65 Comments

  • If you expand your research, you’ll find that Alberta’s per capita GDP is the third highest in the world at $85000, behind only Qatar and Luxembourg. You will also discover that of the $400 billion that has been distributed through equalization, Alberta’s share has been $92 million. That’s 0.0002% while Quebec’s share is 50.5%. Ontario has received about 4.2%. My party will reverse these inequities soon. Like us on Facebook. Have a nice day.

  • Awfully convenient that the author manages to leave out any information regarding how much each province receives vs how much they contribute.

    An example: every province puts money into a giant hat, the provinces then go and take money back out. A lot of the Eastern provinces pull out more than they put in and when Alberta reaches in the pot it is empty. Now Alberta is asking for help after the decades of reaching into the empty pot and saying that they have been giving the other provinces billions. The author is saying that Alberta hasn’t given other provinces anything since it’s the Hats money.

    No politician is saying that Alberta is literally handing over a cheque to Quebec but the result of the equalization program with the Federal Government middle-man is effectively the same.

    • What your missing out on is the fact that Alberta or any province does not pay into equalization. Taxpayers do. It matters not if that tax payer is an Alberta or any province. Provinces with the largest population, effectively contribute more because they have the largest amount of taxpayers. All this rhetoric from Alberta is meaningless other than it points out how ignorant they are to how things really work.

      • It’s seems like you actually have no idea how it works.

        Alberta, as a sum of all the people living and working in Alberta, pays Federal taxes and a portion of those taxes goes towards equalization. That money is then distributed on a BY PROVINCE basis. Many provinces get back more than they put in while Alberta almost never does.

        Albertans are paying Federal Taxes that are being given to other provinces. Albertans have payed billions into the equalization program and have gotten very little back. Those are facts.

        It does not matter how many taxpayers there are, it matters what the net result is. Ontario pays more into equalization than Alberta because it has 10 million more people BUT it gets ALL the money it put in BACK and then some EXTRA. Alberta, for decades, has been getting nothing back. These are facts you cannot deny.

        • Ahhh false? Ontario gets back far far less than it pays in. Ontario covers roughly 40% of all federal revenue, thus they cover about 40% of all equalization payments. They get no ware near 40% of the equalisation payments. In fact the net difference ( % paid in vs. % given back) Ontario has a bigger equalization deficit then any other province even when accounting for Alberta getting 0 back

        • Bravo Garry , you are right. As autor of articles Richard Acuña , director of Parkland Institute, Alberta Socialist agency portraiting just one side of coin to fill full best wishes of his Socialist and Globalist Govermant

      • Actually, as the author pointed out, the amount going in to the pool is not soley based on population size, but rather it is based on total income capability for the people in the province. Even though there are more people in Ontario, per capita, Alberta is contributing more per person.

  • So by your logic, equalization payments come from personal federal income tax payments which are based on income. Albertans pay the same federal taxes, but the alberta oil industry , in good times is a huge contributor to Canadas economy because the wealth generated by oil in Alberta is divided among the provinces to make things equal. We Albertans get that.
    What we have a problem with is the inability to get our oil to market. The safest way to do that is proven to be pipelines. We live in a country facing serious economic challenges both provincially and federally and Alberta oil could drastically change that outlook but not without the cooperation of the rest of the country that seems to forget we have all benefitted from Alberta oil for a long long time.

    • Seems the Vue author forgot about Corporate taxes – what they don’t contribute to equalization payments ? Give your head a shake. Corporate taxes are as high as 47% now. And if Oil & Gas accounts for 40%+ of Canada’s revenue it sounds pretty important to me. Not a lot of point in trying to reason with someone that deals with partial truth.

      • If/when Alberta separates, the amount of money not sent to Ottawa… can become a much more attractive incentive to have pipelines go through their provinces when they can see the the direct result in the cost of not being a partner in getting oil to market. Vs. Seeing revenue based upon providing safe passage of pipelines through their provinces. Partners get paid, parasites get cut off.

    • We Albertans need to diversify our economy and get out of the carbon business. We have no right to keep living off the stuff that’s threatens our entire species.

  • What a ridiculous argument. That’s like saying if a group of 12 goes out for pizza, and they all pay $20, but one eats only 1 piece, while the other gets 5 slices, they are all being treated equally! What rubbish.

    Furthermore, the author contradicts his whole point in the title, by stating that Ontario contributes “MORE” than Alberta. Say what?? How does one contribute MORE if it is supposedly equal??

    The mind numbing logic of the left.

    • The contributions themselves are not equal. However, once paid, they equalize how much each provincial government has to spend on each of its citizens.

      The mind numbing stupidity of the right.

    • Harry, the answer to your question is clearly articulated by the author. Ontario contributes more because there are many, many more people in Ontario. We’re not talking per capita, we’re talking total amounts. Put another way, if there were 100 people in Ontario contributing $50 each then that adds up to $5000. Comparatively, there would be about 20 people in Alberta also contributing $50 each. That adds up to only $1000.
      Yes, the oil companies in Alberta also contribute tax dollars but so do many, many more Ontario companies…including most of the big banks.
      Hope that helps.
      The have-not provinces therefore actually receive more money from Ontario than they do from Alberta.

    • I guess math is hard. Let’s try again. Ontario has several times the population of Alberta. Even if the average income tax bill in Ontario is smaller than in Alberta, the larger population means they still contribute more as a block. Several times more.

  • Awesome post. I’ve been making the same argument (i.e. that equalization payments are a federal program ensuring equality of access to services for all Canadians) to anyone who will listen. If you look at the numbers, you’ll also find that in 2014, when oil was high, Alberta only contributed about 17% to our national GDP, roughly the same as Quebec. Ontario meanwhile contributed about 35%.

    Albertans need to wake up and realize all the Conservative hype about oil carrying Canada’s economy was pandering to the base, nohing more.

    • You overlook the fact that Alberta has half the population of Quebec (generating the same GDP by your figures) and a third the population of Ontario (with half the GDP again using your figures).
      So what you’re saying doesn’t come close to stacking up.

    • Alberta’s Oil and Gas industry is the the biggest wealth producing industry in Canada. [and don’t forget… Alberta has many more rich industries]. Thought everyone knew that.

  • Jackie is exactly right.
    Because Albertans have a higher earning capacity, we put more dollars into federation – way more dollars, the country as a whole has benefited greatly.
    I wonder what the rhetoric will be if suddenly Alberta begins to benefit because our economy is struggling. When Alberta starts “taking” from the pot we used to fill then the country as a whole will suffer.
    Given that the spirit of equalization payments is that “rising waters float all boats” wouldn’t Quebec benefit if Alberta were able to get their oil to customers quicker, safer and less expensively?

  • Even if that’s true and none of Alberta’s royalty revenues is taken out of province to pay other provinces it still doesn’t excuse the leadership of other provinces that continue to steer their own provinces down the path of debt destruction. If we were to think of Canada as a company and each province as a division of that company, what kind of executive team would allow certain divisions to go decades running a loss without a single plan to increase revenues.

    I am 100% for the sharing of wealth to all Canadians as it is Canadian wealth. However it pains me to see certain provinces not doing their best to increase their own welfare and instead being happily ignorant and blissful that they do not have to run a surplus or attempt to steer themselves towards better revenue paths.

    • Your comment implies that you know a lot about Quebec’s policies.
      Type “Quebec” and “austerity” in Google. You’ll be surprised. As well, the whole daycare program has changed quite a lot. If you care about facts, look them up. Otherwise, it’s just cheerleading.

  • This article is beyond moronic. Are you so stupid to not understand the concept of “how much you put in vs. how much you take out”, and how that relates to Alberta vs. other provinces (Quebec, mostly). It’s sad that this garbage gets published, because some brainless knuckleheads are going to read the title and take it as truth.

  • Québec’s population’s annual income tax contribution to Canada = roughly $55 billion.
    Québec’s annual “income” from Equalization payments = roughly $10 billion.

  • What a joke; this is the quality of research from a publicly funded ‘research’ institute? Technically of course, it is correct to say that Alberta government does not pay equalization, but it is damn sure that Alberta citizens and businesses pay for equalization disproportionately PER CAPITA through federal taxes.

  • A lot of misunderstanding and semantics used to cloud the debate on equalisation in Canada. My biggest issues with equalisation are;
    1) The only way to judge the fairness of equalisation is on a per-capita basis. Alberta has half the population of Quebec, and a third the population of Ontario, which hugely distorts a lot of the figures you see posted in memes based on bad stats. Ie: although Quebec received the largest benefits in 2013/14, on a per capital basis Quebec received less than half of PEI or New Brunswick, and less than Manitoba, Ontario, and Nova Scotia.
    2) The calculation of equalisation doesn’t take into account all sources of revenue. Whilst Alberta’s petroleum industry is used in the calculation, Quebec’s hydro-electric industry is not. This drastically understates Quebec’s GDP and allows them to receive more subsidies (equalisation payments) than they would otherwise be entitled to. Coincidentally, Hydro Quebec’s profits of C$5.18b, are comparable to Alberta’s oil sands royalties of C$5.05b in 2014. These figures aren’t direct comparisons no doubt, but nonetheless Alberta’s oil industry is counted in equalisation calculations, whereas Quebec’s hydro-electric is not.

    That said, this article seems to overlook the fact that the money for equalisation doesn’t come from the sky – it came from Canadians in the first place. So saying things like “the Alberta government does not actually send money to have-not provinces like Quebec” is disingenuous and glosses over the fact that Western GDP is used to subsidise under-performing Eastern economies, broadly speaking. The opposite has also been true (in the case of Ontario, which until recently was a “have” province) nonetheless it’s more than fair to say that some provinces contribute and some receive.

    • Craig, yours is about the most accurate comment. It is true that the hydro earnings from Quebec is not calculated in the formula and therefore, Quebec is not playing fair. But then when have they ever played fair in any part of their relationship with the other provinces? The 1982 Constitution is the document created to allow Quebec to shaft the other provinces because Quebecer P.E. Trudeau wrote it so that his policy of wealth redistribution fits with his socialist mentality & the whole thing benefits Quebec & the other Eastern Canadian provinces.

  • Not to mention that Ontario has been RECEIVING equalization, rather than contributing, in the last few years. At least use past tenses in describing this, Ricardo, or are you just clueless?

  • However you spin it, it all comes down to a single basic fact:

    Quebec and Ontario are leeches, two parasitic provinces that are more a burden than an asset to the country as a whole.

  • Um way to go people missing the entire point once again. People ALREADY pay taxes. This isn’t some big cash grab on TOP of the taxes we already pay. Or are you just that clueless?

    And it’s often people like you who complain about entitlement: y’know getting something for nothing. Well what do you call cutting spending on the backs of low income people while refusing to pay taxes to have all those nice things if you CAN pay? If that isn’t entitlement I don’t know WHAT is.

    And seriously complaining about Quebecois funding provincial daycare with their tax dollars so low income people can work just like the rest of the income classes without having to rely on welfare subsidies (that people just like you already complain so much about. So hypocritical) should give you more impetus to employ our own options on subsidized daycare. NOT yet again deny options to other people so you can have something for nothing once more.

    Also Brad Wall? Complains about what he believes to be the cash grab and ‘wasteful management of money’ from equalization yet with the same entitlement that is displayed by many on here goes begging, hat in hand, for money that he hasn’t earned when HE’S, or the province is, the one who all of a sudden needs the money. Despicable.

    Then too there is the fact that with oil and gas outputs there are costs associated with it THAT ARE NOT associated with hydro generation. But everyone in their rush to defend the Conservative regime conveniently forgets to mention THOSE facts. Quelle surprise.

    Ricardo I must congratulate you for providing such an excellent takedown as per your usual style of entitled know nothings but there are, as has been demonstrated so clearly here, some who will always refuse to get it no matter how much logic you use.

  • Well since Taxpayers live in Alberta and make the highest incomes per in the country How is it YOU think We As Albertans Are Not Paying the Most Use Some Critical thinking It Doesn’t Matter if We Pay Equalization Directly from Our Personal Federal taxes or if We actually paid it As a Province ITS THE SAME THING WE STILL HAVE BEEN PAYING BILLIONS MORE – I say this as an average Alberta Tax Payer, Voter and supporter of The Alberta NDP

    • Ontario and Quebec’s populations combined equate to 62% of Canada, and you think AB contributes more? Head must be so far in the sand.

  • I get pretty frustrated as well as darn mad reading many of these posts where people twist things to suit their own arguments. I spent the first 19 years of my life in Ontario then moved to Alberta where I knew no one for work. That was 42 years ago. Equalization payments were not much of an issue for me over those years. But the rants on here are ridiculous.

    Fact, Albertans are the only people who have never received any money from the program in the last 50 years.

    Fact, the feds charge all Canadians taxes to cover equalization payments. Without those payments our taxes would be much lower. So yes, we are paying for equalization.

    Fact, due to higher GDP per person in Alberta this province pays the highest per capita into the program.

    Fact, GDP is based on the revenue each province can generate based on personal income tax, corporate tax, sales tax, property tax and 50 per cent of resource revenues. So oil sales do impact our payments.

    Fact, hydroelectric income is not part of the GDP and it should be.

    Fact, the US pays a large discount for Alberta oil because they know we are incapable of shipping it any where else. If the energy east pipeline was built profits on existing sales as well as increased sales would greatly increase the GDP of some western provinces which would mean more money into equalization and larger payments to other provinces.

    Fact, Quebec’s environmental concerns only seem to apply to things with the name Canada attached to it. See these links:

    http://www.macleans.ca/news/canada/in-quebec-a-government-supported-cement-factory-encased-in-hypocrisy/

    http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/montreal/all-the-quebec-municipalities-that-dump-sewage-in-rivers-1.3286562

    Alberta has pipelines all over the place and we are not an environmental disaster area like most seem to believe they create. See pipeline map.
    http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2115/2834565578_9bcf0ffdf6.jpg

    Fact, you do not need to be conservative, so called righty to see how this can benefit all of Canada.

    Here is more on equalization:

    http://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2015/08/27/oil-price-plunge-could-cost-ontario-billions-in-equalization_n_8047470.html

  • While it is true that provinces don’t “pay” directly into equalization, this article completely ignores the fact that Alberta gets $15,000 less per family of 4 in annual federal spending than it contributes in federal taxes. This is where the equalization money comes from. Quebec, on the other hand, gets about $7000 more in federal spending and equalization payments than it contributes in taxes. Ontario contributes more than Alberta overall because their 12 million people pay more total federal tax than Alberta’s 4 million do, but the federal tax paid to federal spending ratio in Ontario is close to equal (hence it is close to the line between “have” and “have not”).

    This article is complete garbage, and is propoganda meant to drive a wedge between the west and central Canada. Don’t believe this crap.

  • Between 2000 & 2014, Alberta taxpayers remitted ~$200 Billion (net) to the federal government. That’s after you account for what we received back in the form of transfers, federal spending, etc. $200 billion. I don’t know why it’s difficult for people to understand the anger that some Albertans feel about that during the worst recession the province has seen in most of our lifetimes. The lack of any visible, tangible response to the crisis here on the part of the federal government fuels it.

    Source: http://edmontonjournal.com/opinion/columnists/gary-lamphier-how-much-money-has-flowed-out-of-alberta-to-ottawa-a-lot

    • Just to add to that, I’m not suggesting that other provinces don’t also contribute. Ontario, for instance, also contributes a ton. More than Alberta (though not more per capita, as others have pointed out). The difference, of course, is that when something goes wrong in Ontario, the response is swift. The GM bailout, for instance. To be clear, I’m not saying that shouldn’t have happened. Something similar ought to happen in AB and Saskatchewan too…but the political will to do something of that nature is quite apparently lacking.

  • Ontario & Que. double population comparing to Alberta? So what? That means there should be double the income, jobs & production from these provinces, as well!!! So therefore if the play the game right, each province should acquire & maintain it’s own wealth to sustain themselves!!! No province should have to steal from another guy to exist!

  • Most of the comments here are perfectly to the point . But to all those who refuse to understand the basics is just like to ask them to look up the definition of “equalization”.

  • The facts are as follows: Ontario is now a have-not, along with Quebec, with a huge debt. It is unlikely it will ever get out of the fiscal hole it has dug itself after electing one basket-case gov’t after another. Suckers for punishment, Ontario seems to love having its economy beaten into the ground. I can predict with absolute certainty that Alberta’s one term election of socialists will be enough to guarantee we will return to another half century of political and fiscal sanity.

    • Excuse me, but didn’t the Previous Conservative Government run the Province into the ground with their own fiscal policies? I don’t see why we just don’t blame both. Politicians want to get elected. When they’re out they blame the other for the current position of the Goverments fiscal problems. The NDP need one more term, then boot them out and put someone else in. Otherside the ‘Blame Game’ doesn’t work well enough. ( Look in the Mirror! Ha! Ha!)

  • So why are there so many people from Ontario and other provinces working in Alberta lol, also if you look at other countries with states like Alaska they don’t have the downturn in economies like Alberta because the U.S doesn’t have equalization policies lol. They also don’t have a high population of people that do nothing like Ontario

  • I believe that the issue with Montreal is that their mayor specifically said there is not enough in it for Montreal which goes against the entire Commonwealth scheme we have going in Canada.
    As far as oil money not going to the other provinces The fiscal capacity of the provinces is determined by measuring their revenue from five general sources. Those revenue categories are:

    Personal income taxes
    Business income taxes
    Consumption taxes
    Up to 50 percent of natural resource revenue (Oil)
    Property taxes and miscellaneous

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