Thursday, May 25, 2006

Inequality

Ralph Klein has announced Alberta will opt out of equalization if Alberta's oil revenue is included in the formula.

My source in Klein's office has also let me know that Ralph Klein intends to opt out of the following as well:

-UNESCO
-The off-shore accord
-Canada's mission to Afghanistan
-The Ontario teachers pension plan
-The Treaty of Versailles
-The United Federation of Planets


UPDATE: Check out BBG for everything you wanted to know about equalization but were too afraid to ask. I must admit, I agree with his analysis.

45 Comments:

  • Out with a bang. Might as well leave a mess for the next Emperor of Alberta to mop up.

    By Blogger Lord Omar, at 3:02 PM  

  • It seems funny that he wants to violate the constitution by pulling out of equalization. Maybe the rest of the country should violate the constitution and put resources under federal control.

    Also, in Star Trek History, Australia stayed out of the United Federation of Planets for awhile.

    By Blogger Lookout Mountain, at 3:10 PM  

  • He's Crazy. The Ontario Teacher's Pention Plan rocks. We own almost everything.

    By Blogger s.b., at 3:17 PM  

  • HAHAHAH.

    Funneh. :)

    By Blogger Clear Grit, at 3:28 PM  

  • k o - I don't even know how you pull out of equalization. It's a formula and Alberta doesn't pay a cent into equalization. I don't really see how Alberta can proclaim that they refuse to be included in calculations (should Harper decide to include them) since they don't really have a say in it. If anyone could give me some logistics for how you can pull out of equalization, I'd love to hear them.

    More importantly, how did Australia stay out of the UFP?

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 3:36 PM  

  • He won't pull out. He is just doing that to pick a fight with the feds. Whenever he picks a fight with the feds, his numbers go up, so a smart political move in my view.

    By Blogger Miles Lunn, at 3:44 PM  

  • Klein is going to buy the have not provinces and put their people on buses to BC. It worked once before.

    By Blogger GritPatriot, at 4:05 PM  

  • He was already asked once by this hour has 22 minutes if he was in New Brunswick to buy the Province. He walked away and said something insulting at the same time.

    By Blogger s.b., at 4:13 PM  

  • Buy New Brunswick? Well, NB does produce more potatoes than PEI..or so my NB friends tell me.

    Can we then further trade Bernard Lord to Nova Scotia for a ride on the Bluenose II?

    By Blogger JL, at 4:35 PM  

  • He's threatening to withdraw support (as is Sask) for any new plan that includes resources. The only other thing he is saying is that he'll get a legal opinion on the federal gov't being able to include resorces at all or to include it for some and not others.

    The AB Liberal leader is backing his position.

    The AB public still likes him AND wants him put to pasture.

    By Blogger anonymous, at 5:34 PM  

  • withdrawing from the UFP is a dangerous move for Alberta to take.

    Who else would we join? The Romulan Star Empire?

    By Blogger daveberta, at 6:27 PM  

  • If Ralph and Dalton didn't exist Harper would have to invent them.

    Harper:

    "What's been happening in recent years is the federal government just increasingly arbitrarily assigns a number"

    "That doesn't seem to us to be fair".

    "We'll try and, after listening to all these reports, come up with what we think is the most principled and defensible way of proceeding".

    "This is not asking the province of Alberta or the province of Ontario or any other province to make special payments"

    "It's strictly a federal program."

    By Blogger anonymous, at 6:41 PM  

  • True, the Government of Alberta doesn't send the Government of Canada a cheque. It's actually the reverse. But if the Government of Canada reduces the size of the cheque (a cheque it's obligated to send) to the Government of Alberta pursuant to a law the object of which is unconstitutional, Alberta may have a point.

    Section 36 of the Charter commits Alberta to equalization (although in more principled terms than just "equalization). Klein's argument would likely be that if resource revenues were included in the equalization formula, equalization would no longer be equalization but rather wealth-redistribution. There's a bit of sophistry in my paraphrasing, but put another way there's no need to include windfalls or "fiscal capacity" in the calculation of "reasonably comparable levels of services" and "reasonable comparable levels of taxation".

    By Blogger matt, at 7:16 PM  

  • Haha, fools! Leave the Federation and the Cardassians will take over!

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 7:31 PM  

  • We can do without the Federation, thank you very much. Let's get rid of that deadweight, i.e., the rest of Canada. No more handouts for losers.

    By Blogger Werner Patels, at 7:48 PM  

  • The United Federation of Planets?!?

    Okay - now I know you're pulling my leg.

    By Blogger deaner, at 7:58 PM  

  • No more handouts for losers.

    And this from the peanut gallery of a 100 year old province who's only asset is oil. It certainly cannot export much else.

    By Blogger Lord Omar, at 8:52 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger Peter, at 9:12 PM  

  • And this from the peanut gallery of a 100 year old province who's only asset is oil. It certainly cannot export much else.

    That kind of talk produces the interprovincial ill-will that we should all want to avoid.

    By Blogger IslandLiberal, at 10:33 PM  

  • He was already asked once by this hour has 22 minutes if he was in New Brunswick to buy the Province.

    I think it was Newfoundland. 22 Minutes is filmed in Newfoundland, no?

    By Blogger Yining, at 10:56 PM  

  • This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

    By Blogger The Liberal Times, at 11:20 PM  

  • That kind of talk produces the interprovincial ill-will that we should all want to avoid.

    islandliberal,
    Did you not bother to read the obtuse comment made by Werner Patels, M.A that prompted my comment?

    By Blogger Lord Omar, at 11:21 PM  

  • I think it was Newfoundland. 22 Minutes is filmed in Newfoundland, no?

    yining,
    22 Minutes is produced in Halifax, NS.

    By Blogger Lord Omar, at 11:23 PM  

  • Fair enough. I am wrong.

    By Blogger Yining, at 11:44 PM  

  • I guess I was confused because so many of the cast are from Newfoundland.

    By Blogger Yining, at 11:58 PM  

  • Newfoundland is confusing.

    By Blogger daveberta, at 12:43 AM  

  • "And this from the peanut gallery of a 100 year old province who's only asset is oil. It certainly cannot export much else."

    And there's a quantum difference between that and a 139 year old province that sells cars?

    By Blogger matt, at 1:01 AM  

  • obviously if we leave the UFP, we'll join the klingon empire. can't you picture klein wielding a bat'leth?

    By Blogger matticus, at 1:18 AM  

  • I'm disappointed in the level of discussion exhibited here today.

    28 comments and still no one has elaborated on how Australia managed to stay out of the UFP.

    Inquiring minds and enquiring mind-melders need to know!

    By Blogger Lois, at 8:59 AM  

  • I can't find anything on Australia declining the UFP, but I've in just 6 minutes learned that there is probably more information on Star Trek available on the internet than there is on World War II, Salman Rushdie, and Attila the Hun combined!

    By Blogger Lois, at 9:07 AM  

  • looks like a family quarrel between Klein & Haper

    By Blogger Czar Fran├žois, at 9:49 AM  

  • Oh - to actually answer CG's question. Klein could get a court order, which would be a very uphill battle. He could pull a Quebec and pull out of the pension scheme and have Alberta collect its taxes.

    By Blogger matt, at 10:22 AM  

  • While the net effect of equalization amounts to a transfer of money from one province to another, the mechanism of equalization is that the federal government gives money to have-not provinces. Money that comes out of the general fiscal framework of the federal government, i.e. federal taxes etc. While the payments to provinces are based on a formula that uses data on provincial revenues, not one cent of equalization comes from provincial coffers, nor does it come from witheld federal transfers to provinces (sorry matt). it is a purely federal program funded purely by federal dollars. There is no way for a province to 'opt out' of equalization, barring a have-not province refusing the money and refunding it to the feds (like that would happen).

    Not that Klein is per se wrong in opposing changes to equalization: Any enrichment of the program increaes the net fiscal contribution of Albertans and Ontarians, and so is against economic self-interest of residents of those provinces. But all he's doing when he threatens to 'pull out' is being a blowhard.

    By Blogger Ken, at 11:07 AM  

  • Oh my god!

    You know, when they speak about "Western" politics, it's not a homogenous thing. Alberta, or shall I say, Klein, is of his own kind!

    By Blogger Pedro, at 11:32 AM  

  • How did Australia stay out of the UFP? Did they decide they didn't want to be part of earth anymore? Can a country really make that kind of decision?

    By Blogger daveberta, at 11:41 AM  

  • Well, Australia stayed out of the United Earth Government that was set up following the third world war (aka nuclear holocaust). They weren't nuked to hell, and decided why should they help everyone else rebuild?

    If my memory serves me right they joined the United Earth Government ten years after the United Federation of Planets was formed.

    By Blogger Lookout Mountain, at 11:50 AM  

  • I did not know that.

    Kind of goes along with that Flash cartoon where everybody gets nuked except Australia, prompting them to say "WTF, mate?"

    Educational.

    By Blogger Jason Townsend, at 2:07 PM  

  • What a proud day for the Alberta PC and Liberal Parties! Klein threatens to pull out of equalization and Kevin Taft says hooray.

    Liberal Leader Kevin Taft also endorsed the position. "Who knows how it will end, but Ralph Klein is doing the right thing to stand up for Alberta," he said.


    "Klein, is of his own kind!"

    Apparently Klein has friends.

    By Blogger Brian C, at 2:50 PM  

  • Ken: I'm happy to be corrected. Just so I understand, including Alberta resource revenue in the equalization calculation would increase transfers to have-not provinces at the expense of other federal programs?

    By Blogger matt, at 1:52 PM  

  • Has anyone seen this latest fiasco with the don Joe Volpe?
    http://www.ctv.ca/servlet/ArticleNews/story/CTVNews/20060527/volpe_donations_060527/20060527?hub=Canada

    By Blogger Rav, at 1:58 PM  

  • matt; equalization is paid out from the federal government and all provinces making less than the average get cash to bring them up to the average.

    So if you included AB's resource revenue, it would raise the average and therefore the federal government would have to pay out more to other provinces to bring them back to the average.

    So it wouldn't be AB neccesarily paying, but the federal government would have to pay out more, therefore cuting somewhere else.

    Could all be a part of Harper's fiscal imbalance plan.

    By Blogger calgarygrit, at 1:09 PM  

  • From the Star Trek wiki:

    It is a common belief that Australia was the last state to join the United Earth Government in 2150, but Australia holding out was only used by Beverly Crusher as a hypothetical example when discussing the eligibility of the fractured planet Kesprytt with Jean-Luc Picard in TNG: "Attached."

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 12:33 AM  

  • CG:

    "So it wouldn't be AB neccesarily paying, but the federal government would have to pay out more, therefore cuting somewhere else."

    Exactly. My question is where? I just assumed the Alberta-bound funds, but if not then Klein's theoretical lawsuit has no chance, and s. 36 of the Charter doesn't let him pull out of Equalization absent another constitutional violation.

    By Blogger matt, at 5:03 PM  

  • Exactly. My question is where?

    Wherever they want, I suppose. The rule would just dictate that the government has to give more money to the have-nots. The opportunity cost could be higher taxes, lesser tax cuts, reduced federal services, lower debt repayment, etc.

    Thing is, we really wouldn't have any idea which one(s) it was, since (to continue the Star Trek theme) it's an "alternate timeline".

    By Blogger The Invisible Hand, at 1:59 AM  

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