There is a lot of confusion around Canada’s equalization payment program

Dear Editor,

There is a lot of confusion around Canada’s equalization payment program. Among those confused is a recent letter writer to the Capital. If people believe what he says, then his confusion is passed on to others as truth – which it isn’t. Unfortunately, Albertans have been so propagandized by their own media and politicians that equalization payments have become a complaint that has caused considerable animosity between provinces and the people that reside in them.

Canada’s equalization program has existed since 1957 and enshrined in the Constitution in 1982. It was designed so that every Canadian, no matter where he or she lives, would receive comparable services at comparable rates of taxation. (Graeme Roy/The Canadian Press).

Federal transfers support specific policy areas such as health care, post-secondary education, social assistance and social services, early childhood development and child care.

A Canadian living in a smaller province with a weaker economy should have access to the same public services as one living in a fiscally stronger province, without their tax rates having to go through the roof.

In plainer terms: equalization is funded by the federal government from its general revenue, raised through federal taxes, paid for by all Canadians.

For 2019-2020, the following provinces will receive equalization:

Prince Edward Island

Nova Scotia

New Brunswick

Quebec

Manitoba

These provinces will not:

Newfoundland and Labrador

Ontario

Saskatchewan

Alberta

British Columbia

On average, each person living in the “have” provinces saw a return of the tax dollar from the federal gov’t of $1500. Those in the “have not” provinces received on average over $4000 per person.

I think the main complaint coming from Albertans, and you may have some righteous indignation for it, is that you may think that people from the provinces that receive equalization payments may not be as industrious (lazy?) as you are. And as someone who started from nothing, and has worked hard, frequently at two jobs at the same time, for some semblance of prosperity, I’m not about to argue with you on that.

Frank Martens

Summerland, BC