Auditor General agrees with your’s truly

At least one other person agrees with me.

From the Telegraph-Journal today:

Federal transfers said leaving province vulnerable
Finances at mercy of cuts in payments by Ottawa, says auditor general

Federal transfer payments to the province were $2.33 billion, up from $1.9 billion in 2004, representing the second largest amount transferred to New Brunswick since 1996.

It’s not about the ‘rightness’ or ‘wrongness’ of the current Equalization and transfer system. It’s that we are getting deeper and deeper into this thing while more and more voices are calling for big changes.

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0 Responses to Auditor General agrees with your’s truly

  1. Anonymous says:

    Yes, but is the answer to agree with those voices and NOT get more money? Take every dime you can get from the feds, they’re the reason our health care is a mess in the first place! You have to remember that 1996 was when they cut off the wallet to the provinces, now they are just starting to restore it.

    An interesting question though is what is the state of equalization funding to OTHER provinces?

    The other thing that can’t be omitted is politics. Even if this effect is singular to New Brunswick (and I don’t think it is, practically every province is getting a ‘new deal’ from Ottawa, either equalization or more energy money -po-tay-to, po-tat-o), then there is the ‘political side of it’:

    Namely, Point Lepreau. We heard the arguement from the feds that they can’t fund Lepreau – or everybody else will want funding. However, this is a clever way to hand the province some cash without specifying it to Lepreau. Of course it COULD go to health and social costs, but there is no rule that says it HAS to.

    The other interesting point is that this may have a rather underhanded editorial slant. While the story may make it sound like it’s a BAD thing, from a voting point of view all that a person hears is that the feds are now giving New Brunswick more money, which is a FACT. Meanwhile, all Harper has is a promise, and politicians are not exactly held in high regard with promises. As they say, “oaths are but words and words but wind”

    After the massive health and social cuts of the nineties, and the provinces decade long screaming bloody murder about it, it’s odd to finally see some of it get restored-and people start complaining about getting more money! Remember, this is OUR tax money.

  2. Anonymous says:

    I had to laugh at Shawn Graham in the article, Frank McKenna was instrumental in bringing federal money to New Brunswick. NB Works was the first ‘social program’ in Canada to be COMPLETELY funded by the federal government.

    On the topic of federal transfers, the biggest criticism I have heard from Ontario is that ‘it isn’t working’. However, I came across this paper from the IMF which states that Real Per Capita output increased from 65% to 72% of the national average from 1980-2000. Meanwhile, Per capita income increased from 60-80% in 1980 to 80-90% in 2000.

    And thats from the IMF, of course they don’t like it, because as they say, it decreases ‘labour mobility’. In other words, they state that the population of New Brunswick should be roughly half what it is today, and rural towns should simply disappear.

    The paper is available here:

  3. Anonymous says:

    Sorry, that should read ‘first PROVINCIAL social program to be completely funded by the feds’

  4. David Campbell says:

    Again, let me reiterate, I am not against redistribution of wealth. Hinton gets more money from the Alberta government (per capita) than Calgary. It’s just that you don’t hear Calgary complaining about Hinton being a ‘drag on the economy’ and ‘jeopardizing Alberta’s productivity’. I agree, in part, with Brian Tobin (only on his comments in the G&M related to this specific issue). There are two views of Canada: 1) some think that we are a highly federal system and others think we are a loose federation of fairly independent provinces. This second notion is more and more in vogue and that is what makes NB more ‘vulnerable’ in the words of the Auditor General. If you can change Albertans’ minds such that they think that subsidizing Hinton or Lethbridge is on par with subsidizing Woodstock, then I wouldn’t be so worried.

    But good luck on that front.

  5. Anonymous says:

    I would agree IF provincial governments had any say in federal spending priorities-but they don’t. The griping is the same ‘tool’ its always been, a way to get MORE money to your own province. As Martin said, federal ‘investment’ to provinces takes many forms and comes in many vehicles-I think we are quite agreed that far too little that comes to NB is in the form that will grow the economy. Other provinces aren’t the problem-convincing the feds IS.

    Provinces can’t change what other provinces get, they can only wrangle a better deal for themselves, which is what is happening.

    Not to put too fine a point on it, but you’ll notice this is a FAR cry from the fiscal policy of liberals with a majority government, whose policies did more to devastate economies than Mulroney’s did (he at least had a worldwide recession as an excuse).

    To add a political slant-‘Long live minority governments!’ We know conservatives put more trust in markets, under Harper a great fear is that ‘new burgeoning markets’ will simply be replacing tax sponsored healthcare costs with private enterprises.