Alberta's Referendum on Canada's Equalization System

Alberta's Referendum on Canada's Equalization System

The Canadian Constitution has been taking a beating from the provinces during the pandemic. Ontario uses the notwithstanding clause to get its way on third party election spending, despite their law violating Charter Rights. Then Quebec wanted to change part of the Constitution that applies to it, to declare itself a Nation and to make French the official language of the Province. Not to be outdone, Alberta has jumped in with a referendum on whether it can pull out of the Equalization Program. Will it work?

Albertans had a number of referendums on their ballots earlier this week, in municipal elections. The most noteworthy was the vote on whether the Province should pull out of the Canada’s Equalization program. The Premier says this isn’t about playing politics, it’s about fairness.

When you consider, BC and Quebec are big recipients of Equalization from the federal government with about $20 billion coming from Alberta, they are also the biggest impediments to getting Alberta oil to tidewater. The Equalization program sees the federal government collect from the wealthiest provinces to distribute to other “have not” provinces. Jason Kenney says this is all about gaining leverage with the federal government. The Province feels hamstrung getting its commodities to market.

Our Unpublished.vote question asks: Do you feel Canada’s Equalization Program should be changed?

  • Yes
  • No
  • Unsure

You can log on and vote right now at Unpublished.vote.

Guests:

  1. Kevin Lacey, Alberta Director of the Canadian Taxpayers Federation
  2. Barry Cooper, Political Science Professor, University of Calgary; Co-Author of Free Alberta Strategy
  3. Jared Wesley, Associate Professor & Associate Chair, Graduate Programs | Department of Political Science | University of Alberta