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Alberta

Equalization payments aren’t just controversial in Alberta anymore! Ontario poll shows overwhelming negative view

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News release from Fairness Alberta

POLL: VAST MAJORITY OF ONTARIANS SAY EQUALIZATION PAYMENTS ARE UNFAIR

Fairness Alberta calls for $8 billion rebate for Ontario

Fairness Alberta has released a poll showing 73% of Ontarians believe ever-growing Equalization payments are unfair given the narrowing wealth gap between provinces since 2015.

The poll, from a weighted survey of 1,000 Canadians recently conducted by the Toronto firm One Persuasion Inc. (MoE +/-3.1%), showed a large majority of Ontarians said it is unfair that Equalization payments rose 23% since 2015, making Ontario’s share of funding the program equivalent to roughly $2400 per family of four (see bottom). Opposition to the status quo on Equalization was highest in the 905 region of suburban Toronto.

(To see the full results of the poll click here)

“Ontarians have been funding unfairly high Equalization payments for others while their own provincial government was struggling to pay for services even before COVID-19,” said Fairness Alberta Executive Director Dr. Bill Bewick.  “Given the collapse of the wealth gap between provinces, the so-called ‘have’ provinces should get the share of Equalization that came from their taxpayers rebated until we achieve meaningful reforms to federal-provincial funding.”

As Dr. Bewick outlined in the National Post, even a 50% rebate would mean a bump to provincial budgets of $4 billion in Ontario and $1.5 billion being returned to B.C. and Alberta as their provincial responsibilities come under strain.

“The $21 billion-and-growing price tag for Equalization is totally unnecessary and unaffordable given how much more equal provinces have become since 2015,” added Dr. Bewick. “This isn’t just an Alberta problem. Ontario, B.C., Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland make up nearly 70% of Canada’s population and it has become obvious that the program is unfair to all of them.”

A recent study by Ben Eisen and Milagros Palacios illustrates the “Great Convergence” in provincial fortunes since the 2015 energy downturn. While the gap between the median ‘have’ and ‘have not’ fell from $5000 per person in 2015 to only $1600 in 2020, Equalization payments grew 23%. With increases tied to national GDP rather than need, a $20.9 billion windfall is going to 5 provinces (with less than 1/3 of the population) in 2021.

About Fairness Alberta:

Fairness Alberta is a grassroots, non-partisan, and non-separatist association of concerned citizens, aiming to increase awareness across the country about Albertans’ disproportionate contributions to Canada, while also providing clear, factual information on unfair federal policies that will further undermine the prosperity of Alberta and other contributing provinces.

Fairness Alberta previously released analysis and recommendations for reforms to Equalization and the Fiscal Stabilization program, with an overview of fiscal federalism as well at www.fairnessalberta.ca.

Previous releases, interviews, columns, and two presentations to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Finance can be found in the NEWS section of our website. For more information on Fairness Alberta, its mandate, and future plans, please visit our website at www.fairnessalberta.ca.

For further information or to arrange interviews, please contact:

Bill Bewick, Ph.D.
Executive Director
Fairness Alberta
Cell: (780) 996-6019
Email: [email protected]fairnessalberta.ca


*per-province calculations based on provincial contributions to general revenue proportionally applied to the $20.9b spent on Equalization in 2021.  Source for per-province shares is this Library of Parliament document: https://lop.parl.ca/sites/PublicWebsite/default/en_CA/ResearchPublications/201701E

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Alberta

Oilers goaltender Stalock likely to miss season due to possible heart condition

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EDMONTON — Goaltender Alex Stalock will likely miss the season due to a possible heart condition said Edmonton Oilers GM Ken Holland on Wednesday.

Speaking on the opening day of Oilers training camp, Holland said the possible condition was detected when he returned home for more tests after the team’s physical exam at the end of the 2020-21 season.

Holland said Stalock contracted COVID-19 before the start of the 56-game shortened season, but was later cleared to play and spent time on the Oilers’ taxi squad after the team claimed him off waivers from the Minnesota Wild in March. 

He did not appear in a game with either Minnesota or Edmonton last season.

Holland said Stalock has seen “a couple” of cardiologists and is looking to get additional opinions.

Stalock, a 34-year-old from St. Paul, Minn., has a 61-49-18 record with a 2.61 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage in 151 career NHL games with San Jose and Minnesota.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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Alberta

Regulatory group warns several Alberta doctors about sharing COVID-19 misinformation

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EDMONTON — A group that oversees the practice of medicine in Alberta says it has told at least seven doctors who were spreading misinformation about COVID-19 that their behaviour was unprofessional.

Scott McLeod, registrar with the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Alberta, says the regulator has also spoken to doctors who gave into pressure from patients wanting an exemption letter– not grounded in clinical evidence — to avoid having to wear masks or vaccinations.

McLeod says the college is to publish a letter this week addressed to physicians and the public to reiterate its support for vaccines and public health restrictions put in place to try to curb the spread of COVID-19.

The college says the doctors who were warned had been spreading misinformation on social media platforms or elsewhere.

McLeod says it’s disappointing to see that type of behaviour and noted it has a significant effect because doctors have a powerful voice in society.

He adds the number of doctors painting a false narrative in the province is unprecedented.

McLeod says if doctors don’t stick to basic science that outlines how to protect people during a pandemic, the public and other physicians can file an official complaint with the college.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Sept. 22, 2021.

The Canadian Press

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