Donald Savoie, Université de Moncton professor and one of Canada’s foremost thinkers on the issue of regional development, was quoted today in the Telegraph Journal as saying that equalization payments to New Brunswick are an ‘awful drug’ that “destroys the soul and eventually will destroy the region”. Savoie is absolutely right. When the Premier of New Brunswick states that all new equalization monies will go to fund health care and seniors programs he is making a terrible mistake. What the province desperately needs is more investment, more job creation and more wealth generation. I have said for a long time that a large percentage of equalization funding should be specifically earmarked for economic development initiatives. Otherwise, with a shrinking population base and declining industries, we will continue to need more and more of the taxes collected in the richer provinces just to provide basic government services.
I have a morbid chuckle everytime there is an announcement such as this: $100 million more welfare for New Brunswick while at the same time the Federal government announced $100 million in funding for the expansion of a Ford manufacturing plant in southern Ontario. More handouts for us and more handups for them.