Alberta’s woes and redefining ‘fair share’

We are told this morning that “Alberta’s fiscal woes will be laid bare in new legislative session”.  I guess that is all a matter of perspective.  Alberta’s Heritage Fund has $16 billion in the bank while every other province is carrying debt – some quite significant.

The TJ has an article this morning about Premier Graham and has patience with the federal government when it comes to supporting the self-sufficiency agenda.  Here’s a quote from the article:

This is a big part of what’s behind Graham’s recent statements. The premier has repeatedly said that if New Brunswick doesn’t get its fair share from Ottawa, he intends to “make that point forcefully.”

If there was ever a phrase that met the definition of “red meat” in Ottawa parlance it is this “fair share” concept.  Everyone from Ontario to Quebec to New Brunswick to the cities to the auto industry to every single lobby group and vested interest in Canada wants its ‘fair share’.

While I agree with the thinking, I think the term has to go.  Instead of ‘fair share’, we need to reorient the language around a partnership for growth – which will reduce our need for the perceived fair share.  I remember after Premier Lord was quoted widely in the national press demanding his “constitutional right” to more Equalization and laying out the veiled threats – he was excoriated in the national and western press (and I might add did serious damage to his national ambition IMO).

The fair share concept is toxic in Canada these days.  I say let Charest, McGuinty and Williams fight the fair share battles and Graham should work for a growth oriented partnership that will lead to better outcomes.

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2 Responses to Alberta’s woes and redefining ‘fair share’

  1. richard says:

    “…he intends to “make that point forcefully.”

    Who is he going to be ‘forceful’ with? NB has few cards to play, especially if the PM sees more votes in reducing NBs share than in getting what Graham thinks is fair.

    A large slice of the money GNB spends each year comes from Ottawa. Instead of fiddling with the tax system and promoting short-term construction projects, Graham needs to come up a transparent plan for long-term growth.

  2. Anonymous says:

    Graham would make a very small impression on anybody.

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