The two biggest automatic stabilizers from Ottawa are income taxes and employment insurance payments.
Successive governments have increased spending faster than the rate of economic growth or inflation-plus-population.
Equalization makes for a handy scapegoat, but successive Alberta governments have no one to blame but themselves for the province’s fiscal problems.
Jason Kenney, leadership candidate for Alberta’s United Conservative Party, called for reform to Canada’s equalization program.
The gap between richer and poorer provinces has been shrinking.
In a year when two heavyweight provinces, Ontario and Alberta, which together constitute 55 per cent of Canada’s GDP, are running substantial deficits, there are three ways to reduce the red ink.
With the plunge in oil prices over the last six months (and already soft natural gas prices), it’s not headline news to note that provinces heavily dependent on energy-related revenues are suffering.