24 January 2005

Equalization links

While Equalization remains at the heart of the current dispute between Ottawa and St. John's over changes to the Atlantic Accord, there is still a lot of misinformation about the federal government program out there.

Following are a few links to sites/documents on Equalization and recent issues. Personally, anything even vaguely like accounting bores me to death and there is no surer way to confusion than to listen to some "expert" explain Equaliation. These links are a mix of plain language and technical discussions but they all give a set of differing perspectives.

Government of Canada, Department of Finance. This is the start of the page on federal transfers to the provinces. Tables of data, summaries, definitons and links to more information.

Maple Leaf Web. A good site with lots of information in plain English. Good links.

Atlantic Institute for Market Studies. This Halifax-based group has produced a number of detailed research papers on Equalization and the Atlantic Canadian economies. Considerably more technical than other papers, the site has links to .pdf versions of some of the AIMS papers.

Background paper on Equalization. This is a web page prepared by CBC. It is not specifically about offshore oil and gas revenue issues, but there are some links to related CBC News stories.

An Open Letter on Equalization. Courtesy of the federal government, this open letter is a news release issued in July 2001. it describes the Equalization program and gives some responses to provincial government positions taken at the time on reforming the program.

Response to John Crosbie. John has been on his crusade for some time to re-write completely the history of the Atlantic Accord. This is a short, plain-language rebuttal to his major contentions. One starts to wonder if John Crosbie was actually there for any of the discussions in 1984 or 1985. The date on this is October 2001!!

Canadian Fiscal Arrangements conference, May 16-17, 2002, Winnipeg. Institute for Intergovernmental Relations, Queen's University, Kingston, ON. There's an excellent paper here by Jim Feehan from Memorial University.

Recent Issues in Equalization Payments as They Pertain to Atlantic Canada by David Murrell, University of New Brunswick. " Over the past three years a number of issues have cropped up, concerning equalization payments as they pertain to Atlantic Canada. This paper discusses the policy issues using confidential documents from the Department of Finance Canada under the federal Access-to-Information Act. These issues include: Premier John Hamm’s Campaign for Fairness and the treatment of off-shore royalties, the imposition of the equalization ceiling in 2000-01, sources of revisions to equalization payments, forecasts of equalization transfers to 2005-06, and the implications of the recent downward revisions in population, in the 2001 Census, on future payments. " August 19, 2002