Conservative MP Andrew Scheer says the Trudeau Liberals are short changing Saskatchewan and Alberta by refusing to change the equalization formula as the two resource driven provinces deal with low oil prices.
“Despite the calls by Premier Wall to address the problems in the equalization formula, the Liberals are doing nothing. Saskatchewan is being forced to pay into equalization as if oil was still at $100 a barrel, despite the fact that oil is clearly trading closer to $30. This is so obviously unfair,” Scheer said in the House of Commons.
“The Minister of Finance agreed to make some changes to other calculations for Yukon, Nunavut, and the Northwest Territories. Will he provide the same fairness to Alberta and Saskatchewan?” Scheer asked.
Finance Minister Bill Morneau has backed off of changes that would have seen the three territories get less money. The changes were based on Statistics Canada data but Morneau overruled those changes to give more money to the territorial governments, something he refuses to do for Saskatchewan and Alberta.
“We are talking about how we can help people who are facing real challenges across this country, middle class families across the country, people in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and Newfoundland and Labrador,” Morneau said.
In addition to requests for changes to equalization to help the two western provinces, the Liberals have been asked to provide changes for the Employment Insurance system to assist the unemployed in the changing labour and business market. So far they have refused to do so.
What the Liberals are doing though is considering a request for a billion dollar bailout for Montreal based Bombardier and changing legislation for Air Canada to encourage the company to buy planes from the Canadian aerospace company. Those moves have caught the eye and ire of Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall.
In a Facebook post Wall said if Ottawa will consider a bailout for Bombardier as the company sheds 2,800 jobs in Canada, they should consider doing something for the much greater job losses in the energy industry.
“If the federal government is considering a $1 billion bailout to address 2,830 Canadian job losses at Bombardier, what about the tens of thousands of job losses in Canada's energy sector? We could start with Energy East maybe...and an oil well clean up initiative.” Wall said.