May 18th, 2024

Promoting false narrative on equalization is unethical

By Letter to the Editor on October 29, 2021.

A vote against equalization is a vote against quality free public education in Canada, the best determinant of upward mobility.
Provincial equalization payments help ensure per student education funding is similar across the country. In 1974 revenues for school taxes were brought into the complicated equalization formula. In 1982, Canada amended the constitution to entrench equalization and ensure all Canadians have reasonably comparable public services.
Though Canada ranks among top OECD countries for education systems, socioeconomic disparity limits outcomes. It is hard to learn if you are hungry. Though equitable school funding isn’t the only service equalization payments provide, it is the most important.
I was disappointed the Oct. 7 and Oct. 20 Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF) Lethbridge Herald columns did not explain the equalization formula. After all, this non-profit charitable organization has a $5 million plus budget to employ qualified people.
Both columns spout the same rhetoric against the present federal government and complaints about Alberta not getting its fair share, you hear in any coffee shop talk by folks not understanding equalization. This also begs the question of who funds the CTF and the benefits funders reap to promote financial disparity in Canada.
If the CTF really wants to reduce taxes, shouldn’t the CTF redirect donations to projects to reduce provincial costs?
I was disappointed also in Lethbridge East MLA, Nathan Neudorf’s, Oct. 8 column which said “equalization process has been pulling billions of dollars out of our province …and funneling that money into provinces…”.
No, Nathan, all people submit federal taxes and, a portion of the total, based on previous fiscal periods, is transferred via equalization payments. Why does the UCP government not properly educate the public before posing a referendum, instead promoting disinformation and fomenting dissent?
Fact 1 is Albertans pay the lowest tax in Canada. Fact 2 is Albertans have the highest average income in Canada. Fact 3 is our federal government receives more revenue from B.C., Ont. and PQ than Alberta by virtue of higher populations. Promoting a false narrative by focusing on per capita revenue from Alberta is unethical.
A province that funds a $30 million War Room against a mythical enemy, squanders $1.6 billion on a pipeline to nowhere, cuts corporate tax revenue, and cancels Alberta’s carbon tax program that would provide renewable energy investment, should perhaps look inward before demanding more money to waste.
Barb Goertzen

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Kal Itea

Well written, Barb
A majority of Albertans dont know how to spell equalization, nor do they know what the formula is all about.
Kenney and his UCP followers are appealing to the ill-informed on the Right to get every vote they can.
For sure, the UCP and Kenney will not win the next election.
Sadly the old PC party of Lougheed is a ghost.
Happy Halloween!

Southern Albertan

Agreed! The equalization formula monies are geared toward folks in Canada with the lowest individual income. Kenney, et al, know, that if more monies are desired to be left in Alberta, more fair taxation must be done here with, everyone, paying their fair share, which includes, realistically, a PST, and not a low 8% corporate tax rate. The rest of the country is not going to agree to changing the equalization formula without Alberta proving, to taking concrete action to show, that there is seriousness re: creating more equal wealth distribution in Canada. There’s nothing like the money, with greed, attitude, eh?

Fedup Conservative

All you have to do is look to the facts. Thanks to these damn Reformers starting with Ralph Klein we have lost hundreds of billions of dollars in wealth. Alaska Permanent Fund is now valued at $80 billion , yet their oil production is far lower than Alberta’s and every man woman, and child has received some $46,000. each since 1982 in total oil dividend cheques. It proves how badly Albertans have been screwed by these Reformers. .


So true Fedup, but at some point I think you have to recognize that the “Reformers” are now interchangeable with the conservatives.

Fedup Conservative

The true conservatives I knew from the Lougheed era were furious with what Klein did to us and them using Reform Party Policies. They made it clear that allowing these Reformers to join the Conservative Party was really stupid, after all they considered them their enemies.
It didn’t surprise them that Reformers Steven Harper, Preston Manning, Brian Jean, Danielle Smith, Jim Prentice, and Andrew Scheer had all been defeated in elections. I bet they would have included Erin O’Toole in that group. Sadly the ones I knew have all passed on.


Delightfully accurate letter Barb. Much appreciated.


Contrary to the usual commentators posting here, the letter writer is uninformed on the details of the equalization program . It is interesting to note that Albertans are not alone in their opposition to this flawed system.

Fedup Conservative

So while Jason Kenney continues to give away billions in oil royalties and cuts $9.4 billion off our corporate taxes to benefit his rich friends you think the rest of Canada should make up this difference by giving us equalization payments. How stupid do you think they are?