Wednesday, January 17, 2007

SK down, QC up - ON... still paying the bill.

Harper's trial balloon for equalisation is peeking out and it looks like $1.5bn more for Quebec and $600 million less for Saskatchewan. This is achieved by only counting 50% of resource revenues. Now SK might complain that other provinces benefited more or less in the past but the 50% is ridiculous. Resource revenue should be counted the same as everything else. Transitional equalisation payments rather than immediate clawback should be a function of equalisation rather than of how provincial revenues are counted. The effect is the same but the sense of fiddling with the system is removed.

This is how structural funds work in the European Union. Ireland still managed to draw down quite a bit after we approached 100% of average EU GDP by use of regionalisation due to disproportionate economic growth in certain areas like the east coast.

Like the income trust tax, the 100% exemption for Saskatchewan was a bad promise but it's a pity the Tories couldn't be similarly daring in this volte face. As for Quebec, the least they could do is put signs with trilliums (the old ones not the Liberal ones) outside their $7/day daycares.
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