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.
The federal government will send $21.1 billion to Ontario this year.
The gap between richer and poorer provinces has been shrinking.
Since the recession, Queen’s Park has failed to take meaningful action to reform and reduce program spending.
Ontario and Quebec now receive approximately 70 per cent of all equalization payments.
The Ontario government has never made a secret of its desire to have the federal government help fund Ontario’s provincial budget. It even started its own think-tank with $5 million in 2009, which regularly publishes reports that call on the federal government to rescue Ontario’s provincial finances.
Discussing equalization and other federal transfer payments in summer is about as much fun as a root canal in any season. Nevertheless, Ontario Finance Minister Charles Sousa complained recently that the federal government underfunds Ontario.