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Québec and Equalization

Via Paul Wells, I read that Paul Martin has presented his version of the case for federalism to the Montreal Gazette editorial board.

While I would applaud attempts to bring a dose of reality to believers in the "fiscal imbalance", I find it unfortunate that Martin had to resort to untruths to do it. The Gazette quotes him as saying:

The equalization payments that Quebec receives are being paid by Alberta, Ontario and British Columbia and probably this year Saskatchewan.

But it's not true.

The equalization payments that Quebec receives are being paid by all taxpayers across Canada, even those in have-not provinces. By my estimation, Quebec residents and corporations pay 20.6% of the nationwide cost of equalization.

My earlier article didn't include per captia numbers, so I'll post them here. The net inflow/outflow of equalization for fiscal year 2004-05, per capita, works out to something like this:

  • PEI: + $1,784
  • NB: + $1,530
  • NL: + $1,224
  • NS: + $1,141
  • MB: + $1,108
  • SK: + $367
  • QC: + $257
  • BC: - $158
  • ON: - $346
  • AB: - $547

(Which is all based on some assumptions and estimations explained in the original post.)

All in all however, if your heart is really set on sovereignty, $257 per person per year probably isn't such a big deal. (Not that that is the only argument against it.)

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