I'm tired of reading figures like this:
all the $12.7 billion in “equalization payments” that will be transferred this year through the feds from the three “rich” provinces — Ontario, Alberta and B.C. — to the seven have-nots, Quebec will get 56% of the loot, up from 49% a year ago.
Quebec may have 25% of the population, but it will now be getting 33% of the nearly $50 billion the feds will give in total to all the provinces this year for health, education, social programs and equalization.
This year, the average Canadian taxpayer will send just under $1,000 to Quebec, money that will help pay for cheap government auto insurance, and subsidized $7-a-day child care.
Andrew Coyne, with one of the best anti-fiscal imbalance columns, that puts absurdity into context:
All the provinces are now running surpluses: In the aggregate, they took in $9-billion more than they spent last year. The average provincial debt-to-GDP ratio is less than 20%; Ottawa's debt is still 33% of GDP. Provinces pay 8? of every revenue dollar in debt interest; the feds, 15?.
Is the federal government hogging the available fiscal room? Federal spending, excluding transfers to the provinces, is now just 10% of GDP, versus the provinces' 16%. The same holds true on the revenue side. Federal revenues: 16% of GDP. Provincial revenues (including transfers): 18%. And the gap is widening.
I supported distinct society, I supported the Quebec Liberal "nation" amendment, I will always support Quebec as a unique entity within Canada. Having said that, enough is enough with the Canadian dynamic. The principles of equality, all in it together, are lost, because the reality is Canada has a constant, lingering, knife at it's throat. The rest of the country is held hostage by the desires of one sub-section.
The time has come for English Canada to get its act together, when it comes to separation. Too often, the focus is on appeasement, while the drift continues. Mention the word constitution and people scurry like rats. Everyone is focused on keeping the separatists at bay, tweaking here and there, saying the right things to secure support in a critical electoral province. The interest of the nation, in totality, is compromised as there is disproportionate focus on a one region. This fact has largely contributed to Western alienation, which presents a interesting paradox- the efforts to keep the country together, simultaneously demonstrate why the country doesn't work.
Canada is ridiculous. One province has all the leverage, through the threat of seperation. English Canada is permanently on the defensive, because of that threat, and it is forced to act accordingly, pacification is king. However, despite all the efforts, it leads nowhere, the threat remains, in fact it emboldens it. A seat at UNESCO, only raises stature, allowing for more demands and further "autonomy. Fiscal security only furthers the illusion that separation has little cost, that autonomy can be achieved without ruin. Separatist MP's are viewed as a sign of pride and strength, a permanent fixture in an institution which is supposed to bring the federation together.
The situation is untenable, when one province, by any empiricial measure, receives a great share than the rest. Canada is supposedly a collective, with the idea of equality at the core. Isn't it pathetic, that political considerations create a condition where we have classes of Canadians. That is a nation? No, that is an illusion, and it's about time people accept this fact. The kicker, if you polled Quebecers, I'll bet the majority would still see some disparity in how they are treated within Canada, some latent grips. Canada needs a therapist, or maybe a divorce, seriously.