Canada’s provinces are not created equal. There are tremendous disparities in size, wealth and endowment of natural resources among them. For instance, Ontario’s population is over 14 million and its GDP more than $744 Billion, while Prince Edward Island has a population of 154 thousand and a GDP of $6 Billion. The wide gulf between Ontario’s fiscal capacity and that of PEI exemplifies the need for Equalization payments which are an attempt to level the playing field.
The purpose of the Equalization grants is to ensure that all Canadians, including those living in “have-not” provinces, will have access to reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation. The program is enshrined in the constitution. While there is strong support for the principle of equalization, there are a number of misconceptions about how it is funded which are raising concerns.
The talk will demystify a very complex topic which, apparently, only 30 people in Canada understand! It will explain what Equalization is intended to do, how it is funded and evaluate its strengths and weaknesses. It will argue that the process by which the formula is arrived at must be de-politicized so that it cannot be used for partisan purposes by the federal government of the day.
Dr. Doreen Barrie
Dr. Doreen Barrie is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department at the University of Calgary.
Her Ph.D. dissertation was a comparison of Canadian and Australian federalism. Her publications include a textbook she co-authoredCanadian Politics Today: Democracy, Diversity & Good Government, a book The Other Alberta: Decoding a Political Enigma and a biography on former Premier Ralph Klein for the book Alberta Premiers of the Twentieth Century. She has a keen interest in political literacy and has produced citizens’ guides on topics that include health care and the parliamentary system. She was the first Canadian President of the Western Social Science Association in the United States.
7pm, August 12th, 2020.
Webinar link to follow via email