A few years ago, Albertans would only see red ink in a Quebec budget. Now we just see red. Quebec’s latest budget is being painted as a model for Canada. The province will have a $1.3 billion surplus. Its Generations Fund, devoted to paying down debt, is growing. Quebecers will get a tax break of up to $336 per person.
Wonderful. Way to go, Quebec. But could the province do all this without its annual equalization cheque — $11.8 billion today, rising to $13.3 billion next year?
Of course it couldn’t. Without this indirect wealth transfer based on the strength of western economies, Quebec would still be a deficit-ridden mess.
Equalization has always come with a tacit understanding. If provinces with less overall wealth are going to be topped up, they should bloody well support the provinces that supply the topping.
Only one part of Canada — the West — is laying these golden eggs. You’d think there would be some recognition. But no, other governments are actively suppressing Alberta’s economy. Quebec opposition killed the Energy East pipeline.
For the rest of this column: http://calgaryherald.com/news/politics/braid-the-growing-national-push-to-suppress-albertas-economy