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Kenney has announced that if he doesn't get a pipeline to an ocean he's going to launch a constitutional challenge against equalisation. He says he doesn't object to equalisation, but the feds have to give Alberta the tools to make the money to pay for it. #abpoli 1/16
In saying this, he is pandering to the (apparently) unshakable misunderstanding many Albertans have about equalisation. There is this perception that Alberta writes a big cheque to Ottawa which Ottawa then turns over to Quebec and other provinces... 2/16
That is not how equalisation works. It does not work that way. Everyone in Canada with a high enough income pays federal income tax. This goes into a big pool of money which is used for all sorts of things. 3/16
Some of it is used to top up the funds in provinces that are not doing as well financially and have no other means to raise more money, so that everyone in Canada has access to the same level of services regardless of where they live. 4/16
Alberta has the most people with really high incomes in Canada. This is why charts make it look like Alberta is shouldering this burden. But it isn't like that. A person in PEI who makes, for example, $200,000 a year contributes exactly the same amount to equalisation... 5/16
as an Albertan who makes $200,000 a year. There's just more people making a lot of money in Alberta than in other places. Alberta, btw, has no provincial sales tax. Therefore, the province has not exhausted its options for funding sources. 6/16
Unless Alberta imposes a provincial sales tax, LIKE EVERY OTHER PROVINCE ALREADY HAS, Alberta is ineligible to receive equalisation payments. Albertans are vehemently opposed to a provincial sales tax, but complain because we don't get equalisation payments. 7/16
You don't get to have it both ways. Alberta has no sales tax, plus the greatest per capita wealth of all the provinces, and complains bitterly about how tough they've got it. Honestly, I find myself reminded of this: 8/16
Anyway, every time Kenney perpetuates the myth that Alberta is supporting the rest of the country, he fans the flames of "Western Alienation". Which, in itself, is mostly a product of decades of right wing governments telling Albertans they are being abused by Ottawa 9/16
And Albertans themselves not realising how good things are economically in Alberta compared with many regions of the country. Kenney is also saying that Albertans do not want to contribute to providing services to other Canadians who are less well off. 10/16
I wonder how he thinks that would look... How does Alberta opt out of equalisation? Does he envision Albertans being exempt from federal income tax? Does he feel the income tax Albertans pay has to go into a separate fund, not to be spent anywhere but in Alberta? 11/16
Beyond trying to appear to be standing up to Trudeau to appease his base, what does Kenney really want from this grandstanding? Will Scheer campaign in Alberta on a promise to get Alberta out of the equalisation program? That won't play well in the rest of Canada... 12/16
Jason Kenney knows any constitutional challenge of the equalisation system is unlikely to go anywhere. It's all grand sounding words, sound and fury, signifying nothing. So, what is his real goal? 13/16
A constitutional challenge would cost Albertans a great deal of money. Public money. Who benefits? And how? Conservatives are very fond of litigation, I recall from the Harper years. 14/16
I suppose they would rather all that money go into the pockets of lawyers than support for the poor and the vulnerable. Earmarking huge wads of cash to pay lawyers comfortably keeps that money tied up and not being used for social programs... 15/16
But other than satisfying a general mean-spiritedness, what is the end-game? I feel it is something more than posturing, positioning himself as the hero. But what? What does Jason Kenney/the UCP/the CPC stand to gain from this? 16/16
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