REGINA (CP) - If the Harper government backs away from its election promise to remove oil revenue from the federal equalization formula, Saskatchewan wants a deal with Ottawa outside the program, Premier Lorne Calvert said Thursday.
I must confess, I don't understand why non-renewables shouldn't be included. The suggestion that inclusion is unfair strikes me as counter-intuitive. Equalization makes sure we have common standards throughout the country. If a province is able to provide services through resources, is that not a factor in the equation. The non-renewable argument fails to recognize that when the resource runs out, it is no longer factored in the equation, which should translate into more money coming from Ottawa or less leaving to counter-balance. In fact, equalization is effectively insurance for the long-term, once the resource royalties subside. But in the interim, why should a province hoard its wealth just because the money is from a certain source. What's the difference?
It would seem the provinces with the heaviest emphasis on non-renewables want to fill the coffers unimpeded, as though other economic engines have some other benefit. Is the manufacturing sector infinite, recent trends in Ontario would suggest otherwise? Equalization is wealth is it not, why would we treat view different revenue streams differently? Non-renewables may not last, but isn't equalization fluid, changing with the differing economic states over time? Am I missing something?