the “have not” provinces receive significantly more relative to their size, based on their relative fiscal capacity.
Even under this proposal, the benefit to Saskatchewan remains quite small. Saskatchewan would receive about $300 million, or about 1.6 per cent of the overall equalization amount.
Since Saskatchewan has not received one dollar of the $177 billion in equalization paid out over the past 11 years and is not expected to receive any equalization payments in the foreseeable future, this proposal is more than reasonable in terms of its benefit to our province.
Unfortunately, rather than engage is meaningful discussions, the Trudeau Liberals just decided to renew the same flawed formula. This means five more years of zeroes for Saskatchewan, Alberta and Newfoundland and Labrador, while Quebec will continue to receive between $50 billion and $60 billion to fund programs unavailable in other provinces.
Our government is standing up for Saskatchewan’s interests. We’re going to keep fighting for a better deal for the people of this province and for all Canadians.
We need to fix Equalization.
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