Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Harpers NEP

I don't expect to see as much outrage over this new NEP in Alberta,as I do over Dion's pronoucements over the weekend on how Tax Credits to Big Oil is somehow the newest threat to Alberta.

Call me sceptical, call me a lifelong Albertan, but the True Blue Tory types in Alberta will deny, deny, deny this is a new NEP. Well it is.

MONTREAL -- Prime Minister Stephen Harper is poised to pre sent a solution to the so-called fiscal imbalance between the federal government and the provinces, the French-language network of the CBC reported Monday.

The plan will be part of the next federal budget, which will be tabled toward the end of March, which is later than usual, Radio-Canada said. The TV network later reported the budget would be tabled March 20.

The proposal would exempt 50 per cent of revenues from natural resources rather than the 100 per cent previously promised to Saskatchewan, Radio-Canada said.

Under the proposed plan, Quebec would get a total of $7 billion instead of the $5.5 billion in transfers it now gets.

Saskatchewan would get only $200 million instead of the $800 million it is awaiting.

Harper would be accepting the recommendations of a report ordered by the federal government last year which suggested that half the revenues of the provinces drawn from natural resources be included in the calculation of equalization payments.

'The Conservatives campaigned hard on saying they would remove natural resources from the equation. …This is an absolute betrayal of what their election promise was.'-Saskatchewan Finance Minister Andrew Thomson

Alberta Premier Ed Stelmach said it was speculative to comment on whether Ottawa intends to alter the formulas, but Albertans were already paying their fair share into confederation.
And of course this would be fair for all of Canada, that is Ontario and Quebec, whose largest natural resource cash cow; hydro will not be touched.





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1 comment:

Werner Patels said...

All I can say is, and I am not taking any sides right now, that I see bad things happening very soon. This whole equalization and "fiscal imbalance" thing will set off an avalanche of events Harper and everyone else in the country will wish they hadn't kicked off.