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Saturday, May 18 2024 @ 01:13 MDT

Klein spews forth!

Alberta PoliticsIt would appear that Ralph Klein is again doing his best to ensure that Stephen Harper won't get a majority government. This time it's Ralph spewing about eqalization payments and how Alberta wants to keep the other provinces away from Alberta's oil revenue.

First, with this, Ralph is as they say here out west, all hat. The discussions that have Ralph all upset are about how the pie is distributed, and not how big the pie is. Equalization payments come out of the Federal Government's general revenue, so basically our income taxes. Ralph can no more affect how much income tax the Federal government collects from Canadians than he can affect the weather. Nor can he stop the Federal government from giving that money to other provinces. In matter of fact, Ralph's blustering over nothing.

What is being proposed is including resource revenue in the formula that determines what provinces get what money from the federal government, not what provinces pay money. Contrary to popular Albertan belief, the provincial government doesn't sit down and write a cheque out to Ottawa once in a while to pay for equalization. The money comes from Albertans' income tax. It also comes from BCers' income tax, Saskatchewanians' incom tax, Manitobans' income tax, Ontarians' income tax, Quebecers' income tax, PE Islanders' income tax and so on and so forth. Ralph is trying to paint the picture that only Albertans are paying into the system. This is demonstrably false. So in reality all Ralph is doing is trying to whip up anti-Ottawa fever in Alberta.

Of course this causes problems for Stephen Harper. Equalization plays well in central and eastern Canada, resonating with voters in that part of the country. This means that if Stephen is to gain votes in Ontario and Quebec, he has to be open to adding resource revenue to the formula (remember, this costs Alberta nothing). Now with Ralph whipping the home town crowd into a frenzy, it will be harder for Harper to add the revenue to the formula. This in turn will make it harder for Harper to gain votes outside of Alberta. Since the Alberta press has been well trained by Ralph, this makes Harper's job even more difficult as the Alberta press now has to pick sides, and they'll pick Ralph's (Harper, though a Tory, can be seen as an evil Ottawa Tory). It should be interesting to see how this plays out.

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