Equalization debate heating up

David Ganong made a speech yesterday, it would seem arguing for more Equalization funding for New Brunswick but I thought his comments or the newspaper’s interpretation of them were confusing. Firstly, Ganong reportedly said:

“… the point is not for the [Equalization] money to directly kick-start the economies of poorer provinces.”

But he concludes that:

“New Brunswickers would rather be on the plus side of this (equalization) equation,” said Mr. Ganong, ” but we should not be ashamed or discouraged until this happens.”

Now, according to Mr. Ganong, Equalization is not ‘designed to kick-start economies’ but we should not be ‘ashamed or discouraged’ about taking more and more Equalization until this [NB on the plus side of Equalization] happens.”

This is confusing to me. We are needing ever increasing amounts of Equalization. However, that is not supposed to support economic development but we miraculous should hold out that some day soon we will be on the plus side of Equalization.

Sorry, Mr. Ganong. We will never be on the plus side of Equalization in your lifetime or mine unless we actually design these programs to support economic development. Your contention that these programs are not designed to kick-start economies may be right but that is a wrong-headed approach.

The Feds should tell New Brunswick that any new Equalization should be directed at economic development measures.

In my opinion.

On a related note:

Klein issues warning on sharing the wealth
Premier threatens to pull province out of revenue-sharing deal with Ottawa

From Thursday’s Globe and Mail

Now, I know that Harper wants to win Quebec – badly but when Ontario and Alberta are pushing back on more lucrative Equalization – I can’t see how he can do it. Any massive infusion of Ontario and Alberta tax dollars to Quebec and by extension NB et. al. through Equalization will lead to a monumental push back.

Stay tuned.