Tag: Fiscal transfers

The equalization history that Jason Kenney likes to forget

There was a predictable skirmish over the federal equalization program last week after Finance Canada announced the details of transfer payments to the provinces for 2019-20. The fact that Quebec received a $1.4 billion increase in equalization may have been enough in normal times to attract some negative comment from politicians whose provinces do not receive equalization. But these are not normal times and even though Parliament renewed equalization to 2024 earlier this year, the program is not likely to disappear as an issue. Alberta is facing an election in the coming months amid angst over low oil prices...

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Harper budget makes pre-emptive strike against provincial complaints

During his reign, Stephen Harper has famously refused to meet with provincial Premiers as a group, thereby consigning  the federal-provincial first ministers’ conference to the political remainder bin along with other quaint last-century ideas like regional development and  equal public services at equal rates of taxation. But that hasn’t stopped him from some by proxy rattling of his sabre in the direction of provincial leaders. Last week’s federal budget was essentially a very long and detailed campaign platform that avoided any mention of national unity or inter-regional equity. Aside from some self-congratulation about increased transfers to the provinces for...

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As provinces tighten the screws, federal budget will help the better off

The Harper government’s disdain for provincial governments and the public services they provide to their citizens is on full view as the budget season in Canada rolls along. Last week the feds finally announced April 21 as budget day in Ottawa. We already have a glimpse of several of that budget’s expected features – income splitting, higher caps on tax free savings accounts (TFSAs) and richer child care benefits. The first two measures have been studied and declared to be perks for higher income earners, while the child care plan will transfer a few billion in benefits to people...

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Stop the Silent Surrender

At the risk of harping on a theme, I continue to be frustrated by the unwillingness of Nova Scotia’s  political, business and media elites to hold federal governments accountable for their contribution to the state that we are in. Granted, those elites tend to exaggerate the direness of our straits. As pointed out in earlier posts, levels of debt, deficit and public spending in the province hardly deserve the “now or never” rhetoric we have been subjected to over the last year or so. But that doesn’t mean it’s all good. Employment in Nova Scotia in 2014 averaged 447,600,...

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Richard Starr, The man behind the Point

About Richard

RICHARD STARR has had careers as a journalist, public servant, broadcaster, political staffer and freelance policy adviser. He is author of numerous newspaper and magazine articles, appearing in everything from Atlantic Insight to Atlantic Progress. A lifelong student of Maritime history, Starr is married to playwright and former MP Wendy Lill. They live in Dartmouth.

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