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Wednesday, March 9, 2016

March 9, 2016

 

For Immediate Release

 

Ball on Equalization: “It Is What It Is”

 

Paul Davis, Leader of the Official Opposition, said although the Ball Liberals voted today to support the Opposition’s resolution calling for federal relief to avoid deep cuts to our people, they are simply not willing to support obvious options to access a program that belongs to Canadians. Instead, Premier Ball is saying we’ve got to do this on our own.

 

“The drop in our oil revenues was sudden, severe and completely out of our control, and that’s when equalization is supposed to kick in to ensure we have sufficient revenues to deliver programs,” said Davis. “With a $2 billion hole in our budget because of tanking oil prices, and with thousands of frontline jobs and core services on the line, our Premier needs to be leading the national campaign for sufficient federal relief, just as Alberta’s and Saskatchewan’s Premiers are doing. Instead, he is saying ‘it is what it is’.”

 

“How can the Premier insist that this is not the time for fighting?” asked Davis. “How can he boast that he has the best relationship between a Premier and a Prime Minister in years when that cozy relationship is not removing the axe that is hanging over the heads of our people during the worst crisis in decades?”

 

Davis said the principle of equalization in the Constitution states simply: “Parliament and the Government of Canada are committed to the principle of making equalization payments to ensure that provincial governments have sufficient revenues to provide reasonably comparable levels of public services at reasonably comparable levels of taxation.”

 

Davis said, “This year, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick and Manitoba will get $1.7 billion in equalization because their revenues are not sufficient to meet their needs. In a year when our revenues are also insufficient, why should we settle for less than we require? Imagine if we could get $1.7 billion in relief this year? It would eliminate the crisis we face. Ontario is getting $2.3 billion, Quebec is getting $10 billion and PEI is getting $400 million this year because their revenues fall short.”

 

“We need to stand shoulder to shoulder with the other oil-producing provinces that are getting nothing from equalization – Alberta and Saskatchewan – to ensure that we get sufficient relief to avoid the cuts we face. A friendly relationship with Ottawa means absolutely nothing if it does not spare our people the drastic cuts the Ball government is threatening,” he said.

 

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Media Contact:

 

Heather MacLean,

 

Director of Communications,

 

Office of the Official Opposition

 

(709) 729 6105,

 

heathermaclean@gov.nl.ca

 

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