New Brunswick is, apparently, poised to become a “have” province for the purpose of calculating federal equalization payments.
According to a Mar. 4 news release from Calgary Centre MP Joan Crockatt, “Atlantic Canada’s proven oil and gas reserves has the real possibility of transforming New Brunswick from a have not province to a powerhouse like Saskatchewan…”.
Ms. Crockatt was referring to testimony by Colleen Mitchell, President of Atlantica Centre for Energy before the Standing Committee on Natural Resources. The Calgary Centre MP said:
“What we heard today is vital for New Brunswick, and for all Canadians to understand. Saskatchewan has come a long way from the days when it was a ‘have not’ province and all the kids graduated and moved away. Now the youth are staying home and getting great jobs, due in very large part to policies that opened up their oil and gas industries. Today we heard that New Brunswick could be the same kind of success story.”
This must also be great news to Ontario's Kathleen Wynne, whose province became a “have not” in the 2009-2010 fiscal year, and has to share Ottawa’s annual hand-outs with a shrinking number of provinces—Newfoundland Labrador is now a “have” province.
My theory is, the fewer hands out, the larger share each hand will receive. But, of course, that’s a gross simplification. Though we do have to forgive Western Canadians for wondering how much longer small provinces like Alberta and Saskatchewan can be expected to provide handouts to high-population provinces like Ontario and Quebec.
In the 2013-2014 fiscal year, Quebec and Ontario will receive equalization payments of $7.833-billion and $3.169-billion respectively, while the small-population provinces of Alberta, Saskatchewan, Newfoundland and Labrador and British Columbia receive nothing.