Kenney made the promise to do this over a month ago. It really didn’t gain the traction that I would have expected at that time. It was of course pooh poohed by the usual pundits as they loftily explained that this isn’t how equalization works yadda yadda yadda.
Our equalization system is indeed complex and it is indeed constitutionally entrenched. Equalization is often mischaracterized as being some sort of system where Alberta literally cuts a cheque directly to the federal government as well which is not the case. Equalization does however give the federal government a mechanism with which they can keep shorting Alberta on return transfer payments from revenues taken from the province and use those dollars to buy Quebec’s love. It is a system of interprovincial economic welfare and it has long stunted the natural development of our nation.
Despite Alberta languishing in a protracted economic downturn due to the federal government essentially allowing us to have our main industry embargoed by pipeline cancelations and despite Quebec doing rather well economically lately, the federal government still milks Alberta’s economy by billions per year and gives it to Quebec where their premier is still shitting on the prospect of Alberta getting a pipeline to the East.
It is a gross system of economic theft for political gain and it has to end at some point.
Listen below to Jason Kenney at the 15 minute mark on this. He is pretty clear on this and I am thrilled to see this kind of political clarity from a leader for a change.
Kenney understands that an Alberta yes vote to end equalization may still not lead to an end to equalization. Holding such a referendum sure would shine a bright light on the regional disparity and unfairness that our confederation has to offer Alberta right now though.
While a lot can change in a short time in politics, the good money right now is on Kenney becoming Alberta’s next Premier while Trudeau unfortunately is later re elected as Canada’s Prime Minister.
Even if Andrew Scheer miraculously finds the leadership ability to win a federal majority within the next 9 months, he has made it clear with his repugnant capitulation to the dairy cartels that his lips will remain firmly locked on the collective asses of Quebecers,
Whether Alberta is looking at Prime Minister Scheer or Trudeau, it is pretty clear that we are on our own.
As Kenney mentioned in the interview, there is some precedent that can be applied through the Supreme Court reference on Quebec secession and with the Clarity act.
Our constitution is not written in stone. Referendums can be a valid tool in working towards constitutional change and we dearly need it.
Alberta as a province has few tools enabling it to take on the federal government. Referendum however is a powerful one and we should apply this as soon as possible.
Lets put equalization on the table and start a true national discussion on its merits.
If a Alberta votes strongly to end equalization and that vote is completely rejected by the federal government, then perhaps it will be time to hold a second referendum on exactly what the Clarity Act has addressed.
Confederation is broken right now and nothing less than a national shakeup can possibly fix this.
Kenney’s promise of a referendum may be exactly what our province and nation needs. I am looking forward to the campaign already.