It is time Alberta is treated fairly. In a press conference in Calgary, Conservative leader Erin O’Toole announced his plan to end the mistreatment of Western Canadians under this federal government by making changes to the equalization formula and the Fiscal Stabilization Program, a program created in 1967 to provide support to provincial governments when they experience a sudden and significant drop in revenue.
Since 1987, these rebates have been capped, initially at a maximum of $60 per person. This cap has harmed Albertans significantly. When Alberta went through a tough economic situation in 2015-2017, made worse by the anti-energy policies of the Liberal government, we received almost no help from this program. Think about it: we have contributed more than $600 billion to Canada since 1967, yet Alberta, along with the rest of Western Canada, has not been afforded the support when we needed it. In 2018, the unfair Equalization formula was extended by Trudeau for five years without any consideration of the massive revenue drop Alberta experienced from 2014-2018. The extension was done without any approvals from the provinces and without a proper debate in Parliament. Every single Alberta Liberal MP betrayed Alberta’s interest by voting for this.
The need for reform is critical, and our party leader’s support for the deal is the right step at the right time. Drawing significantly from my colleague Tom Kmiec’s Private Member’s Bill “the Equalization Payments and Transfers Act”, which I seconded in the House, the policy will do the following:
- Remove the per-person payout cap.
- Lower the revenue decline threshold so that it is triggered at 3% rather than the current 5%.
- Lower the resource revenue decline threshold so that it is triggered at 40% rather than the current 50%.
- Make these changes retroactive to 2015.
This would benefit all provinces, but it will benefit Alberta the most. It is expected that these changes would mean up to an extra $5 billion for the provinces immediately, including approximately $4 billion for Alberta. This figure includes the retroactive payments for the 2015-16 and 2016-17 fiscal years during which Alberta suffered significant economic challenges. Our federation should mean being there for one another in good times, but also in challenging times. For the last six years, the Liberal government has looked for every excuse to attack Albertans. It’s time for that to change. This is a first step in restoring fairness for Albertans in Confederation, and there will be more to come.
Liberals once again under investigation
Does this come as a surprise to anyone? There is yet another Liberal scandal that has emerged into the public view. This time, they were caught using taxpayer dollars to subsidize their political data gathering. The Ethics Committee tried to investigate this but the Trudeau Liberals blocked it, as they do with all of his ethic violations. Almost all Liberal MPs are using taxpayers’ dollars to pay for software from Data Sciences and NGP VAN – the same company that runs the Liberals political data list of donors, supporters, etc. Interestingly, Data Sciences is run by a childhood friend of Justin Trudeau’s, Tom Pitfield, who has held senior positions within Liberal campaigns. Mr. Pitfield is also the husband of the former president of the Liberal Party of Canada. Is it really a coincidence at this point?
New Farmer’s Market in the West End
I was pleased to be at the opening of a new farmer’s market at Saints Church earlier this month, along with Sarah Hamilton, Kaycee Madu, and Michael Oshry. It is a great way to support local food trucks and food and craft vendors. I hope you all get a chance to check them out on Sundays from 12:30 to 4:30.
In Case You Missed It
The federal ethics commissioner Mario Dion is reviewing a request from Conservative MP Michael Barrett to investigate the Prime Minister over the Data Sciences payments of $100,000 to his childhood friend. (link)
An independent panel found that Canada’s early warning pandemic system was understaffed and had lacked coordinated surveillance in the four years leading up to the COVID-19 pandemic (link)
The Bank of Canada revised its economic outlook, forecasting a reduced economic growth for the year and inflation to stay above targets until 2024 (link)
Mary Simon has been nominated to be the first Indigenous Governor-General in Canada. She will be sworn into her role on July 26 (link)
Embattled former Chief of Defence, General Jonathan Vance, has been charged with one count of obstruction of justice following an investigation by military police (link)
I have been traveling around the riding for the past few weeks, knocking on doors to speak to constituents and meeting seniors for ice cream and barbecue events. I have had the opportunity to speak to many at the doors about a potential upcoming election, while also doing my best to provide some good spirit to seniors who have been under lockdown for the past year. Thank you to the Westend Seniors Center and the seniors’ homes for being gracious hosts!
In your service,
Member of Parliament for Edmonton West