25 May 2006

Ralph's idiotic last stand

Outgoing Alberta Premier has decided to make one last political stand, demonstrating he knows nothing about the Constitution in the process.

According to Canadian Press, Klein is threatening to pull Alberta out of Equalization if the feds include Alberta's resource revenues in the calculation for the federal-provincial transfer. Equalization.

Alberta is threatening to drop out of the federal government's revenue-sharing deal with other provinces if energy income is included in the equalization formula.

But you see, here's the problem. Alberta, i.e. the province Ralph runs, doesn't really have any say in the matter since the provincial government doesn't really participate in Equalization in the first place. The provincial government doesn't pay any special taxes to Ottawa to fund Equalization. The Government of Alberta
doesn't participate in this program in any way so that it could opt out.

What is under discussion here is the formula being used by the feds to figure out how much money recipient provinces should get. The money for Equalization comes from the federal government's general revenues.

The CP story makes a major-league factual error by calling Equalization "the federal government's revenue-sharing deal with other provinces", but that's another issue.

Basically in one fell swoop, Ralph is showing that he understands exactly squat about federal-provincial relations.

The whole thing sounds suspiciously like Danny Williams offshore nonsense in which he claimed provincial government revenues it collected directly were being taken away by evil Ottawa. In the final agreement Williams signed with then-prime minister Paul Martin, he admitted that the entire premise for his grandstanding the previous year was, in a word, nonsense.

In Williams' case, he got a couple of billion of federal dollars for his pouting.

What does Ralph get out of this little tirade, except further evidence of how much he doesn't know about the country?