Dalton McGuinty’s been fighting for a more equitable share of federal resources for a long time now—did you know there’s a whole, official Ontario government website on this topic? I didn’t, until today, but it is informative. For example, while I already knew that Ontarians got considerably less per-person health care funding than other Canadians, I didn’t realize that Ontarians have to work longer to qualify for EI, and are eligible for fewer weeks of payout.
So twisted is the equalization formula, in fact, that even even if Ontario were to become a poor, “have-not” province, its residents would continue to be net contributors to the system. In other words, if Ontario’s economy were to tank to the extent that it qualified for equalization payments, that additional money would actually come in part from — Ontario.
So no wonder some argue that the system makes Ontario the “patsy” of confederation.
Now, much as I’d like to, I can’t really blame all of this on the Conservatives. They didn’t write all these rules, it is a long-standing problem, and I’ll accept that these things are complicated and expensive and can’t necessarily all be fixed in two years.
I’m just not so sure, given their track record, that they’d start fixing them in the next four years, either.
You will recall Flaherty helpfully saying that Ontario is the “last place” that businesses would want to invest, as though he were any kind of example to follow in tax policy.
And you might not recall this, but they’re also trying to pass Bill C-22, which tries give Ontario less representation in Ottawa. The proposal gives BC and Alberta 1 new federal seat for every 100,000 increase in population, while Ontario gets half that — one new seat per 200,000 increase. Hmm. Couldn’t be because the westerners are more inclined to vote Conservative, is it? No, it just means that McGuinty is a “small man of Confederation”, according to Conservative House Leader Peter Van Loan.