After 12 Months of Tax and Fee

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(709) 753-6043


Party Email Address

Friday, October 28, 2016

October 28, 2016


For Immediate Release




After 12 Months of Tax and Fee Increases, Are Ball Liberals Willing to Say 'Equalization'?




Keith Hutchings, Finance Critic for the Official Opposition, said, "After we have been asking the Ball government to challenge the federal government on our province's share of equalization over the past 12 months, the Finance Minister during the fiscal update ‎acknowledged the unfairness of an equalization program that will give Quebec $10 billion this fiscal year, which allows their budget to have a $2.2 billion surplus while our province tries to cope with a $1.6 billion deficit. My question continues to be: why won't her leader, Premier Ball, demand we get the assistance we deserve out of a national program?


"Instead of standing with Newfoundlanders and Labradorians to take on the federal government over this gross unfairness, which has left us without the revenue we need to reduce exorbitant taxes and allow reasonable level of services for our residents, the Premier and his Liberal government continue to lack the courage and conviction to have the conversation and ruffle any feathers with their federal cousins," said Hutchings.


"While the Finance Minister was saying she is upset by Quebec's opposition to an extended Muskrat Falls loan guarantee that Quebec calls unfair, the Premier was not there to ‎challenge Quebec's receipt of billions in returns on our Upper Churchill River power, which incidentally are not used in determining eligibility when calculating Quebec's equalization entitlements," he said.


"Fair treatment under the equalization program would let Newfoundland and Labrador balance its Budget sooner and reduce the size and cost of government in an orderly fashion without overtaxing our people or crushing our economy in the process," he said.


At her news conference on Thursday, the Finance Minister said: "I think earlier this week, the Finance Minister in Quebec announced a $2.2 billion surplus. And I think, if I remember correctly, they also received $10 billion worth of equalization. I’m sitting here telling the people of the province that we are going to target a $1.6 billion deficit and we receive zero equalization. I was disappointed to hear that information about Quebec. I think we can do things a little differently under Canadian values than trying not to support our neighbours."


But months earlier, the Premier said our equalization allotment of zero "is what it is" and we'll have to tackle our fiscal challenges "on our own", which Hutchings said is essentially "waving the white flag of surrender over a federal program that we as Newfoundlanders and Labradorians have as much right to as any other province.


"Someone has to stand up and advocate for Newfoundland and Labrador against this unfairness, but apparently this Premier thinks it's someone else's job to do. Quebec is having its cake and eating it too, by collecting billions in Upper Churchill revenues to help post a surplus while collecting an equalization cheque that this province is denied. It's a fundamental wrong of our federation, and the Premier doesn't seem to want to call it what it is and get it addressed.‎ Where are the seven Members of Parliament from this province? Do they care?


"Why are the Ball Liberals afraid to stand up and fight for Newfoundland and Labrador? Why did Premier Ball waste a perfect opportunity on Thursday to make the case, and instead sneak away for photo opportunities and hand-shaking events ‎while our people and economy are suffering?" said Hutchings.




Media Contact:


Heather MacLean, Director of Communications, Office of the Official Opposition,


(709) 729 6105,


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