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Old Posted Nov 8, 2019, 5:05 PM
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Join Date: Nov 2001
Location: Vancouver
Posts: 22,114
Quote:
Originally Posted by lio45 View Post
If his posts on the subject are representative of Albertan views, that's... pretty bad.
My impression is that as far as average aggrieved Albertans go, it's a pretty good approximation to say that they're just upset about the current situation, and they see Quebec and equalization as a scapegoat. Some people of course have a more nuanced view based on the actual finances but most don't. Most people couldn't tell you how much equalization is paid to Quebec, maybe even within an order of magnitude (I bet a significant number would say "millions", thinking that is a huge amount of money, etc.). It would be fun to see polling data on this.

Maybe it is good to try to phase out equalization over time. Maybe it is unfair. I don't really have a strong opinion about it. But federal finances in Canada are very complicated. You need to look at the situation holistically and not all costs are the same. Some are transfers (e.g. EI) and others are money paid for federal services (e.g. military), but people tend to lump all of that together and view every federal dollar spent as a handout.

You also need to have some way to account for the fact that some disparities in tax collection and transfers are due to evenly applied policies and differences in incomes or demographics across the country. For example, one of the federal government's big expenses is old age security. The provinces with the most seniors will get the most in per capita OAS payments. Likewise people with higher incomes pay higher federal income taxes and people who buy more pay more GST. There's no provincial or regional unfairness about that; we are all under the same system.
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