Thursday, 24 January 2013

Alberta Transferring 450$ a second to Quebec;Alliance Quebec II (Part 2)

Money and Business Show CJRS1650AM
Host Samuel Ezerzer

clips of the show

You brought up several interesting points there at the end and that is Federal transfer payments and Albertan oil… do we have numbers on exactly what we, Quebec, is getting and what percentage of that is coming from Alberta? 


In terms of what percentage of our Federal transfer payment are coming from Alberta, I’d wager to say at least half to most of it. Per capita, only Prince Edward Island tends to do “better than Quebec” as a result of transfer payments. Do we have the exact numbers? The answer is sadly no. Transfer payments come in so many forms and are used for so many different provincial programs and departments, it is impossible to put an exact number on it. 

However, as the richest province in the Federation, Alberta is the “disher-outer” of cash and I believe Albertans should be watching what’s going on here in Quebec and deciding if they want their hard-earned cash financing unconstitutional laws and legislation designed to make English just another “foreign language” in the province. Albertans need to be asked, do you believe your provincial OIL monies should be going to pay for Language Police in the city of Montreal, because whether it is directly going into language protection or it’s going into some other till, the results are the same. We have language police because we choose to prioritize this in our provincial budgetary spending. 

Todd Korol/Reuters

To scratch the surface of your question, some in Alberta claim that the province is sending Ottawa as much as $700/second, while a more modest estimation has it at closer to $450/second. Anyone can do the math, if we’re getting half of that, take 225 x 60 seconds x 60 minutes x 24 hours x 365 and you get a number that slightly passes 7 billion dollars. There’s another 7 billion in transfer payments going out to the other have-not provinces and when you consider that Alberta is funding most of these costs, this brings their total contribution to the Federal redistribution transfer program to a whopping $450-$500 per second!

But why split hairs?! The trouble too with transfer payments is that “have-not” provinces receiving their BONUS checks from Ottawa are far less motivated to finding new and creative business formulas for growth and expansion. Quebec politicians are happy if everything zeroes off, there is no striving for better. Madame Marois may talk about making the financial situation better for all Quebecers but then she goes ahead and introduces legislation that puts more of a language and cultural iron-hold on the economy. Some 8000 students from outside Quebec will now need to study in French-only Cegeps; how many of these will not come here as a result or leave, if they are here on an interim visa? Again, rather than looking for ways to get more students to come here, spend their parents’ money here as they get their McGill educations, we’ve just made it harder and there will be drop-off. We do the same in terms of international business – we tell them, you want to come here, this is what you have to do, rather than saying to them, please come here, this is what we will do for you. It’s that basic and fundamental a dichotomy.. 


Euro-zone lessons for Canada
National Post
Gregory Thomas and Derek Fildebrandt, National Post | Jun 1, 2012 7:00 AM ET | Last Updated: May 31, 2012

As Canadians, we should ask ourselves why we’re allowing the Ontario government to run a deficit potentially larger this year than the federal deficit, and larger than those of all other provinces put together. We should ask ourselves how 25 formerly warring European nations, speaking 23 different languages, can agree to force balanced budgets on one another, while we’re powerless to rein in the borrowing of Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia.
When you compare the actual debts owed by Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and the Maritime provinces to their ability to pay, as if they were independent nations, the rest of Canada would be hard pressed to want to pick up the tab. Despite sharing a common currency and sending transfer payments eastward, by the billions, year-after-year, donor provinces have no recourse against have-not provinces that choose to spend and to borrow to such an extent that they threaten the entire Canadian economy.
Canada’s federal debt alone sits at a somewhat manageable level: 34% of GDP at the end of 2011. But add in the obligations of provincial and city governments, and Canada’s gross general government debt balloons to 85% of economic output, according to the International Monetary Fund. That puts us in worse shape than the U.K., Germany, France and only three percentage points better than the eurozone, taken as a whole.
When you add Quebec’s $143-billion share of the federal debt to the $159-billion it owes as a province, its combined debts are a staggering 94% of GDP, in the same league as euro basket cases such as Ireland and Portugal. The Maritime provinces’ debt ratios, in the high 70s and mid-80s, are also approaching eurozone territory. Ontario, with $239-billion of federal debt and $214-billion of its own (forecast to grow to $260-billion by the April 2013), would also owe more than 70% of its GDP.