November 21, 2016
Jean to introduce motion today urging NDP to act on equalization
Today, Wildrose Leader Brian Jean will be introducing Motion 509 in the Legislature demanding the NDP government take action to study equalization fairness and carve out Alberta’s position before the next round of negotiations that begin in 2018.
Earlier this fall, an independent panel of experts delivered the Equalization Fairness Panel report commissioned by the Wildrose Caucus. The report found that between 2007 and 2014, Albertans sent $190 billion more in taxes and other payments to Ottawa than they received back in transfers or services.
“Finance Minister Joe Ceci has said he's agnostic about equalization payments, but a vast majority of Albertans believe it’s time for all parties to show a united front in reforming a broken federal transfer system,” Jean said. “Albertans are instinctively kind, generous and compassionate but that doesn’t mean they think they should be paying endlessly into a system that no longer works.”
The motion asks the government to complete and make public its own report by August 31 next year to outline the improvements the government will seek on behalf of all Albertans when the program is renegotiated.
In recent years, the Quebec government went through a similar process before entering into negotiations; passing Motion 509 today would ensure Alberta’s voice is at the forefront in this round.
Jean said with provinces like Saskatchewan also looking to make reforms to the equalization system, it’s important that Alberta immediately acts to create a united front with like-minded provinces before the next round of negotiations.
“The fact is, the current equalization system is not truly helping any regions of Canada in the long-term and it is obviously unfair to Albertans, especially now when we are struggling,” Jean said. “We can no longer afford the status quo. I encourage members from all parties to support this important motion.”