Liberal Leader David Khan issues the following statement on the federal equalization formula/payments debate:
Khan stated, “We need less farce and more facts on equalization.
“Both the NDP and UCP are thumping their chests on the equalization issue, trying to score cheap political points against Ottawa. Alberta needs to offer substantive critiques, not hyperbolic rhetoric.
“The Federal Government is not going to negotiate on inflammatory talking points.
“Alberta Liberals want to focus on substantive facts. We should be discussing sensible solutions like uncoupling the size of the program and payments from GDP growth—increasing its flexibility—and fair treatment of other provinces’ hydro revenue in the formula. We also believe it’s necessary to eliminate the “quirky” extra “adjustment payments” mechanism and address the three-year moving-average “lag” in the formula’s calculation. Ultimately, consideration should be given to shrinking the scale of the equalization program.
“The Federal Government was wrong to renew the equalization program until 2024 without consultation with the provinces. Nor did it consider renegotiation and reform to make it more fair and up-to-date. But neither the NDP nor the UCP constructively incentivize negotiation. Two wrongs don’t make a right.
“Both Mr. Kenney and Alberta Finance Minister Joe Ceci lack credibility on this issue. Mr. Kenney was a Cabinet Minister in the Harper Government which created the current equalization formula. He defended it then. He opposes it now.
“Mr. Ceci was informed in advance the current equalization formula would be renewed with no consultation, negotiation or changes. He did not speak up then. He loudly criticizes it now.
“Both the NDP and the UCP are not providing leadership. Neither is the Federal Government.
“Albertans deserve better. We need serious, factual discussion to achieve meaningful changes to the equalization formula. Alberta Liberals will provide the leadership needed on this important issue.”