“Alberta has contributed more than $600 billion to the rest of Canada through transfers since 1967. In the last 10 years alone, Alberta has contributed more than $200 billion, more than $20 billion per year.
“And yet, in the last five years, Alberta has experienced a period of prolonged economic stagnation and decline, made worse by hostile policies from the federal government like the recently announced 467 per cent carbon tax hike, the ‘No More Pipelines Bill C-69 and the Alberta Tanker Ban Bill C-48. In fact, since the election of the federal liberal government in Ottawa, Canada has lost out on almost $200 billion of energy investment, the lion’s share of which would be in Alberta.
“To put that in perspective, Alberta used to generate about $10 billion in revenues from our energy industry. Over the past five years, that number has been closer to $5 billion. After the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequent economic recession and the historic collapse in energy prices, that number for this year is estimated to be just over $1 billion.
“This is why Alberta is so profoundly disappointed by the letter we received from Minister Chrystia Freeland, the federal finance minister, outlining the transfers that Alberta will receive this year. Alberta will see an increase of only $217 million from the federal government despite the unprecedented economic challenges that Alberta faces, including a reduction of almost 25 per cent of provincial revenues.
“Notably absent is Alberta’s request for fiscal fairness through a retroactive ‘equalization rebate’ through the fiscal stabilization program. At the recent Council of the Federation meeting, the premiers of Canada’s provinces unanimously supported Alberta’s request to fix this broken system, which sees Alberta support Canada through tough times, only to have Ottawa turn its back on Alberta when we need support.
“It is more clear than ever that our message, simply asking for a fair share of the money that our province has generated and sent to Ottawa, is being ignored. That’s why Alberta will be holding a referendum to scrap equalization from the Constitution in October 2021.
“Albertans demand a fair deal from Ottawa, and we will not give up that fight.”