Ontario Can No Longer Take One for the Team – April 4, 2013
Thirty-five years ago, Ontario premier Bill Davis explained his province’s oversized responsibility for Canadian harmony in a lecture to a group of American college students. Ontario “is sufficiently significant in its economic and political influence that in terms comparable to the United States it would be like combining the states of New York and California,” he said. “Ontarians contribute to our national program of equalization, are blamed for whatever goes wrong and are generally expected to set high standards of national conduct.”
Ontario Unfairly Strained by $11-Billion ‘Fiscal Gap’ – April 3, 2013
Outdated policies that cause Ontario to turn over roughly $11 billion more to the federal government each year than it receives are placing an unfair strain on the province, a public policy think tank said in a report released Monday.
The Provinces are Broke, and We're All on the Hook – February 21, 2013
A spate of bad news Tuesday reminds us that provincial governments, collectively, have a bigger impact on the national economy than Ottawa. By that measure, we’re in some trouble.
Politics Without Romance – January 11, 2013
James Buchanan died on Wednesday, at age 93, and the world lost one of its most creative economic thinkers. Though a free-marketeer to his bones, he made his biggest mark and won the Nobel Prize in 1986 for his work studying economic incentives in government.
Catalonian Calls for Independence Increase – November 26, 2012
Sunday's elections in Catalonia could put the wealthy northern region on a path toward independence, possibly triggering a constitutional crisis in austerity-weary Spain.
Can Only One Man See that Canada's Equalization Program is Broken? – November 1, 2012
No one does a better job than David MacKinnon of revealing what he calls “the tragic consequences” of Canada’s broken equalization program.
Germany’s Federal States: Givers and Takers – October 31, 2012
As they do about once a decade, the Germans are again fighting over their domestic “transfer union,” in which tax revenues are redistributed among the 16 federal Länder (states).
Belgian Vote Reflects Tensions Over Unity – October 15, 2012
Equalization policies now intensify calls for separatism in Belgium. Political tensions run high in Belgium, a federal state consisting of Dutch-speaking Flanders, French-speaking Wallonia and the bilingual Brussels-capital region. The previous general election, in 2010, led to an 18-month political crisis before a government was formed.
Feds Should Fix Equalization – October 10, 2012
Anyone with even a fleeing memory of Saskatchewan's former battles with Ottawa over equalization might consider Premier Brad Wall utterly mad even for mentioning the topic today, let alone express concern about the federal program.
Quebec, Shale Gas and Pandora's Box – October 1, 2012
There were some in Quebec who were thrilled last week when the new Parti Québécois government suggested it would ban the development of the province’s shale gas resources. While this seems to be just another story of a province deciding for or against a development opportunity, a shale gas ban might have larger consequences down the road.
So Much for Equalization Payments – September 17, 2012
Admaston-Bromley Mayor Raye-Anne Briscoe says Ontario really has become a have-not province, as far as federal equalization payments are concerned, but there’s precious little media coverage about it.
Equalization Only Promotes Lazy Spending Habits – August 24, 2012
Equalization doesn't just reward failure. It encourages it. Seven Canadian provinces were chronic recipients of the program from the very beginning and all have been economic and financial underperformers that bleed ambitious young people to more dynamic parts of the country.
Why Germany Shuns Canada’s Debt Model – August 21, 2012
The federal government sends transfers to poorer provincial governments, which spend the money on social programs that would otherwise be beyond their means. Some of those programs – such as Quebec’s daycare and tuition subsidies – are more generous than programs in provinces that don’t qualify for transfers. This is exactly what German taxpayers are warning Ms. Merkel they won’t put up with.
Cost of Revolution – August 13, 2012
Economically, Quebec has lagged behind the richest parts of Canada for many decades. Hence, its tax base is smaller but its welfare programs have been among the most generous in Canada since the 1960s. On its own, Quebec would never have been able to construct such a large welfare state. Thanks to federal transfers, Quebec has been able to live beyond its means for decades.
Bavaria Mulls an End to Solidarity – August 3, 2012
Residents of the country's industrial and financial powerhouse states, particularly Bavaria, resent having to make payments to poorer regions like the city-state of Berlin, which tops the list of transfer recipients, with annual help from its neighbors of €3 billion ($4 billion).
Spoilt West Invites Its Own Decline – June 13, 2012
It is easy and natural to think of the woes of the West's main powers as an economic problem. Because that's the way it is presented to us. And it is economic - at least, superficially. But if you take a step back, what we're really living through is the decline of the West.
WA threat to split from Canberra – May 28, 2012
Premier Colin Barnett says WA will split from Canberra if the Federal Government doesn't reward the state for driving the national economy.
Quebec Students Need Lesson on Equalization – March 12, 2012
It would appear Quebec university students need to learn a lesson on equalization, fairness and pulling their own weight. Frankly, so does Premier Jean Charest and the rest of the province as well.
The Coming War of the ‘Have-Nots’ – February 24, 2012
Caterpillar’s closure of t he Electro-motive Diesel plant in London, Ont., is troubling, not just because of the loss of 465 wellpaid jobs, but also for what it says about Ontario’s ability to compete for manufacturing jobs.
A Flawed Formula – February 10, 2012
Ottawa’s equalization scheme, under which the federal government gives money to “havenot” provinces so that they can provide roughly comparable levels of public services as found in “have” provinces at roughly comparable levels of taxation, is a little more than 50 years old.