EDMONTON, AB, NOVEMBER 18, 2021 – Following the 61.7% YES vote in the Equalization Referendum, today the Alberta Legislature formally passed a motion (below) triggering renegotiations of the flawed and unfair Equalization program, in the context of the need for overall fairness for Albertans. Fairness Alberta will continue raising awareness across Canada and building support in provinces like B.C. and Ontario to achieve meaningful reforms.
“This referendum offered Albertans the chance to take a hard look at the unfair fiscal flows in the federation, particularly the deeply flawed Equalization program,” said Fairness Alberta Executive Director Dr. Bill Bewick. “Albertans’ YES vote and this formal motion elevates this in a way the federal government and other provinces can’t ignore, but the hard work in building national support for reforms begins now.”
Fairness Alberta developed an informative website at www.equalizationreferendum.ca to explain succinctly why the the Equalization program is Unfair, Unaffordable, and Unnecessary. Highlights include payments growing from $16-21 billion since 2015 while the provinces’ wealth gap rapidly narrowed, flaws in the formula like Hydro and ignoring costs of services that vastly underrepresent Quebec’s capacity, and roughly $600 per person from Albertans, Ontarians, and B.C. going straight to other provincial governments while their own struggle to deliver equal services.
“Equalization unfairness is hardly just an Alberta problem – families in Ontario, B.C., Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland are sending far too much in federal taxes so a bloated and unfair Equalization program can boost provincial services for only 30% of the country,” said Dr. Bewick. “We need to use this referendum to get the ball rolling on serious reforms that will make things more fair at a difficult time for the 70% of Canadians in contributing provinces.”
Dr. Bewick had the opportunity to explain what Alberta’s Equalization Referendum can mean for the rest of Canada in numerous media appearances during the referendum, including interviews with CBC’s Power and Politics and the National Post, a “Vote Yes” column in the Edmonton Sun, and a widely publicized debate at Mount Royal University with Dr. Trevor Tombe.
Fairness Alberta is a grassroots, non-partisan, and non-separatist association of concerned citizens, aiming to increase awareness across the country related to Albertans’ major contributions to Canada, while also providing clear, factual information on unfair federal policies that are anticipated to undermine the prosperity of Alberta and other contributing provinces further.
Dr. Bewick has emerged as a leading commentator on equalization reform, with columns in the National Post (February and August), Financial Post (May) and Calgary Herald (July ‘20 and June), as well as praise from commentators like Dr. Trevor Tombe for offering “thoughtful counterargument” in this critique of Tombe’s own analysis at www.thehub.ca.
Fairness Alberta’s previous releases, interviews, columns, and presentations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance can be found in the NEWS section of our website. For more information on Fairness Alberta, its mandate, and future plans, please visit our website at www.fairnessalberta.ca.
For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:
Bill Bewick, Ph.D.
Cell: (780) 996-6019
Cost to BC / Ontarians
Fairness Alberta used the most recent Library of Parliament breakdown of federal revenues by province to estimate the share of Equalization funding that comes from taxpayers in each province based on their share of federal revenues, and broke it down to a per capita basis.
Alberta families are contributing about $2,700 to cover this year’s record Equalization payments, and Ontario and B.C. families are on the hook for about $2,400 each at a time when every provincial government is under tremendous strain. Fairness Alberta recently called for a rebate to contributing provinces until a new formula is worked out or Equalization is scrapped altogether.
Using the contribution rates to federal revenues by province last updated here we broke down Equalization funding per capita as follows:
Be it resolved that the Legislative Assembly
(a) recognize the results of the referendum held on October 18, 2021, where 61.7 percent of voters supported removing section 36(2) of the Constitution Act, 1982 – Parliament and the Government of Canada’s commitment to the principle of making equalization payments,
(b) reaffirm the principle articulated by the Supreme Court of Canada in the 1998 Reference re Secession of Quebec that it is “the constitutional right of each participant in the federation to initiate constitutional change,” and that “this right implies a reciprocal duty on the other participants to engage in discussions to address any legitimate initiative to change the constitutional order,”
(c) authorize an amendment to the Constitution of Canada to be made by proclamation issued by Her Excellency the Governor General under the Great Seal of Canada in accordance with the Schedule set forth below, and
(d) direct the Government of Alberta to take all necessary steps to secure a fair deal for Alberta in the Canadian federation, including the reform of federal transfer programs, the defence of provincial powers enumerated in the Constitution, and the right to pursue responsible development of natural resources.
AMENDMENT TO THE CONSTITUTION OF CANADA
1. The Constitution Act, 1982 is amended by repealing subsection 36(2) thereof.
2. This Amendment may be cited as the Constitution Amendment, [year of proclamation].
MODIFICATION DE LA CONSTITUTION DU CANADA
1. Le paragraphe 36(2) de la Loi constitutionnelle de 1982 est abrogé.
2. Titre de la présente modification : Modification constitutionnelle de [l’année de la proclamation].