Alberta fed up with the Robin Hood routine

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grammafreddy
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Alberta fed up with the Robin Hood routine

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http://network.nationalpost.com/NP/blog ... utine.aspx


Alberta fed up with the Robin Hood routine

Posted: March 12, 2010, 4:50 PM by NP Editor

When the billions flowed as a hefty budget surplus, Albertans didn't mind subsidizing a better life for poorer provinces.

Petro-dollars helped Nova Scotia become the national leader in physicians per capita, gave Quebec students the lowest-anywhere tuitions, created unrivaled regulated daycare space in Prince Edward Island and gave New Brunswick the bucks to hire plentiful nurses.

So lucrative has the transfer of wealth become that, according to an excellent new analysis by the Frontier Centre for Public Policy, the less fortunate provinces now outperform almighty Alberta in delivering almost all services, including health care and the cost of post-secondary education.

In the good times, it was shrugged off as the price of Confederation. Easy come, easy go, it seemed.

But Alberta's deep in deficit doo-doo -- and it's had enough.

The increasingly perverse equalization formula is under renewed attack by an Alberta finance minister hoping to recruit B.C. and Ontario allies to join a fight to ensure rich provinces can afford to match the service levels provided, as strange as this sounds, by their poorer cousins.

The guy leading the charge is a former Calgary academic named Ted Morton. He might not be a household name in the rest of Canada, but Alberta's new finance minister is increasingly popular at home and has some interesting history on strained federal-provincial relations.

Less than ten years ago, he co-authored a proposal warning against the evils of Ottawa stealing money from Alberta to feather the government's electoral nest in other provinces during recessions. He urged then premier Ralph Klein to build a protective ‘firewall' around areas of provincial jurisdiction.

His co-author for the letter? Why that would be you, Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who was then serving as the head of a Calgary advocacy group.

Morton shrugs off the irony of watching his former partner sitting on the far side of the firewall and doing nothing about a perceived fiscal injustice. Neither the Throne Speech nor the budget devoted a word to fixing a formula increasingly warped by its failure to ensure equality of public services between uneven provincial economies.

"We all know that the electoral mandates of federal politics are different than what they are at provincial politics, but I think he (Harper) knows all these arguments and I think there'll be an interest in them particularly on the issue of overall productivity and prosperity," Morton said in an interview this week.

The way Morton sees it, and studies have repeatedly proven, the have-nots have grown fat on a transferred dollar diet and lack any incentives to fend for themselves, instilling them with a culture of dependency instead of self-sufficiency.

Productivity and efficiency suffers in poor provinces because it creates super-sized bureaucracies to deliver cost-shared programs bloated by the fact that the more they spend, the more transfer money they receive.

"This means the taxpayers of paying provinces ultimately subsidize higher levels of government spending and services elsewhere than they themselves receive. Provinces that overspend and overtax and grow larger civil services are rewarded," fumes Morton.

"In Alberta, and I assume in Ontario, people might've said that was the cost of Confederation. With Alberta, Ontario and now B.C. running big deficits, those comparative figures cause a little more angst than they used to," he adds.

Alberta's grievance is heightened by noting it still gets a raw deal on health care under the Canada Health and Social Transfer program, coming in at $200 per person below the national average, which works out to about $700 million this year. Again the budget was silent on eliminating this unfairness.

The imbalance seems likely to worsen the longer the existing formula lingers. Quebec, which swallows 60 per cent of every equalization dollar, reaps an $8.4 billion fortune which has leapt 74 per cent in five years. Manitoba's transfer amount has soared 30 per cent while New Brunswick is up 25 per cent.

With transfer agreements expiring in four years, Morton has decided now is the time to crank up the volume on his pet peeve, but he's not getting much of a sympathetic hearing from his federal Conservative cousins.

"Ralph (Klein) signed a lousy deal so they've got to live with it," cautioned a senior Alberta MP. "He can come back to us in three years and we'll talk."

For the hands-out, have-not provinces, the easy money will continue to flow from west to east. But they're being put on notice the Robin Hood era of stealing from the rich to enhance the poor may be coming to an end.

National Post
[email protected]




What I know about transfer payments from BC to the rest of the Canadian Provinces could be stored in a thimble. Does anyone have any knowledge of what BC pays out in transfer payments or what kind of a deal we have signed with the Feds and what our financial picture was when we signed it?
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steven lloyd
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Re: Alberta fed up with the Robin Hood routine

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grammafreddy wrote:What I know about transfer payments from BC to the rest of the Canadian Provinces could be stored in a thimble.

I know very little too gramma, but I found this:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/interactives/map ... rpayments/
Al Czervic
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Re: Alberta fed up with the Robin Hood routine

Post by Al Czervic »

I posted on this in another thread a few weeks back...

viewtopic.php?f=27&t=23999
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grammafreddy
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Re: Alberta fed up with the Robin Hood routine

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steven lloyd wrote:
grammafreddy wrote:What I know about transfer payments from BC to the rest of the Canadian Provinces could be stored in a thimble.

I know very little too gramma, but I found this:

http://www.cbc.ca/news/interactives/map ... rpayments/


Thanks for that, SL. I used to be a supporter of the CBC (especially when I lived in communities where it was the only TV station I could get) but I find myself doing more critical thinking about it these days. My thoughts travel something along the lines of "if something is functioning based on government funding, how unbiased are they likely to be when reporting issues surrounding other government funded things?" Would the CBC not feel themselves threatened if government cutbacks meant the loss of funding in the realm of their funding so therefore support funding of social programs in order to protect themselves?

When I was younger, I supported all kinds of things I now find myself questioning. Social programs are certainly one that comes close to the top of the list. I also used to believe that governments and politicians worked for their people but we all know now how much of a fairy tale that one is - and was even way back when I was easily brainwashed by my willingness to feed at the public trough.

Sometimes I feel as if we have all been sold a bill of goods about "globalization" - how all people on earth should all have the same advantages and benefits. How we should all pay for the inadequacies of smaller, poorer, more corrupt, religiously trampled, non-democratized, etc, etc, etc peoples of the world - and that we ourselves, who are one of the richer nations, should somehow become a poorer nation in order to make things equal for all nations. Is this not counter-productive thinking? Is there some rationale that makes us go out to our jobs every day, fighting to keep our homes and families afloat while at the same time we cough out a large portion of our income to subsidize others who want the same as what we have? I question and begrudge every dollar whisked from my income these days when I know much of it goes nowhere to help anyone but just contributes to ever-increasing bureaucracy somewhere - here in BC, in Canada or in some "help the needy" foreign NFP organization.

When our school system is overloaded with teaching students to collect for all kinds of causes, promotes political ideologies that are intended to "globalize" our children, I do not see how we are helping the kids or the country to think in a sustainable way. I find I couldn't care less about the children of Africa needing shoes when I have no money left at the end of a pay period to put shoes on my own kids unless I get them from Sally Ann.

All our lives we have been taught that "selflessness is a virtue" but would it not be more productive and sustainable to consider "selfishness is a virtue" since selfish people who work for their own best interests produce far greater wealth and create sustainable jobs far more than selflessness does?

To transfer that concept of "selfishness" back to the topic at hand - transfer payments - would it not be more productive for have-not provinces to become more self-sufficient through their own efforts than to become a "have" province through payments from someone else? Does more wealth generate better citizens than less wealth? Are people who are more selfish become more self-sufficient than people who are enabled to feed from the public trough? Do transfer payments from rich to poor provinces just keep on enabling poor provinces to not generate ways to create their own wealth? Are transfer payments hurting more than they are helping?

........... just thinking out loud ......... :smt102
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Re: Alberta fed up with the Robin Hood routine

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:ohmygod: Only 2 provinces do not receive payment Alberta and Ontario, the rest are blood suckers with a high and mighty attitude.Maybe if these provinces would learn to live within their means then we all would be better of. This reminds me of people on welfare that do not want to better themselves but let big father look after them. Quebec is the biggest abuser, typical left wing thinking :coffeecanuck: want to share the fruits of your hard work, i am entitled to it,even if i do not want to work harder to improve my self.
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Re: Alberta fed up with the Robin Hood routine

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fred 2 wrote: ... , typical left wing thinking want to share the fruits of your hard work, i am entitled to it,even if i do not want to work harder to improve my self.

:coffeecanuck: Although funny, the real sad and scary truth about this is the number of people who actually believe this is what left-wing thinkers think. Imagine: “Yes. That is my paradigm and view of the world. We should all be lazy and let someone else support us” ( wait a second, if we’re all doing that who’s supporting us ? ). Of course, to be fair, there are a lot of people whose assumptions of how right-wingers think are equally as ignorant and naive. No wonder we remain so polarized. Ah well, if not productive in any way I suppose it at least makes for spicy discussion.


EDIT TO ADD: I wonder if any of these people who have such childish and rhetorical-based understanding of left ideologies have ever played for a sports team, invested in mutual funds, bought life insurance or ever had the opportunity to work with a group of say more than six or eight people toward a common goal ?
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Re: Alberta fed up with the Robin Hood routine

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I am not childish or ignorant as u suggest, but think about Quebec and how they think .your examples do not make a point, this is equalization payments and how govts think, not life insurance which is not what i am saying. The worst insurance is govt. insurance, it is more expensive then private. :dyinglaughing: :dyinglaughing: :dyinglaughing: :dyinglaughing: :dyinglaughing:
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grammafreddy
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Re: Alberta fed up with the Robin Hood routine

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fred 2 wrote::ohmygod: Only 2 provinces do not receive payment Alberta and Ontario, the rest are blood suckers with a high and mighty attitude.


So BC is a blood sucker with a high and mighty attitude?

Coulda sworn the article said BC was one of the ones getting dinged. You know anything differently? Source, please?
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Re: Alberta fed up with the Robin Hood routine

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fred 2 wrote::ohmygod: Only 2 provinces do not receive payment Alberta and Ontario, the rest are blood suckers with a high and mighty attitude.Maybe if these provinces would learn to live within their means then we all would be better of. This reminds me of people on welfare that do not want to better themselves but let big father look after them. Quebec is the biggest abuser, typical left wing thinking :coffeecanuck: want to share the fruits of your hard work, i am entitled to it,even if i do not want to work harder to improve my self.


Can't help but wonder where your source of information comes from fred? Can you provide some info to back up your claim because according to SLs link its showing payments were made to AB and Ont. too.

I wonder if funding is based on per capita?
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Re: Alberta fed up with the Robin Hood routine

Post by fred 2 »

Look at sl link,equalization payments, :dyinglaughing: :dyinglaughing: :dyinglaughing: :dyinglaughing:
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steven lloyd
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Re: Alberta fed up with the Robin Hood routine

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fred 2 wrote:Look at sl link,equalization payments, :dyinglaughing: :dyinglaughing: :dyinglaughing: :dyinglaughing:

I just provided the link for information little freddy. I don't quite understand what's so funny about that, but then, I'm an adult and didn't quite get your last little childish outburst - other than to recognize you completely failed to understand the analogy I presented placing the idea of collective and cooperative thought and effort in juxtaposition with your distorted and erroneous view of “typical left wing thinking”. I can only assume you’re still quite young and untaught and accept your limitations in this regard. Hopefully, you'll continue to learn more as you grow up.
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Re: Alberta fed up with the Robin Hood routine

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When I was younger, I supported all kinds of things I now find myself questioning. Social programs are certainly one that comes close to the top of the list. I also used to believe that governments and politicians worked for their people but we all know now how much of a fairy tale that one is - and was even way back when I was easily brainwashed by my willingness to feed at the public trough.

Grannyfreddy...such erudite words. and have we not all been victimized by our lack of concerns in our youth, or is it the evolution of the beauracracy and remoteness of the elected that we now recognize, that has changed our attitude. But you words do ring a bell, I have been there.

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