UnpublishedTV: Alberta's Referendum on Canada's Equalization System

UnpublishedTV: Alberta's Referendum on Canada's Equalization System

In a year when Canadians were dragged to the polls for an election no one wanted, that got us back to where we started, Albertans were also trudging to the polls for a referendum on the Equalization Program to gain leverage with the federal government.

The results were over 61% voting Yes to remove Equalization from the Constitution. Will it ever happen?

The referendum was a campaign promise by Jason Kenney and the United Conservative Party. Equalization basically distributes wealth to “have not” provinces, primarily at the expense of Alberta and Ontario. What some Albertans see or don’t like is the fact that funds are being given to provinces which have stifled their “perceived “growth. Think Quebec not allowing a pipeline through its territory.

There are some nuances to adding up what each province will get. For example, in the calculation, the value of natural resource development can impact. It could give provinces the incentive to NOT develop those resources.

Jason Kenney is not the first to want to change the Constitution. Doug Ford in Ontario used the “notwithstanding clause “ to get legislation through. Quebec wants to open it to enshrine French as the official language of the province and to declare itself a Nation.

Our Unpublished.vote question asks: Do you feel Canada’s Equalization Program should be changed?

  • Yes = 88.9%
  • No = 9.7%
  • Unsure = 1.4%

However, you’re watching and listening to our show, whether through our social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, or on our podcast channels—iTunes, GooglePlay, Spotify, iHeartRadio and more—I would like to remind you that you can “cast your vote” on this topic at Unpublished.vote, and then email your MP to tell them why.


Stephanie Chiounard
Stephanie Chouinard

Department of Political Science at Queen's University

Janet Brown
Janet Brown

Janet Brown has been examining and tracking public opinion in Alberta for more than 25 years. 

Daniel Beland
Daniel Beland

McGill Institute for the Study of Canada; Professor, Department of Political Science